37°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Germany, Here I Come!

Herkules+Monument+in+Kassel%2C+Germany.

Herkules Monument in Kassel, Germany.

It has been a little over three months that I have been home from Germany. It feels as if it had been in a different lifetime. I miss it already, it was a whirlwind trip. A trip I had felt trepidation over from the moment of its conception in my dreams. I remember sitting in an historical German class when Brittany Dhooge, Study Abroad Coordinator, spoke to us about studying abroad, particularly Hessen. I had already received the email through the German Club, a time when a flicker of a flame passed through me which I promptly dismissed. There was no way I could do this, not at my age, not with a full time job, and a daughter just finishing high school. The spark tickled at me, many times I didn’t realize it was there. Then Brittany came to class with her Hessen fliers and PowerPoint presentation. She was talking about scholarships! For the first time I thought, “Maybe I can pull this off!” It was only for a month during our slowest time at work, as I am a floral designer.  “How can I not do this?”  “I’m too old!” “Who cares how old I am?”  All these thoughts were running through my head, a mile a minute as Brittany explained the program, how to apply for it, and funding.

I left class a little bewildered, fearful, and most of all hopeful. It wasn’t a very expensive trip. This was a once in a lifetime kind of experience for me. I could not ignore this opportunity for a life changing month. I mulled over it for the next few days, re-reading the email from the German Club, checking out the application online. “It’s not too late to apply for funding.” I could hear Brittany’s voice in the back of my brain as I rode the train home. “What could it hurt?” I thought. “Just fill out the application.” I started the application process that night. As I took my time answering the standard questions and writing the essay, my heart beat a little harder.

Am I really doing this?” I kept thinking about the fact I would be a good 15 to 20 years older than most of my peers in Germany.  My fingers felt heavy as I typed. I had to ignore that nagging voice of fear that kept trying to pound out my excitement. Age is only a number. I drew inspiration from those around me who did not allow obstacles and odds stop them from following their dreams. I decided in that moment to drown out the negative voices, fanning the spark to a roaring fire. Then I received my acceptance letter. I would be heading for Kassel, Germany in June 2018 where new adventures awaited with open arms!

The next few months of planning and classes flew by. I received a scholarship as well as financial aid. I made sure I had the right plug for the walls in Germany, and began planning my travels. I would arrive in Frankfurt the night before rendezvousing with the coordinators from the University of Kassel. I wanted to rest and explore a little. I booked a small hotel in Frankfurt and then a hotel in Paris for two nights after the program ended. I also made a point to book a hotel with a shuttle for the night before my flight left in Frankfurt. I anxiously awaited information on my host family. I was probably most nervous about this aspect. Not that I would be staying with a host family, but that they would be hosting a student much older than they expected. It turned out to be a fruitless worry.

The day of departure came. My heart pounded. I patted the small bag I wore close to my body to make sure I had my passport and important paperwork. My mom, daughter, and stepfather dropped me off. In those doors I went and the beginning of a new chapter of my life. A chapter of growth, learning, new friends, pushing myself beyond my perceived limits an so much more! I glanced back at my family once more than looked forward to wait lay ahead.

Germany, Here I Come!