While going abroad with SPEA, I traveled to various cities within Germany and Italy. I loved participating in my particular SPEA program because throughout the period of the course, I stayed in two small cities in Germany and Italy. This gave me the benefit of really learning the layout of the towns and their universities where I was studying. Additionally, this gave me the opportunity to travel to larger cities on the weekend, such as Munich, Germany and Milan, Italy. Although I loved my time in the bigger cities, I was always excited to go back to the towns that I learned well during my month abroad.
While abroad, I learned the most about the town where I studied while in Germany. In Germany, we stayed in Augsburg which has a rich history, literally. The wealthiest family in history, known as the Fugger family, came from Augsburg and still has their roots in the town. While in Augsburg, I participated in a few walking tours with my classmates where we learned more about the history of the city, and in turn the history of the Fugger family. The wealthiest Fugger, known as “Jakob Fugger the Rich,” established the world’s first social settlement in 1516. Jakob called the world’s first social settlement the “Fuggerei” and it was a housing development for low-income families in Augsburg. Amazingly, the settlement still existed and housed residents today. The requirements to become a resident of the Fuggerei has remained the same since its construction 502 years ago and included paying the annual symbolic rent of 88 cents (which had been updated to account for inflation), three daily prayers, and proof of financial need.