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How has my abroad experience changed my thought about my academic and career path?

As Christmas and the holiday season approach, it’s a sign that my abroad experience is coming to an end. Four months in Germany have been filled with remarkable experiences, life skills, and friendships. Before getting into the season of finals and family gatherings, I decided to sit down and write down some thoughts about how this term shifted my perspective of my academic and career pathway.

This exchange program aims to help me decide whether I can call Europe my home in the future. I always have had a great passion for working in Europe after my last visit to Switzerland. I fell in love with the calm, simplicity, convenience, and warmth that the location and people provided for me. You can easily access public transportation, which can take you wherever in Europe, making commuting and traveling less scary. They also have a pretty good work-life balance, with most European countries working 35-37 hours each week. Employees would leave the office at 4-5 p.m. to pick up their children, spend time with family, and have time for personal matters. This working style is a good fit for me because, besides spending time in the lab or researching, I enjoy going on adventures, whether in a park, a forest, or a city. That’s why I try to make time for my hobbies because they help clear and refresh my mind, giving me the energy to work better and boost my life’s quality.

Germans are also kind and have a fantastic sense of humor. I merged in quickly within the first two weeks in Bremen, and never have I felt it doesn’t fit in. This affects me significantly because my biggest fear is not fitting into the new environment, especially when settling in America for a while. 

Now that I have some experience living here, it’s easier for me to map my life after graduation. I will stay in America for a few years after graduation to gain work experience and use the connections I have made since college to bring me greater opportunities to enhance my skills and career. During that, I might have a chance to relocate to Europe, such as work short-term on a project. These small steps are crucial as they prepare me better before taking the big step of moving there permanently. However, I may decide to stay in America because, in my opinion, America is still an excellent place to work in the pharmaceutical sector because of the prominent market and abundance of talented individuals to work with and learn from. In any case, the future holds several opportunities for me to gain expertise in the European and American labor markets. But I’m grateful that this term has provided me with many valuable skills and information that have allowed me to approach my career path from a fresh perspective and with a larger vision.

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