Study Abroad: A Must For TU Students

11141176_376747125868672_5977134164079015840_nToday’s blog is from Matthew Baldwin, a junior Chemical Engineering & German major from Tulsa, Okla.

Studying  abroad has been my best TU experience! That is not to say that being here on campus and meeting all the great people at TU is not worth it, as well. I love this university and all of the great people I have met in my time here; however, going abroad was one of the best, if not the best, experience in my entire life.  TU is a great school for anyone wanting to study abroad, and I was fortunate enough to go my entire sophomore year, I left Tulsa on September 1, 2014, and did not return until August 8, 2015. I have to say much of the time absolutely flew by.

Cathedral in Freiburg, Germany

I studied at the Universities in Freiburg and Siegen, and both cities now feel like a home away from home for me.  While my studies were by no means easy as I was working on both of my majors while abroad, there was still plenty of time to get out, explore, and meet people, which is a must, not just for students of language, but for all of those going abroad.  Nothing helps you grow more as  a person than the exposure to so many different cultures and ideas.

I am often asked why it is that I am a double major, not just here in the states, but in Germany, as well.  The answer to that comes from my love of the German language.  That was not always true, though. I, like many people, started learning a foreign language in high school and never saw myself continuing to learn it to fluency. That was up until I got to TU and took my first German courses with Dr. Udwin and Dr. Tingey. I found myself excited to continue to learn German. So naturally, the next step was to go abroad.

Alps in Switzerland

My engineering degree was a factor in this decision, as time abroad would mean I couldn’t work an internship one summer, as well as potentially losing time for graduation. However, what I realized was that going abroad gave me something unique to put on a resume as well as another avenue of work to pursue. Suddenly I could become fluent in a second language and use that here in the U.S or go and work abroad in Germany. This idea of how my language major and engineering major could work together was too good to pass up, and what better way to get fluent than to go to the native country for a year.

Dreisam River in Freiburg, Germany

I was able to see and learn so much about a language and culture I had only ever experienced in a classroom, not to mention that the rate that I improved went through the roof once I arrived in Germany.  That alone was enough to make it worthwhile, but what I really was able to experience was what I experienced here at Tulsa…meeting all new people from around the world who shared experiences and made memories with me. Some of my favorite times come from late in my stay abroad when I would meet someone new, and they would have to ask where I was from because my German and accent were good enough to not be recognized as an American immediately.

For language majors, going abroad is an absolute must; however, I would also say it is a must for every student that attends TU.  I have found that going abroad has only enhanced the great education that I have had at Tulsa.  The Center for Global Education will work with anyone to help you study abroad, and no one should ever think that they can’t. TU makes it so easy to go that you would be silly not to try.