I studied abroad in Lüneburg for the Fall semester of my senior year of college in 2011. After studying German for about 4 years, I knew I wanted to go to Germany, and my school was only affiliated with programs to Lüneburg or Berlin. Now you may ask yourself: Why would you choose Lüneburg, city of 70,000 people, to Berlin, full of history, culture, and Germany’s capital!?

The answer: $10,000

Although my reason for choosing to study in Lüneburg was purely monetary, it has turned out to be one of the most influential decisions I have made in my life.

The best part about studying in Lüneburg as an American through the USAC program is how truly immersed in German culture you can become. At Loyola University Chicago, most students choose to study abroad in Rome. They studied at an American university in a foreign city, which meant living, studying, and hanging out with almost exclusively other American students. This is not the experience that I was looking for when I made my decision to study abroad.

I chose to live in student housing for Leuphana, and I was housed in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with 2 German men. This meant that from day one I was truly immersed in the culture and language, giving me no safety net.  Although I obviously still had most of my classes with all of the other American students and hung out with them throughout most of the day, I was still heavily immersed in the culture and language.

Through these experiences, I have realized what is truly important to me, found amazing new friends, and met the love of my life. So now, although my boyfriend will be the first to say that Lüneburg is an incredibly dull city to live in, I still believe that it is a truly great city to study in.