Earth to Kat VespucciThank you to the Fund for Education Abroad for bringing Ingrid Anders and her book Earth to Kat Vespucci to our attention. This quote from the book highlights why I enjoyed it and why I think it’s a good read for any student contemplating or preparing for a study abroad experience.

“It is suddenly apparent to me that there are going to be many, many new issues for me to contemplate over the coming months…despite my prestigious and expensive education, I am going to be caught off-guard by each new issue to contemplate, which leads me to contemplate the worth of my prestigious and expensive education which, except for my ability to speak German, has prepared me for nothing of what I have experienced today” (54).

After suffering a quarter-life crisis, Jersey girl Kat Vespucci decides to leave behind a life of ex-boyfriends and embarrassing parents in order to spend her final year of college abroad in Germany.  In this coming of age novel, Kat explores life in a foreign country, quickly learning to deal with the culture shock, language barrier, and significant difference in customs that come along with it.   She instantly discovers that even mundane tasks such as buying a train ticket are not as simple as she had expected.  Her naïve spirit and honest humor make it easy to sympathize with her frustrations.  Throw in a mix of international students, an unfamiliar internship, and some of her crazy boy problems, and we see Kat’s chaotic experiences unfold before our eyes.

Through her journey, Kat provides a glimpse into the visuals of her surrounding city of Berlin.  Her vivid descriptions invite us into our own visual exploration as well as provide some background to the history of the country.   For readers looking to travel to Germany without leaving their living room, this book offers a vicarious experience and delves into what it really means to step outside of one’s comfort zone. While some of Kat’s experiences may seem somewhat…“dramatic,” there is no doubt that her struggles reflect many of the same baffling issues met by anyone trying to immerse herself into a foreign culture.

As I prepare myself for my own study abroad semester this fall, I realize that this story does more than just satisfy my craving for some light and humorous entertainment.   Kat’s experiences provide a peek into the future adventures that lie ahead for me in the upcoming months.  Despite different countries, languages, and customs, Kat’s endeavors provide valuable lessons when it comes to coping with the unfamiliar.   While it is easy to feel like a fish out of water, Kat demonstrates the importance of pushing her boundaries, rolling with the punches, and opening herself to different types of people.  Whether looking to travel through the eyes of another or hoping to gain some insight for an upcoming trip like myself, Earth to Kat Vespucci shows what it truly means to leave the comforts of home behind for a chance to fully accept and embrace life in a new culture.

Author: Meg Palmer
Meg Palmer, a student at Wake Forest University, is an intern for HTH Worldwide. She will be enjoying her own study abroad experience this fall.

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