Stanford in Berlin, Autumn 2015-16 Major: Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Art History College year while abroad: Junior
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH PETER
Why did you choose to study abroad in Berlin?
I was interested in learning German because my grandfather was a German speaker from Switzerland and I wanted to learn the language. I was also interested in living and working abroad for a longer time period, an opportunity which was provided by the Krupp Internship Program.
What were your expectations before you went and how did those change once you arrived in Berlin?
I expected to be exposed only to German culture in Berlin, but when I got there I was amazed at how multicultural the city is and how big the Turkish and Iranian communities were. In Munich I had the opportunity to live with students from Austria, Slovakia, China and Germany which was a further multicultural experience.
What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in Berlin?
It gave me an opportunity to take a class for my minor (Art History) which tied to the location I was in which was very interesting. I was also able to take an Electrical Engineering class though SCPD which allowed me to stay on track for my major while studying abroad. The final academic benefit was the ability to be immersed in a new language and learn a lot of useful language really quickly.
What did you learn about yourself while you were studying abroad?
I learned that I enjoy being out of the Stanford bubble, and having the opportunity to meet people who are very different from me.
What was the most challenging experience you encountered while you were abroad and what did you learn from it?
The most challenging experience for me was arriving in Munich to begin my internship. I knew no one within 500 miles of me, and was still looking for housing. Through finding housing and meeting people I learned how to adapt to a sudden change in my life that initially seemed hopeless.
What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?
I had to learn how to adapt to the German criticism. It took me a while to understand that criticism in Germany is much more direct, and to not get offended when people bluntly tell me what I am doing wrong
What was your favorite part of your everyday life in Berlin?
In Berlin my favorite part was being able to find good new food from a different culture everyday, though I often returned to Turkish food. In Munich during my internship my favorite part was biking around the city to commute as well as for recreation.
What was the most memorable experience you had while you were in Berlin?
When I was in Stockholm, I spontaneously decided to try to go see the northern lights in a town in the middle of nowhere Sweden. I was not able to see the lights, but I had a great adventure at 4 am, and saw a shooting star as a consolation prize.
What 5 words would you use to describe your experience?
Hectic, rewarding, crazy, challenging, singular
What was your favorite food you had in Berlin?
Käsespätzle, german mac'n'cheese, but way better.
What was the most valuable item you took with you on the program?
What was your favorite music/band that you discovered in Berlin?
Cro, a German rapper.
Every Stanford undergraduate should give serious consideration to studying overseas.
Regardless of the academic path you choose, you will be enriched by time spent in another country. Achieving cultural literacy and gaining substantive understanding of other perspectives in the world will deepen your awareness of yourself, your educational goals, and your own society. Nearly one-half of each graduating class studies abroad through one of Stanford's overseas programs.