news-category: Academics

Experience as German Exchange Student Gives GWU Senior Confidence For Future Endeavors

The youngest of seven children, Avery Terry of Greensboro, N.C., always has family looking out for him. A senior criminal justice major at Gardner-Webb University, Terry decided to apply to study abroad and explore the world on his own. He was accepted into the Gardner-Webb International Exchange Student program and attended the University of Trier in Germany during the spring semester of his junior year. The trip was his first time to travel outside the country, and he didn’t speak or understand the German language. However, he did travel with another GWU student, Garret Allen. They made history by being the first GWU students to stay for a full semester in Germany.

“One of the main attractions of the program for me was to have the experience of going abroad,” Terry offered. “I also needed language credits. Everything connected with ease and that is how I knew this program was meant for me.”

He took three courses, a German language beginner course, Intensive German Course and a basic survey of American Literature and Culture. “For the most part, my courses were from 4 to 6 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m.,” Terry shared. “It was a beautiful schedule and yielded so much time for me to explore as well as enjoy Germany.”

Terry, who describes himself as an introvert, said his experience in Germany required him to step out of his comfort zone. “It helped me to tap into my extroverted side a little more,” he affirmed. “It also gave me more knowledge of the culture. Most importantly, it helped me to gain independence, responsibility, and strength away from my close-knit family. My main goal—outside of getting language credits and abroad experience—was to find peace in myself, and I was able to do that.”

In the future, he will look back on the semester abroad as preparation for his transition from college life into professionalism and success. “I will be able to cope effectively away from my family and succeed with ease,” Terry asserted. “I was able to learn a language almost fluently within four months with no prior knowledge whatsoever. Because of that accomplishment, I will be able to tell myself anything is possible when effort and focus is active.”

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