Students on Studying and Living in Hessen

Studying abroad can be a uniquely powerful and personal experience. Coming to grips with a new culture—and possibly a new language—presents challenges and significant opportunities for growth. Over 12% of the student population in Hessen is international, and students come from all over the world to take advantage of the high-quality academics and great quality of life. Here, a handful of students from the US who recently studied in Hessen share a small glimpse into their time as study abroad students:


Kristina Buchholtz studied at the University of Kassel for the
International Summer University 2010

Majors: Geoscience, Geographic Information Systems, and Geography-Physical Environment
Home University: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
“As a participant in the Engineering Module, I was fascinated by the cutting-edge technology that I was introduced to, and found the course material to be interesting and highly relevant to today’s dynamic world. Studying subjects from Germany’s point of view gave me the opportunity to see various environmental issues from a new perspective, which was very enlightening.”

Meganne Torkelson is studying at the Hochschule Fulda on the
Master of Intercultural Communication and European Studies program
for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Major: International Studies, MA
Home University: East Carolina University
“I have really loved my time in Fulda! I love being in the middle of everything in Germany (not far from Frankfurt and in the middle of the Rhone river valley, which is so beautiful) and have found the people in Fulda to be incredibly friendly and interested in international students. Probably the best part about studying in the Intercultural Communication and European Studies program is how international the student population is, making it very easy to meet people from all over the world! Fulda itself isn’t a huge city, but I have classes with people from every area of the world and the German students have done so much to help us to feel like we’re part of the community! Being in a smaller city has allowed me to understand the German culture and traditions to a further extent. Every time I walk through the charming, cobblestone streets past the Fulda Cathedral, I realize how lucky I am that I have had the opportunity to study here. The Germans I have met in Fulda have been willing to share their traditions with me, which in turn has made me reflect on my own background and culture.”

Jeremy Jennings studied at Philipps-Universität Marburg for the
International Summer University 2010

Major: Economics
Home University: Princeton University
“The quintessential benefit of studying abroad, if there is one, is the unavoidable improvement in social skills. Whether or not your goal is to make these improvements when deciding to study abroad, that is always the result…Being abroad even allows you to have a better understanding of yourself. There is a substantial difference between being abroad, seeing traditions and customs in person, and reading about them in a text book…No portrayal of the World Cup atmosphere in Germany, for example, can ever do it justice.”

Elise Ottenfeld did the DAAD RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) program at the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen
in the summer of 2009

Major: Chemistry
Home University: University of Alabama at Birmingham
“Personally, I've always felt big cities are the same wherever you go, so I liked that Giessen was small enough to still have a distinct character but big enough to not be boring. If I did want to explore elsewhere, I could easily get to Frankfurt in less than an hour and travel anywhere else I wanted. I know a lot of people that either felt crowded in the big city or too far out to conveniently be able to travel, so I felt like I got the best of both worlds. There were plenty of places to relax and just enjoy the city. I think being in a less well-known city got rid of a lot of the "touristy" things some of the other cities had. I felt like I was more really learning what modern Germany was about rather than just visiting sites that were important historically.”

Carissa Mindt studied at the Philipps-Universität Marburg for the
academic year 2010-2011

Majors: German, Recreation Management, and Public Administration
Home University:
University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse
“Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I could have ever made.  I became aware of so many different things, met so many different people, and just grew into who I was to become.  Experiencing culture head on is the best way to learn, there is no shield, and no textbook covering up what really is the truth.  It makes you realize that even though you may be 5,000 miles away, everyone goes through the same hardships and accomplishments.  I loved the experience of being the ‘outsider’;  it makes you appreciate what you have in your home country and triggers inner self-belief and the confidence to know that you can do this!”

Cory Windorff studied at the Goethe University of Frankfurt for the
spring/summer semester 2010

Majors: Chemistry and German
Home University: University of Wisconsin-River Falls
“One semester was not enough time! I met wonderful people and learned so much about the German culture. This was a great experience and I would recommend this program to anyone looking to have some real fun, see historically important places, and improve their knowledge of German Language and culture.”

Elora Flack studied at the University of Kassel for the
International Summer University 2010

Major: Professional Writing
Home University: University of Wisconsin-Platteville
“I cannot simply sum up my trip in one moment, for there were so many moments that simply took my breath away. I could tell you about the Hercules water show, or our trip to Berlin or Weimar. I could tell you about the new things we ate, or bought, or discovered purely by chance. I could tell you about the people, about the relationships, about the good and the bad that went with them. I cannot simply sum up into one moment an experience that has been life changing.”

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