GAINESVILLE — Given the rigor of being a starting defensive lineman at Florida, Jordan Sherit knew his study-abroad options would be limited.
The Hillsborough High alumnus couldn't miss too much of the Gators' offseason workouts and still be able to contribute this fall on a defense that should again be one of the best in the SEC. But his graduate school work toward a master's degree in international business requires at least one trip outside the United States.
What Sherit settled on was eight days in Germany for an unforgettable trip this April.
"It was an awesome experience," Sherit said. "Definitely cool to get out of your comfort zone and do something like that."
Sherit had plenty of previous experiences with cultures outside the U.S. He has family in Israel and has traveled to Greece. He was also a student in the International Baccalaureate program at Hillsborough. But Germany was a different kind of adventure.
Sherit — who graduated with a finance degree last fall — and five of his classmates toured a BMW factory and gave a presentation to some of the car company's executives about their view of how completely autonomous vehicles could function as ride-sharing cars when you're at work. Siemens and other firms also talked with the group.
While Sherit's trip focused on academics, he couldn't ignore athletics as he recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of spring practice.
Sherit didn't want to skimp on his rehab, so trainers gave him instructions for a few lunges and band exercises he could do in the gym of his Holiday Inn. He stayed active, too, including a mountain climb with his classmates to get a better view near the Neuschwanstein Castle.
"That wasn't the smartest thing from a rehabilitation standpoint," Sherit said, "but I was able to get on the side of that mountain, get a great picture and get a nice little workout in the process."
Some of the lessons Sherit took back to Florida were practical for a student who hopes to pursue a career in finance after pursuing pro football. While American businessmen typically wear suits and ties, Germans dress a little more informally.
"People were looking at us like a bunch of old men," Sherit said.
But some of the lessons were broader and could help Sherit as he prepares for redshirt senior season under coach Jim McElwain. While the differences were obvious — Sherit was amazed at how flawlessly Germans were speaking to him in their second language — there were a lot of similarities, too.
"Some of the same core values and ideals you kind of work with in the States — it's the same thing," Sherit said. "Being courteous. Being on time. Being direct. Being ethical, doing all the things right, the little things. Kind of the same things Coach Mac preaches about …
"No matter where you are, it's the same few core ideals that are the difference between being good and being great."
Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.