Justin Porter

Justin posing on top of a mountain

DAAD Grant, 2012-2014

I spent almost two years in Germany after graduating with a degree in Biophysics. During this time, I worked in a lab at the Technical University of Munich, learned German, lived with German students, and—as much as one can in two years—made a life for myself there, and it was maybe the best thing I ever did. It was challenging at times, but meeting those challenges—learning the language, trying to understand the culture—gave me the chance to learn about myself in ways I’m not sure you can any other way. I learned to be more flexible in my cultural expectations and, for the first time, I can really explain why I’m proud to be American (without resorting to the usual platitudes). As I leave Germany to begin an MD/PhD program, I am certain that this breadth—this understanding that people who aren’t like me really aren’t so different from me after all—will make me a better physician and, more importantly, person.