Germany

Research shows that an ability to learn from experiences outside the classroom correlates with success in college. What was your greatest learning experience over the past 4 years that took place outside of the traditional classroom?

Studying abroad in Germany, my classmates and I dreaded waking up early and walking to our classroom in the notoriously rainy city of Tubingen. Mr. Schneberger spoke about the anatomy of a cathedral, and we made it clear how confused we all were. After our lengthy seminar session, Mr. Schne took us to see the surrounding area and told us to take notes during our roaming lecture. He completely blocked oncoming traffic, but I hardly noticed. I was too caught up in his lecture on the history of the buildings, how a cathedral signifies the center of a town. I finally understood the difference between a barrel and groin vault.

For the remaining days of the trip, Mr. Schne wiped out the classroom curriculum and continued to take us to see gargoyle-adorned churches, statues of the four Evangelists, and even historical sites such as the Eagle’s Nest and Dachau. These came to be known as our “classroom without walls” sessions. My classmates and I reflected upon our favorite churches while resting in our hotel rooms, instead of indulging in typical girl talk. Through it all, the “classroom without walls” heightened my enthusiasm for learning. I was eager to witness more and more of Germany’s rich history and architecture through Mr. Schne’s lectures. I enjoyed every minute, and early morning grogginess soon turned into the pleasure of hard-won knowledge.

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