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Germany Student Spotlight

Sophie Ritchie

Major: Business Administration, with a Dance Minor
Program: Reutlingen, Germany: Accounting & Finance
Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Why did you choose to study abroad?

At the beginning of my sophomore year at NC State, I had decided that the study abroad program just was not for me. I figured there were so many other ways to spend my time and money while gaining experience regarding my major, education, and responsibilities as a part of the Pack. With my mind-set on the decision I had made, I walked into my first advising appointment of the year. “Is studying abroad at all an interest for you, Sophie?” my advisor asked and I responded quickly and thoughtlessly “Yes.” I don’t regret it. Turns out, my heart knew what was best for me before my mind could even comprehend the idea of studying in a foreign place.

What advice do you have for future study abroad students? 
For students wondering if study abroad is the path they want to take, I encourage them to take the leap of faith. The hardest part is saying yes, but I promise the decision will create no regrets. In the end, my study abroad trip has shaped the person I have become and want to become in the future. Most importantly, I want to show no fear in saying yes to the many opportunities that I may encounter, as each one may present opportunity, family and growth within myself.

What did you learn about yourself from studying abroad? 
After weeks in Reutlingen, I realized the differences in the German culture and my own. These aspects changed my perspective on how others live and also, brought about many questions to ponder. How do people live without free water? What the heck is in a doner box? Most of all, why does everyone stare when I walk by? The last question was soon self-explanatory… Because I’m American. We dress differently, speak differently and act differently. In the end, my study abroad group found ways to bond over these differences and embrace our culture causing us to grow together.