August 28, 2017
Studying abroad is undoubtedly one of the more enriching experiences that a student can have. Our trip to Frankfurt, Germany was a remarkable experience; surrounded by breathtaking architecture, truly inspiring historical reminders, and a resolute German culture. Not to mention, there was no better person than Dr. Matthias Hofferberth to guide this study abroad program. As a former student and teacher at Goethe-Universität, Dr. Hofferberth let his expertise and passion shine through to show us globalization from a transatlantic perspective, and not just teach it, which made all the difference.
As a class we experienced various perspectives that allowed for a truly in depth look at the effects and the future of globalization. During the two week period we were at all times surrounded by the topics of the course. The class discussion stays with you as you walk the streets of downtown Frankfurt and even when you travel to Heidelberg and view a nearly 800-year-old castle. As Thomas Friedman once wrote, “globalization is everything and its opposite”.
This program went far beyond the classroom and suggested each student to broaden their view as the world reaches a new dimension of complexity and interconnectedness. While exploring Frankfurt we experienced the influence of Turkish immigration on the cosmopolitan city. Most of us enjoyed more Turkish kebabs than German schnitzel. We were mostly afforded the ability to speak in English rather than communicate in the native German language. These two seemingly simple things are a part of the massive web that is globalization. The class gave an intricate and substantial meaning to these simple encounters.
The classroom itself was a setting that was more than conducive to discuss globalization, as the class was comprised of American students from UTSA and local German students from Goethe. Dr. Hofferberth provided us with the tools to consider our environment, no matter our country of origin, from a variety of theories, schools of thought, and paradigms. In the end, we were challenged to find globalization on our own as the final paper assigned each student to analyze a visualization (photo, graph, etc.) of globalization, an assignment that allowed for great creativity and permission to challenge what we had learned in class.
In addition, there were nearly daily excursions to the city of Frankfurt and neighboring cities. These field trips provided the students to not only learn about the area, but also explore the innumerable pathways to a career in Global Affairs or Political Science. For instance, we visited the U.S. Consulate, Wiesbaden U.S. Army Base Lucius Clay Kaserne, Hessischer Landtag, Frankfurt Airport, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Just as well, we were able to learn more about higher education opportunities from Goethe University faculty.
We strongly encourage any students to explore their opportunities to study abroad, particularly with this program through the Department of Political Science and Geography. The adventure of a new country and university is worthwhile, but so is the introspection, the adventure of oneself, as the world opens itself to your imagination.
To learn more about this program, please go to studyabroad.utsa.edu or go to the UTSA Education Abroad office at Main Building 1.204.
Shelby Carson & Brooklyn Clow, Frankfurt Study Abroad Alumni 2017
Main Office: MS 4.03.62
Department of Political Science and Geography
University of Texas at San Antonio
College of Liberal and Fine Arts
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249-1644