Back to SummaryAngad Singh - Student Profile
Having lived in India my whole life before Stanford, I am technically studying abroad at Stanford. Indeed coming to Stanford was much more than just a new university or group of friends, it was a whole new culture and part of the world. Why then would I ever consider a study abroad program? Firstly, as I learnt from my experience of coming to Stanford, moving to a whole new part of the world is phenomenal. One discovers people and perspectives very different from the past and the similarities and differences in cultures are at once entertaining and inspiring. I was ready to do this one more time and going to Berlin was one step further out of my comfort zone.
Secondly, as diverse a place as Stanford is, with people from all over the world and vastly differing backgrounds, it cannot match the diversity that naturally spawns in a buzzing metropolitan city. In Berlin, you ride the train everyday with people of all ages, cultures, occupations and mentalities. You exchange smiles with the activists, musicians, soccer moms, goths, executives, street artists, tourists, hipsters, students, drug addicts and grandparents. Many a times, you find yourself striking a conversation with some of them and becoming part of their lives as the stations roll by one after the other. There are the museums dedicated to everything from Jewish history to video games as well as concert halls, theaters, cafes, parks and clubs. Berlin is buzzing with activity 24x7 and there is always something for everyone.
For instance, I was heavily involved in Berlin's active startup scene. A few times a week, I would go to meetups and meet inspiring people from all around the world working on their own crazy ideas. Berlin's entrepreneurs are a natural extension of it's myriad of artists, performers and other creative people. Yet they have already created successful companies like SoundCloud, ResearchGate, 6Wunderkinder & Wooga, with many more on the way. Being part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, I met all sorts of people trying to change the world in all sorts of ways. Despite coming from Silicon Valley, I was deeply impressed by the diversity, quality and passion of entrepreneurs in Berlin. And while doing this I developed many lifelong friendships.
Even inside the familiar walls of Stanford's homely villa, it wasn't hard to have your mind blown. In my intermediate-level German course, we were discussing current issues like immigration, Neo-Nazism, German unification and the European financial crisis. Moreover, we got a chance to read German literature all the way from Janosch's children's literature to Goethe's Faust. My favorite part about our German class was the journal, in which we were required to document every day of our Berlin experience. I now have a compiled version of all my memories from study abroad that I can revisit at anytime for some nostalgia as well as German practice. I always manage to surprise myself and everyone I meet with how quickly I was able to pick up so much German.
Another class, I took while in Berlin discussed the Transatlantic Policy Issues between the EU and the US. We had a chance to delve deep into many of the EU's biggest problems like inclusion of other countries, the fiscal crisis, renewable energy and demographics. We had the opportunity to interact with amazing people, including diplomats like the Ambassador of Iran to Germany, people from the energy industry and students of European Studies. We also took our Will Trip to Poland, where we talked to academics about the effects of Poland's relatively recent inclusion into the EU. We also visited Auschwitz, which was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps and the place where nearly 1.5 million people were killed. Going to Auschwitz was one of the most vividly overwhelming experiences of my life and it is something that will stick with me forever.
All in all, Study Abroad was one of the most phenomenal parts of my Stanford career so far and I'm grateful for the chance to experience yet another culture and part of the world so closely.