Studying abroad in Berlin, Germany, was undoubtedly the best decision I have ever made because it allowed me to explore one of the healthiest nations in the world and experience a healthcare system that is superior to that of the United States (WHO).
Berlin can be considered the European melting pot of innovators and inspired people, a city that is more LGBTQ-friendly than any other place in Germany. The city has the largest number of LGBTQ people mostly due to the vast resources as well as infrastructure that brings people together, with numerous queer clubs, bars, cafes, and many others.
It’s the kind of atmosphere that brought a lot of our colleagues from North Dakota State University and Appalachian State University, under Dr. Christi McGeorge and Dr. Kristen Benson’s leadership Global Seminar studies. We were extremely excited to visit the Schwules Museum among other places to learn and experience more about the country’s queer movements and its rich history.
The museum is one of the largest in the world, focusing on a wide range of human identities as well as other gender concepts. It has numerous exhibitions, research, and archives focusing on the immense LGBTQ diversity, its culture, history, and art.
Another very important event that we had the pleasure of attending was one of the German Pride Parade Celebrations-Christopher Street Day(CSD). The city of Berlin can be pointed out to have developed into such a “gay-friendly” community due to its welcoming nature despite the intense opposition that the LGBTQ community faced in the past. Other scientists such as Magnus Hirshfeld made important contributions through their scientific expertise, to help people clearly understand the issues of gender and sexuality.
Having such a friendly community as well as having crucial institutions such as the Institute for Sexual Science(ISS), and the Schwules Museum among many others, greatly helped to promote people’s acceptance of who they are and also by the community.
Having such kind of movements–CSD and others–as well as other educational institutions dedicated to offering more information about people’s sexuality and gender identities, is something that other countries like the U.S. should emulate, to enable people to get a better understanding of what the LGBTQ community is all about and for people to avoid all the negative treatment concerning such issues.
I learned a lot about myself and acquired a viewpoint through my study abroad experience in Berlin that I otherwise would not have had or would not have had until much later. All because I applied for the Study Abroad program that North Dakota State University Study Abroad is so kind to offer us, I formed memories that I will cherish forever.
The opportunity to view LGBTQ+ neighborhoods, arts, and scenery museums, engage with locals, and eat delicious, healthy foods. The tour guides and lecturers taught us a lot about history, political systems’ impacts on social justice, and the value of respecting and appreciating every human being, regardless of their identity.
Studying abroad will develop independence, self-reliance, and confidence in novel situations. Along with helping you become more adept at solving problems, the difficulties you encounter abroad will also help you learn to deal with uncertainty and develop personally and professionally.