Life in Germany: Travel edition


Photo by Shelbi R. Ankiewicz

The coastline of Turkey

Welcome back to those of you who followed along on my adventures last semester. For those who just recently started reading The Chanticleer: Hello.

I’m Shelbi Ankiewicz, a senior at CCU who has been studying abroad in Germany since March of 2022. In this biweekly column, I’ll share my experiences about studying abroad, the culture and history of Germany, my travels to other European countries, encounters with other international students and more.

Europe has given me the opportunity of a lifetime because of the ability to travel freely between any European country.

Since being in Germany, I have traveled to 15 countries and seen a crazy number of cities. Although the focus of a study abroad program is education and discovering yourself, I solely believe the best way to learn and develop skills is through travel.

For me, the month of August was dedicated to traveling. My partner and I took a car and drove from Germany to Istanbul, Turkey. During our trip we were able to visit Prague, Czech Republic, Vienna, Austria, Budapest, Hungary, and our destination of Istanbul. This trip gave me the adventure of a lifetime, and I learned many things. People who live in Prague don’t carry jump starter cables in their cars, nor are they very willing to help someone on the side of the road. I’ve learned that once you leave one European country, your phone data might not always work in the next country you enter. So you must have something reliable like a map.

I’ve come to know that a predominantly Muslim country operates differently than Germany, and my life in Germany is different from my life at home. It differs from the people to the food, to waking up to church bells and the orange-roofed architecture. Istanbul was an experience of a lifetime for me. I would have never thought I would travel to Istanbul with a person who speaks fluent Turkish, and stay with people who would use Google Translate to communicate with me.

I saw major sites such as the Hagia Sophia mosque, Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, and Grand Bazaar. I also ate traditional Turkish food that was a type of spicy I have never encountered, and saw the beautiful Black Sea while walking alongside the coast.

This is just one of the many adventures I have enjoyed during my time abroad. Being in Europe has changed my perspective in nearly every aspect of life. I view relationships diff erently, I have a new vision for a future career path, and I cherish the smaller moments more than anything.

Honestly, I’m worried about coming home and “settling down.”

Inside of the Hagia Sophia right before one of the daily prayer times. (Photo by Shelbi R. Ankiewicz)

This has been my journey in just eight months, and I still have four more to go. Stay tuned for the next update.