Michelle Gilbert

Michelle Gilbert
Michelle Gilbert
History and German (double major)
Raymond, New Hampshire
Reading and Math tutor, International Student Exchange Program in Germany

I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire with my parents and two sisters. During the summer of my junior year in high school I attended St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program where I took a writing course and a German course for 5 ½ weeks. This was where I started my journey into learning German as well as where I was first introduced to St. Lawrence. What caught my attention about SLU were not only the variety of languages offered, but also the large number of study abroad opportunities and the percentage of students that took advantage of them, as compared to some of the other schools that had stations at the college fair. I already knew that I wanted to study abroad at some point in my college career, so finding a school that catered to this was very important to me.

My decision to attend St. Lawrence was a fairly easy one to make. I was offered a scholarship that I could not refuse and the sense of community and welcoming that I felt when I came to the accepted students’ day made me sure of where I would be for the next 4 years of my life. When I entered SLU as a first year student I was unsure what I wanted to study aside from German. After taking a few history courses however, I was hooked. I declared a History and German double major at the beginning of my sophomore year and I couldn’t be happier.

Being a German major, I had a few options for my study abroad. I ended up choosing to study in Germany with the ISEP program of which SLU is a member because it gave me the opportunity to be immersed in the culture and study in a German university for the whole academic year. During this time I would still being able to continue taking classes toward my history major as well and that was also something that I was looking for. Out of all of the German speaking countries, I chose Germany because I am fascinated with the history and culture and wanted to get a first-hand view of how they see themselves as well as how they view the United States.

The skills that I acquired studying German for my first two years at St. Lawrence prepared me well for a smooth transition into Germany. It was a bit difficult and daunting at first, but as the time has gone by my fluency has gotten better and my confidence in speaking with native speakers has risen as well.

My plans for the future are not fully clear yet, but I know that I want to continue with my studies getting a Master’s Degree and one day hopefully a Ph.D. in European History. On top of studying German, I have also studied Spanish for four years in high school and I am now beginning my study of Arabic, so I would also like to make use of these skills in my future, not letting anything go to waste.