Languages student dives head-first into German life

A chance to immerse herself in the rich culture of Heidelberg, Germany, is proving to be a dream come true for third-year English and modern languages student Hannah Robinson.

Robinson, who decided to study German only a year ago, is taking part in an intensive language study program sponsored by the German Academic Exchange, the largest German support organization in the field of international academic cooperation. She will spend nearly a year overseas as a scholarship student and hopes to come back to Canada fluent in the language.

“I’m a fairly intense personality and tend to go into something all or nothing,” Robinson says. “So when I had decided last summer to learn German, I wanted it to be more than just an interesting hobby that after a while fell by the wayside. Only two months in, and I cannot imagine attempting to integrate myself with this language like I have without being forced to work, play and dream in it.”

She credits her academic mentors—professors Anita Toronyi and Victor Sevillano Canicio from the department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures—for encouraging her adventure with their positive feedback.

Robinson says she went from sharing a bedroom in her parents’ home to living alone in a small apartment in the historic heart of a quintessential German town on what was her very first trip to Europe.

Hannah Robinson“I’m enjoying the more active lifestyle here,” she says. “People tend to bike or walk rather than drive and the public transportation is amazing. And, as a whole, everything is just so beautiful. There are some mornings it’s hard to make it to class on time because I’m so mesmerized by the city at sunrise or the fog rolling down from the hills—oh, and the food is fantastic.”

With the recent start of the UWindsor semester, Robinson says she is feeling a bit nostalgic for Canada but isn’t close to ready to leave Germany.

“Of course I’ve started to miss my family, but more than wanting to come home, I just want everyone to be here so they could be seeing and experiencing these things with me,” she says. “So, while I’m missing the nest, there’s no way I’m ready to fly back quite yet.”

Learn more about opportunities for international experience on the UWindsor student exchange website.