Honors Students away from campus for study abroad, co-ops, or internships are encouraged to write about their experiences to share them with the Honors community. In the post below, sophomore biomedical sciences student Joshua Korb ’21 from Burleson, TX, shares his expectations as he prepared for a semester-long study abroad in Germany this spring.
– by Joshua Korb
In one week, I am going to board a plane to Germany, and I will not return for four months. Four months of not seeing my home, my family, my friends, my girlfriend, my pets, or anything that is familiar or a regular part of my life. I am a little nervous, to say the least. The prospect of being away for so long is finally becoming real, and as the emotions set in, it is a mixture of apprehension and excitement. While four months is a long time to be gone, the prospect of traveling to Europe and spending that much time exploring new places, meeting new people, and growing through these new experiences is exciting. I do not expect to return unchanged by this experience; in fact, I would be disappointed if I did. This is going to be such a radically different experience from anything I have done before, so I hope and expect it to be a period of great personal growth and discovery.
With all of these unknowns, I must confess that I do not have many expectations beyond my belief that this experience will be a flood of new experiences and growth. I look forward to experiencing everything Germany has to offer as well as traveling to other European countries. Academically, I look forward to this semester’s classes as well as the research opportunity provided by Enmodes. Because my research experience is limited, and I am not one of the engineering students, I admit that I am nervous about my utility to the project; however, I am very excited about the opportunity and plan on being as involved in the project and design process as possible. This semester may be the lightest course load I have taken (twelve hours as opposed to sixteen), but I hope this gives me the opportunity to put more time and energy into each class individually as well as the many opportunities that come with the study abroad experience. I expect to learn as much, if not more, outside of the classroom as I do in it while abroad.
As I prepare to leave, I have been reflecting on why I chose to participate in this program. To be entirely honest, it was a very impulsive decision to apply for the program, and once I was accepted, I quickly had to evaluate if this was something I wanted to do. Studying abroad in Germany, living in Europe for four months – the program sounds like one of my childhood dreams. But the reality of being gone for a whole semester made me stop and question it for just a moment. As I evaluated going versus staying, I realized that this may very well be the only opportunity I ever get to do something like this. After undergrad, I plan to attend medical school. After medical school, I will have a residency and then begin working. As I thought about it, I realized that I would probably never be able to do something like this once I left Texas A&M, and it was absolutely an opportunity that I wanted to experience during my life. I realized that anything I missed while gone would be here when I got back, but this experience would not still be waiting for me if I did not do it. And so, I decided to go to Germany, leave College Station and Texas behind for a semester, and experience everything this study abroad offered.
Yes, I am nervous about this. But I have no regrets, and I cannot wait to board that plane in seven days and begin this once in a lifetime opportunity.
To keep up with Joshua on this adventure and see his latest blog entries, visit https://jckorb98.wixsite.com/website.