While I am enjoying my time at my host family’s home, my days are still busy as I have my finals coming up. After an entire semester of lectures, discussion sessions, and office hour visits, all my knowledge has to be displayed on one test for each of my engineering classes. While it is to be frank quite stressful, I know that I only need to pass them. My strategy now is to work through all the old finals that are available, and asking my TA’s when anything comes up that I don’t fully understand. At this point, all I can do is review the lecture slides and complete as many practice problems as possible.

It’s actually been also quite a bit of work trying to figure out when I am actually going to take my finals. The regular dates for my engineering exams finals are all at the end of August, and I obviously stay until then since my Fall semester will already have begun back at OU. At first my plan was to take them both at the end of July, but this wouldn’t give me much time to prepare for them. The next option was to take them both on the same dates but then have an OU professor proctor them when I am back in the States. This is how I am still planning to take one of my finals.

The other will is actually coming up next Monday, the day before I leave Germany. The professor told me he would rather have me take the final while I am still in Germany. My Best guess is that his reasoning is to prevent the test from accidentally being released to other students. Right now I am in full gear for this upcoming final, and the TA has even been nice enough to offer me separate one-on-one office hours since I am take the final a bit earlier. This is really useful since the classes are large and there are only two TA’s at the regular office hours who are always overwhelmed by stressed out students and their questions.

I am infinitely grateful for all of the people at the Ruhr University here in Bochum that have supported my through this challenging semester. One thing I think I learn more and more as I get older is that working with others makes tougher tasks easier in most cases. A mistake I made in Taiwan was that I didn’t make as much of an effort to seek out help from TA’s and professors. All of this knowledge I have gathered from my year studying abroad in two different countries will help me immensely as I prepare for my transition back to OU.

I am aware that the transition back to an American university will not be easy by any means, but I think that after an entire year abroad, there is a significant part of me that is excited to finally be back at OU soon and to be able to learn all of the new concepts in English (not a foreign language). I’m also aware of what is knows as reverse culture shock, and I am preparing for this as well as other challenges that await me when I get home.

The next blog will be up soon!