Ballinger experiences cultural differences on impactful trip

Caroline Barger

More stories from Caroline Barger

Through taking German classes, senior Destiny Ballinger prepared herself for the trip of a lifetime to Germany. While there, Ballinger began with a group of her peers, but stayed longer with two host families for a total of seven months.

“Most of the students who went on the month-long trip hosted the students that they were now staying with,” Ballinger said. “I hosted one of the two students that I stayed with because it was highly encouraged by Frau Bergen to host someone if you planned on going, to make the experience more enjoyable for them and for the American students as well.”

Ballinger has attended school in both Germany and America and has seen the differences in what each school teaches and the way each school system is run.

“A difference is how much the school trusts their students,” Ballinger said. “Being alone in a classroom for 45 minutes is no big deal.”

Although there were many benefits to traveling to a different country, there were some things back in America that could just not be replicated in Germany.

“I missed my family and friends a lot. Of course I grew close to my host family, but you don’t realize how different your family is to others until you spend time with another one for a few weeks,” Ballinger said.

Even though Ballinger was not in the states she was still aware of what was going on in politics. Although being in Germany helped her learn about the culture there, it also opened her eyes to some of the controversy in America.

“One of my favorite parts was just being around an entire different group of people, an entire country of people who oppose Trump and support the refugees entering their country. It put into perspective how much prejudice we really have in the states,” Ballinger said.

By traveling to a foreign country Ballinger was able to see the differences in everyday life, and was also able to grow from her experiences.

“I learned to have more faith in myself, with both the German language and more everyday things, like money management and people skills. What I really learned was that there are so many other countries out there, full of adventure and culture. They’re worth exploring,” Ballinger said.