When I was growing up, we weren’t rich by any means—but my hard-working parents always made sure we had enough money to travel the world. By the time I turned 20 years old, I had already visited over 21 different countries.
Although I’ve been to more countries than I can count on my fingers, I have distinct memories from each of these beautiful places that will stick with me forever.
I remember the bright white houses with big blue doors in Greece.
I remember the amazing chocolate croissants in Switzerland.
I remember the strong smell of dirt in the poor villages of South Africa.
I remember the buzzing mosquitoes and the insane humidity of summer time in Italy.
I remember falling in love with Germany.
|Visiting the supermarket in Heidelberg, Germany.|
I’m not sure what sparked my obsession with Germany. Perhaps it was the delicious aroma of the apple strudels in the bakeries, the old grandfather clocks downtown that rang every hour, or the beautiful stone castles that overlooked the mountains. I was only 12 years old when I first visited, but I knew I was in love with this country. I knew I needed to go back there someday.
I spent all 4 years of high school learning the German language, and I excelled at it tremendously. Out of hundreds of students, I was named “German Student of the Year” at our awards night my senior year. I was gifted with this language. However, as it became time to apply for colleges, none of my top university choices offered German classes. I ended up getting an academic study abroad scholarship to Concordia University Nebraska, and I had to retire my German skills.
At the beginning of my sophomore year of college at Concordia, I decided “it’s been eight years, it’s time for me to go back to Germany.” I came across an amazing opportunity to study abroad in Berlin for one month at a business school—this was my dream! Although the application process was difficult and time-consuming, I knew I had to do everything I could to make this happen. I was already spending all of my free time looking at new clothes to buy, saving my spare change, and having my mom look for plane tickets.
After turning in all of the required paperwork, I checked my email about 70 times a day. I was very impatient, and it seemed to take forever while I waited to see if my biggest dream would get to be fulfilled. Finally, as I was walking to class on a snowy Tuesday morning, I received what would be the most important email of my life. I opened it and read “Congratulations!...”
McKenzie McClanahan is the Summer 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Berlin, Germany. She is currently a junior at Concordia University, Nebraska.
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