One of the perks of having a sister who is serving in the United States Army is being able to visit the different places around the world where she is stationed. In May of 2008 I was fortunate enough to visit her in the 7th most visited travel destination in the world, that is, Germany. Since I had never ventured out of my own country before, visiting Germany was quite the eye-opening experience for me.
First of all, Germany has got to be the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The scenery is breathtaking and the many castles I saw there were unreal! From fortresses in the Alps to citadels along the river Rhine, there are many interesting and famous castles in Germany. When I think about the fact that the newest castles in Germany are older than my own country it amazes me! One of the castles that I was able to visit and see close-up was the famous hilltop Frankenstein Castle which was located about five kilometers from Darmstadt, Germany. Reputedly this was the actual castle which influenced Mary Shelley to write her famous novel Frankenstein. Exploring this eerie castle was one of the highlights of my trip.
I got to experience a sense of European history when I visited Germany and I learned about many of things that originated in Germany and some of the famous people that have come from Germany. Here are some interesting facts I learned about Germany while I was visiting: Germany has Europe’s largest economy and is the most populous European nation. Germany is particularly famous for its outstanding contributions to music, literature, to the arts, architecture, and to nearly all branches of science and scholarship. Here are some facts that are a bit more fun to think about: Germany is the birth place of the hamburger, the hot dog, printing press, alarm clock, x-ray, whistling tea kettle, the Christmas tree, and Groundhog Day. Those are just a few of the thousands of the things that originated in Germany.
The German people are avid recyclers and taking care of their beautiful country is first and foremost on their list of priorities. Living with such a large population and restricted to such a small area of land, they have been forced to find a way to deal with the issues of pollution and overcrowding landfills. Seeing the great respect they have for their forests and how much they enjoy devoting their spare time to enjoying nature inspired me to look at some of my own recycling habits.
It has been proven that students who visit foreign countries and experience cultural differences personally can come to truly understand where other cultures are coming from. I feel that visiting Germany changed me for the better. I was allowed to experience a totally different culture then my own and to see the cultural differences first-hand. Visiting Germany made me return home with new ideas and perspectives about myself and the way I live.
My encounter with the totally different German culture made me look at my own culture through new eyes. Before my trip I had been completely uninformed about the world beyond my nation’s boundaries. I know that when I returned home I had a more informed and less biased perspective towards other cultures and peoples, which I am very thankful for. My trip to Germany was one of the most amazing times of my life and one that I will never forget. I know that I have grown into a better person because of that trip.
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