Monday, April 17, 2023

Entering the tail end of his Academic Year in Freiburg study abroad program in Germany, UI student William Jones reflects on his experience below. His first experience outside of the U.S. has been full of learning, cultural exchange, and gratitude for the Richard J. Tyner Scholarship that helped make his study abroad experience possible. 

William Jones on Schlossberg in Freiburg, Germany, that overlooks the city

Hello, my name is William Jones, and I am a fall 2022 awardee for the Richard J. Tyner Scholarship to help with my participation in the Academic Year in Freiburg program in Germany. As I write this, I am just about to begin my second semester in Freiburg and my final semester as an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa. Before coming to Freiburg, the most international experience I had had was in the format of books and media. As a native Iowan, it is not the most uncommon thing to have never traveled outside of the United States. Therefore, getting off the plane in Germany was, in a way, a new step towards new opportunities that I had never dreamed of before. Suddenly, my world was no longer just the distance between Lincoln and Davenport, but instead spanned across oceans. 

Besides getting more chances to practice my German language skills, this experience has forced me to problem solve in everyday situations, and to do things for myself that I would not have done otherwise. My worldview has also been altered as many issues and ideas to me feel more global than they had before. Finally, I have learned to appreciate things at home I hadn’t appreciated as much before now. Much of my appreciation comes in the form of things like food. As part of my Midwesterner ambassadorship, I have sought to indoctrinate my German roommates with foods like my homemade, authentic scotcheroos, along with Cheez-its or some peanut butter patties my family brought me from home. 

The independence and the lessons my experience has taught me is hard to put into words. As a student of international relations, it has helped build on skills and ideas that I will use throughout the rest of my life. Finally, it has helped me become the best and most independent version of myself that will only serve to better my future relationships and career. 

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International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.