Honors Gap Year
“I am spending my gap year studying abroad in Germany through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, a scholarship program that is jointly funded by the US State Department and the German Bundestag. I spent the first four weeks of my exchange at an intensive language camp in Osterode am Harz with the other exchange students on my program, and now I am living in a village called Allrode with a host family and going to a Gymnasium (German version of high school) in a city called Blankenburg (Harz). It might seem strange to want to go back to eleventh grade after graduating high school, but taking classes in a foreign language and navigating cultural differences are challenges that I wouldn’t have been able to take on at home. Besides, I had been teaching myself German for four years at home, so getting to finally use a language that I love so much every day makes all the difficulties worth it. Every day is filled with lots of language victories (and also language failures, but we won’t talk about those), and I like to think my biggest language victories are the close relationships I’ve made with my host family and my friends.
Although I am obligated to go to school, my host family still finds plenty of time to travel with me. Living in the Harz Mountains is absolutely incredible — breathtaking hiking trails are just a short walk or bus ride away. From climbing the Brocken, the tallest mountain in Northern Germany, biking along the Saale River, or jogging to the nearest dam in the morning, my favorite thing to do here is to get outside and explore nature.
When I get back home, I will be entering UA in the fall as a math major. I plan on studying math because it’s a subject I’ve loved all my life, and I think that the process of problem solving is an art in itself. The logical reasoning skills that one learns through math are skills that one can apply to every area of life. I also plan on continuing my Mandarin Chinese studies and also pursuing a Liberal Arts minor through the Blount LLC.”
“This is me on the stretch of the Harzer-Hexen-Stieg between Treseburg and Thale. This part of the trail runs through the Bodetal (valley of the Bode River) region.”