Erin Duffin (German Studies, 2014)
“After graduating from William & Mary in 2014, I moved to Stuttgart, Germany to be an au pair for a family there. I spent about a year in Baden-Württemberg getting to know the Schwaben (Swabians, the people who come from the area around Stuttgart), before moving to Berlin in July, 2015. Here in Berlin, I work as a freelance copy writer and editor. I live in a little garden house, called a Schrebergarten, with my roommate, who was previously my host when I studied at the Universität Potsdam in Summer 2013.
At the moment, I don’t have any hard and fast plans for the future besides staying in Berlin (which is very Berlin-ish, to be honest). I’m enjoying living the Berlin life, and getting to know people from all over the world (although most of my friends are either from England or moved to Berlin from Stuttgart, funnily enough).
I love living in Germany. I get along very well with Germans, and I feel very much at home here. Their way of life is perfect for me. It can be challenging at times, because there can be a bit of a cultural divide, and dealing with the bureaucracy is never easy. But it’s all worth it when you know you have lifelong friends here, and enjoy where you live and what you do.
For anyone thinking of moving to Europe, I say… give it a try! No one says you have to stay here forever, so just give it a year, and see what you think. In my case, one year has now turned into two… and I don’t see myself leaving any time soon. Living in Europe is such a wonderful experience. You get to meet people from all over the world, there’s always something happening, and traveling to other European countries is a breeze. So if you want to try something completely new, and are looking for a grand new adventure, give it a shot! You have absolutely nothing to lose.”
Tilghman Goldsborough (Philosophy, 2013)
Since graduating in 2013, Tilghman Goldsborough has been busy pursuing a variety of jobs, first in his hometown of Richmond, Va. and now in Germany, and he has plans to start graduate school in Germany soon. A Philosophy major, Tilghman became interested in Germany after taking part in the W&M Potsdam Program the summer after graduation. For almost a year now, he has been living as an au pair with a family in the suburbs of Stuttgart, tutoring the children and helping them improve their English. He has also had some of his poems published in an on-line literary magazine! After finishing his year with the family, he plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in American Studies at a German university. He says that, while the language still presents some challenges, he really likes the honesty of the Germans because you usually know where you stand with people there. He has regular contact with two other W&M graduates, one of whom lives in Stuttgart and studies at the University of Tubingen, and the other lives in Berlin. His advice to W&M graduates who might be thinking of moving to Germany is to “treat it like you’re moving anywhere new where you don’t really know anyone (or the language).” He suggests having a plan (and staying on top of the visa rules and regulations) but also staying open to opportunities that come up. Finally, Tilghman says to have fun and meet people. Living abroad “can be persistently low-key terrifying, but make the most of whatever it is you’re doing; the world is your oyster, und so weiter.”
Lisa Laird (European Studies and German Studies, ’13)
Lisa checked in with us halfway into her Fulbright ETA:
“I have been working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for eight months now and am beginning to find a comfortable spot on the scale of exciting foreigner to part of the woodwork. This year has been a fantastic lesson in creativity and spontaneity, jumping between the roles of living dictionary, private tutor, leading a crusade on proper comma usage, and running entire classes by myself. This week, I’ve been holding mock American Presidential elections in my 8th grade classes. A sample of 59 thirteen-year-olds would elect Hillary Clinton, who came in five points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Cruz followed with 13% of the vote and Trump (a name received by much laughter and jeering in the classroom) tied with write-ins for Turkey’s perhaps-not-so-humanitarian President Erdoğan—two votes each.
To compliment my 15-hour workweeks, I have been offering private tutoring and editing sessions, volunteering at the local animal shelter, and taking advantage of many travel opportunities such a central location offers. Should anyone have the opportunity, I highly recommend enjoying fika and kardemummabullar (cardamom rolls) on a snowy winter’s day in Sweden.
It’s hard to believe that the school year is almost over. After a short summer divided between Germany, the Netherlands, England, Wales, and the United States, I’ll be heading back to Europe in the autumn to start a year-long MSc in European Politics at the London School of Economics. In order to stay active academically, I am partaking in a MOOC on the upcoming Scottish and Welsh elections run by the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University—a fantastic course for any devolution nerds!”