When I first decided to participate in a study abroad program I thought about all the things I would be missing back home while I was away in Germany. Aside from family and friends, which I can easily keep in contact with, the toughest thing that I had to give up was playing Ultimate Frisbee. I have been a part of the team since my freshman year and have made some really good friends on the team. I wasn’t looking forward to having to miss the entire fall season, but I knew that I would be back in time for the spring season and I knew that studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity and that I should take advantage of it while I could. To ease my fears about missing the fall season, I decided to check if there were any teams in the Mannheim area to see if I could play a little while I was in Germany.
Luckily, I found the contact information for a team in the Ludwigshafen-Mannheim area and so I was very interested to see how the Germans played the game. I talked about this opportunity with my friends on the team, excited at the chance to play Ultimate in a foreign country. The first few weeks here I didn’t email the contact I had found just because I wanted to get used to my surroundings and get settled in Mannheim. But finally I decided to email (in German) the contact I had found and quickly got a response that they would be having practice one Thursday. I got the email early on Thursday morning and was surprised at how soon the practice would be, but still excited to get back into the game. I met up with them and was introduced to everybody who was there.
There were only 6 of them there so we didn’t have enough numbers for a full game, but it was still fun to be throwing again. Adrian is the captain and contact person and then there was also Felix, Catalina, and three other guys whose German names I wouldn’t know how to spell correctly. We had a lot of fun playing a small game and I got to learn some of the German lingo as well as how they played the game. I learned that they always count the stall count in English, but call out their force in German (the force is which way they are forcing the thrower to throw). I was able to tell them the names of the throws in English, so we each got to learn a little from each other.
One thing that was a little difficult was that the other players on my team decided our strategy in German and it was a little hard for me to follow, but I was still able to get the main idea, so it worked out in the end. I still keep in contact with them and practice with them from time to time. Hopefully, I can bring back some ideas for our team at Drexel. I’ve told the guys I live with about it and Cyrill, one of the German guys, said he would be interested in playing and also has a friend who would also be interested. Although I am still a little uneasy about missing an entire season back home playing with my friends, the fact that I can play with a whole new group of people here really made my decision to study aborad much easier and its an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. So even though you may be afraid that you’ll have to miss out on something in the US to study abroad, just try and see if they have something similar to what you’d be missing back home at your host university. Trying something you love in a foreign country will be an experience you’ll never forget. I know I won’t.