February 12, 2014 | Matt Kucinski

Andrew Pruim
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Year: Sophomore
Major: Media production

Where are you?

I'm in Germany participating in Calvin's German Interim Abroad program.

What are you doing?

I'm working to expand my knowledge of the German language and culture. I'm experiencing German first hand, in person.

What does a typical day look like?

Each day we get up and are met with a large German breakfast. During the day we tour cities and spend time with our hosts. In the evenings we often get free time to explore Germany or just relax with our fellow GIAers.

What (technically) are you doing?

As a side project to the traditional GIA program I am working to document the trip in photo and video. In layperson's terms I take a lot of photos and videos that I hope to share in the promotion of the German Interim Abroad. (Maybe you've seen our Cupid shuffle video?)

How has Calvin prepared you for this?

Calvin helped to prepare me for this trip by strengthening my German language and communication skills. This was done through chances to speak to native German speakers as well as activities that require students to practice speaking the German language to one another. I've also been given lots of opportunities to practice my production skills in a supportive community.

What has surprised you so far?

I've been to Germany before so nothing surprised me too much. I guess what's most exciting is realizing just how old everything here really is. I mean most of this stuff was around before the United States even existed!

How do you see this shaping your future?

Working on photos and video during this trip has given me lots of practice doing photography on location. This will be helpful in planning projects in the future as I think about study abroad semesters. More importantly perhaps I was reminded that German is more than just a language I take for core, it is a people, a place, and a culture. I hope to keep this in mind and let it motivate me when I return to the grind of studies.

Best picture you've taken?

That's a hard question I've taken a lot of pictures on this trip. I think one of my favorites would have to be the sun beams coming through the clouds over Wittenberg, because it is simultaneously both striking and German looking. If you're interested in seeing some of my work you can check out the photos posted on my blog.

Best food you've eaten?

Nothing compares to fresh German bread and pretzels.

What's gone wrong?

I wouldn't say it went wrong but the participation in our flashmob was a little less than I expected. It has also been hard to get good footage of evening activities because it gets dark here so early and I want to put down the camera and have some fun.

Met anyone memorable?

I'll remember the warm smiles and fun times spent with our host families in Erfurt, Husum and Wittenberg. We also got to meet with the Bürgermeister (Mayor) in Husum. 

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