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BU Abroad: Sprechen Sie Science?

Along another river, education proceeds

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Four BU science students struggle with culture shock, course requirements, and hazardous bike lanes in Dresden, Germany.

The tramway to the Technische Universitat Dresden, home of BU’s Dresden Science Program, passes the baroque domes and towers of the Altstadt, the old city, reflecting in the Elbe River. That’s a long way from the Boston skyline reflecting in the Charles, but there’s plenty of academic continuity; the Dresden program offers BU’s large community of science and premed students the opportunity to study abroad, experience German culture, embarrass themselves trying to speak the language, and stay on track with cell biology, statistics, or an organic chemistry lab.

“I constantly went back and forth, from feeling old to very young around different people,” says Jessica Shih (CAS’11). Time spent thinking about the future helped her make decisions about what she wanted to do both with the time she has left at BU and after graduation: “I came back to Boston in January and changed my major to be more flexible, so I could try to go abroad again,” she says. “I decided that I wanted to go to pharmacy school after college.”

“It was bittersweet coming home,” says Mike Wasserman (CAS’10), after his semester in Germany. “I obviously love being home, but I fell in love with Dresden.” He has continued preparations for medical school, including participating in BU’s Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics and taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).

Shih and Wasserman both had periods of adjustment after returning home. “I felt weird going outside in just sweatpants,” Shih says, “because in Dresden, people always looked put together, if not more stylish in general.”

Wasserman’s observation after making the transition from Germany back to the States: “Americans are loud.”

Check out more BU Abroad stories.

Devin Hahn can be reached at dhahn@bu.edu.

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