Kate a week before she leaves for Germany.

I’m Kate Rooney, a junior in Mechanical Engineering here at Colorado School of Mines, and in just one week I fly over to Germany to spend a year abroad. Amidst the franticness of calling banks, visiting friends and packing up, I’ve come to realize that my excitement and nerves are at an all-time high.

In addition to becoming fluent in German and experiencing German culture, I’m particularly excited about the ability to travel all around Europe. Being just a short plane or train ride away from thousands of amazing sites, I hope to get a chance to experience as many as possible in this coming year. Sometimes it seems daunting to spend an entire year overseas, especially when it’s a fourth of the time I’ll spend in college, but it’s packed full of great opportunities, so it’s bound to be unforgettable. Here’s the plan in a nutshell:

On June 22 I fly into Hannover, Germany, to spend seven weeks in summer classes at the Technische Universitat Braunschweig, studying German, automotive engineering, and mechatronics and microtechnology. After that I get to travel around Europe for three weeks with one of my best friends from high school to see all sorts of amazing sites. Then in September, itís off to Bremen, where Iíll be taking a German intensive course right before classes start at Hochschule Bremen (Bremen University of Applied Sciences). Classes in Bremen will end in February, and then for the next five to six months I’ll be working as mechanical intern for a company in Germany. In August 2013, Iíll be back in Golden to start my senior year at Mines.

Preparing for this has been a lot of work, and I couldnít have done it without all the help and support I received from so many of you. Thank you! So as I finish up the last few things on my To-Do-Before-Leaving-America list, Iím looking forward to starting this incredible year.