Sauregurkenzeit (noun): a three to six week vacation in the spring time. This concept is a little foreign (in both language and meaning) to Americans, which is probably why no one ever bothered to translate it. This kind of vacation is not typical for Americans, mostly because there isn’t a lot of time for it. But in the German culture, these long term trips are considered necessary and are viewed as great learning experiences. It’s not about the sightseeing or the famous restaurants, but its about the culture. It’s about doing as the locals do. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone. This summer, I decided to step roughly 8,362 kilometers (I’ve decided to embrace the metric system) out of my comfort zone to experience my own 6 week sauregurkenzeit. I will be studying the German language at the University of Stuttgart, and plan to use weekends for traveling around Europe. In two short years I will be returning to Germany for 9 months to attend the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and experience German engineering. So, keeping a blog seemed like the easiest way for me to document the successes/failures of my study abroad experience. Here, I will share what I learn about packing, traveling, and simply becoming German.