2019 Andy Koors Study Abroad Reports

As part of our new Andy Koors Legacy Fund program, two BHS rising seniors who have been selected to study abroad during the summer through the Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Language are each awarded $2500 toward their program fees. Herr Andy Koors, long-time German teacher at BHS, left BCEF an amount of money upon his untimely death, and the BCEF Board has elected to use some of these funds to continue Andy’s dedication to making study abroad possible for BHS students.

Here are reports from both of the 2019 recipients:

Casey Werner:

The Summer of 2019 in Austria was the greatest, most influential time of my life so far. Not only did I have an absolute blast while I was in Europe, but the great experiences and relationships I made over there completely changed my perspective on life and gave me a new vision for my future, and all of this is possible thanks to BCEF.

When I left for Austria on June 3rd, I was someone who was not very inclined to try new things, someone, like most people, with one family, and someone who basically only knew people from Indiana. What I did not know before I left was that when I would come back, all of these things would be different. When I got to Austria, I was nervous to meet my host family. There were so many negative thoughts going through my head. What if they don’t like me? What if my German isn’t good enough? What if I don’t like their food? Seemingly everything could go wrong. My host mom picked me up, and it had officially started. While I feared the worst, what I got was better than I ever could have imagined. After the first day or two, I felt so connected to my host family and (as far as I can tell) they liked me. My German was more than enough to communicate with them and truly express my feelings. The food was absolutely amazing. Almost every meal was something new, and I loved it.

By the end of the trip, my host family truly felt like a second true family on the other side of the world. I couldn’t have asked for anything greater than that. Outside of my host-family, which was by far the highlight of my trip, I got to explore the wonderful city of Graz, as well as a few other places around Austria, and I got to make long-lasting memories with great friends, both new and old. Before the trip, I wanted to go to an American University, and now I’m planning on going to language school before studying for 5-6 years in Austria to get my master’s degree.

None of this would have been possible without IUHPFL, my host family’s welcoming nature, and BCEF.

This trip was always something that I had been hoping to do since I first heard about it freshman year, but the financial aspect is always the biggest problem for just about everyone. Without the scholarship I received, I wouldn’t have made any of the memories or relationships that I made this summer, and my life would be on a completely different track. For this, I will forever be thankful to BCEF and Herr Andy Koors, my first German teacher.


Charlie Laymon:

My summer in Graz, Austria, was, to simply put it, the experience of a lifetime. To be able to truly live a different culture, speak in a different language, and make lasting connections with others halfway across the globe are a few of the things that have affected my life for the
better. Throughout this program, I was completely immersed within the Austrian culture and language.

In the beginning the task of remaining fully immersed within the language was difficult, as my German was not fluent. This challenge, however, has personally strengthened my perseverance and sense of commitment. Due to the nature of this rule within the program, I can proudly say that my German speaking and understanding have improved significantly.

For instance, I had never imagined that I would be able to hold a conversation with a stranger on the train explaining how certain taxes differ between different states in the United States. Yet, thanks to the intensity of this program, I was able to do this. The IUHPFL program was also very helpful with the GAPP trip with Herr Cambron, as English is not the first language of the German people and, in turn, made communication between just about anybody and myself a bit easier.

There is also something about experiencing a different way of life that opens your eyes. I can most definitely say that, after this program, my understanding of other cultures and my ability to keep an open mind have both greatly improved. As we as a society become more and
more of a global community, these two skills are extremely valuable, and I am extremely grateful that I have had the opportunity to hone these skills through such a wonderful program.

Participating in this program has also opened up other opportunities that I never would have imagined possible for myself. Not only would I receive more scholarships if I studied abroad through Indiana University, but learning the German language has also shed light on the opportunity to attend a university in Germany or Austria for extraordinarily cheap, as compared to the costs of an American university. This being said, not only would I be able to study what I want for less, but I would be able to continue to further my German skills and enrich my cultural experiences.

Looking back on my trip as a whole, I would like to thank BCEF for their generous scholarship. Without this significant contribution, not only would I have missed a truly special opportunity to strengthen my language, but I also would have missed out on discovering a second home. This program is truly enlightening, and the BCEF’s scholarship aids in students, such as myself, be able to afford this trip and, in turn, helps them create lasting relationships, memories, and simply live a life of opportunity.