Kelly Lucas has long had a passion for crossing borders. At 17 years old, she participated in an exchange to France and, most recently, took part in a study-abroad program in Germany through Dalhousie.
Now, Kelly has a chance to help others satisfy their own yearning for travel as an ambassador for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
"If you want to do something, regardless of the boundaries, make it happen," says Kelly, who is in the second year of the Nursing program and the first Dal student to be selected as a DAAD ambassador.
As a DAAD envoy, Kelly will draw on her own experiences to promote the benefits of an exchange to Germany at study-abroad fairs and other events hosted by Dal’s German department.
Kelly, who also has a BSc in Psychology from Dal, decided to travel to Germany to study the language after taking a German class with instructor Brigid Garvey as an elective on a friend’s recommendation and falling in love with the language.
Kelly was so enamoured with the language that she decided she wanted to travel to Germany to further sharpen her skills. While originally planning to go after completing her Psychology degree at Dal, Kelly decided to hold off on graduating so she could take part in the study abroad program. She figured it would create a more structured learning environment for her.
Kelly began her journey with an intensive, four-week summer language course at the University of Heidelberg and followed that with the Canadian Year in Freiburg Program at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. Although traveling to a new place can be scary, Kelly says that she was very well received and almost immediately fell in love with Freiburg, the southern German city where she did the yearlong program.
Learning from locals
It helped that she met plenty of friendly locals willing to give help her along with a crash course in German language and culture.
“The best part of my trip were the friends I made, because they gave me the opportunity to learn the traditions from a local standpoint,” she gushes. “It gave me a chance to see that school isn’t just about the stress.”
In addition to being a great chance to explore a new culture, Kelly says the DAAD program offers both short and long-term funding opportunities for students who want to study or do research at the undergraduate or graduate level in the country.
Amy Braye, the study abroad and exchange advisor for outgoing students at Dal, says Kelly’s appointment as the first-ever DAAD ambassador at Dal is “pretty exciting.”
Kelly couldn’t agree more.
“This is a chance to highlight what my experience was like and to give others the same opportunity I was presented with,” she says. “To be able to promote studying abroad in addition to the wonderful experience I had in Germany is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.”
When asked if she would consider traveling again, Kelly lists a plethora of countries she is planning to go, including Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and Norway. However, she says she will keep going back to Germany. “It’s like a second home,” she says.
Kelly encourages anyone with questions for her about studying abroad in Germany to drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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