Declan Dwyer-McNulty spent the summer of 2015 studying abroad in Bonn. A student at the State University of New York at Geneso, he spent his time in Germany taking classes on German language and culture as well as American environmentalism. He also used his time in Germany to attend public lectures on international migration, disaster relief, and climate change at the United Nations’ offices in Bonn. Since he returned from Germany, he has been volunteering as a DAAD Young Ambassador to help others benefit from a study abroad experience in Germany.
Our DAAD network is a vast and global net of connections between DAAD and its award winners, ambassadors, alumni, grant holders, future applicants – all united by their love for study and research abroad and all things German.
We asked Declan a few questions about his work and experience in Germany:
- What sparked your interest in Anthropology/Social Science and Environmental Studies?
Reading the biography Ishi: Last of His Tribe by Theodora Kroeber in 7th-grade English instigated my abiding interest in anthropology and the environmental contexts of human societies.
- What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working as an AmeriCorps VISTA member directing an after-school enrichment program in Geneseo, NY.
- What was the most ‘German’ experience you have had?
I studied abroad at Bonn University in the spring of 2015. On Good Friday, I joined the parishioners at Kreuzberg Church to pray on the 28 steps of Kreuzberg’s Heilige Steige. I had never done anything of the sort before.
- What advice would you give to students who are thinking of choosing your field of study?
Full disclaimer: I am not good at following this advice. That said, I think aspiring anthropologists need a blend of hands on experience and library research. Read broadly, but also go out and talk to people. Try to knap an arrowhead or grow corn.
- What advice would you give to North American students who are thinking of studying abroad in Germany?
I would strongly recommend it. It was a formative experience for me. Secondly, I would go to the DAAD website and learn about funding opportunities.
- Which pictures, plants or unusual objects are there in your room/at your desk?
My oregano plant recently died, so currently my windowsill is bare. I will probably try mint next.
- Can you cook a German meal without a recipe? If so, which one?
Does muesli count?
- What do you enjoy in your free time/as hobbies?
I enjoy rambling through the woods. I dabble in swing dancing.
- Do you have a favorite writer, politician? Or someone who has inspired you on your journey? If so, who and why them?
From a utilitarian standpoint, I am a huge fan of the books of Dan Buettner, a journalist who has worked extensively on studying the healthiest and happiest cultures around the world and trying to apply their common cultural patterns to American communities. His work is inspiring.
Muesli: German breakfast cereal with oats and fruit.
Learn more about the DAAD Young Ambasador Program.
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