While studying in Germany and Poland for a year, Natalea Wright discovered it was not the places she visited, but what she overcame that shaped her experience.
Her first semester, Wright studied language at the University of Marburg in Germany. She studied at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland her second semester.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Wright said. “Germany and Poland are beautiful countries, but humans fall into a routine and life begins to feel like it does any where else.”
Wright did not view her routine as negative, though. Her purpose for studying abroad was to live independently in a different country and solve problems.
A major problem Wright tackled was when she had to acquire a visa in order to enter Poland. The Polish embassy was in Berlin, eight hours from where she lived in Marburg.
After traveling eight hours by bus, Wright discovered she did not have proper documents to enter because the bank statement she brought was not stamped and her passport photo was invalid. She could not enter Poland.
“Most of the time, those documents are taken care of by the study abroad office here,” Wright said. “But I had to figure out how to do it in Germany.”
Wright then struggled to communicate with an embassy worker, and in addition to invalid papers, she had not received an email from the Jagiellonian University containing additional documents, proving she was enrolled.
“To be honest,” Wight said. “I cried. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I needed this in order to be in Poland.”
Wright went to the embassy three times to clear up the legalities before receiving her visa.
“There was a lot of legal stuff involved,” Wright said. “I thought I had done everything correctly.”
This venture taught Wright to fend for herself, something she said a classroom could not teach her.
“I was put to the real test,” Wright said. “You had to put together your own puzzle to live.”