Interview with German Students

Exchange Students
Frankly Speaking

The following are excerpts from Student Affairs’ interview with Olin German exchange students Felix Eberhardt and Christian Lichter. Both students’ home institution is OTH Regensburg – University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg, Germany.

Tell us a bit about how you found Olin and why you wanted to study here?

Christian: I was very interested in Olin because of its project-based approach to learning.
Felix: I always wanted to study abroad in the US. Luckily OTH Regensburg had a partnership with such a great institution like Olin which made the application process much easier. Because of this, I decided to come to Olin without the slightest hesitation.

Can you tell us about your academic experience at Olin?

Christian: In general I am very pleased with the academic experience although it is more time- consuming than at Regensburg. It’s a much more informal learning atmosphere.
Felix: It’s a very different experience. At Regensburg, there are over 11,000 students in the University of Applied Sciences and another 23,000 in other faculties at the university. If you have a question about an assignment, you would never call the professor as you might at Olin. It’s a lot more formal and we don’t call our professors by their first names.

Can you tell us about life outside the classroom?

Christian: I look forward to rock climbing in the US. There are several students at Olin who do it regularly. I enjoy hiking and rock climbing at home in Germany. Regensburg is close to the Alps.
Felix: I play on the club basketball team at Babson and we have a lot of competitive games. At home in Regensburg, I play semi-pro basketball every weekend.

When you think about why you came to the US to study, have you achieved what you set out to do?

Christian: Yes, I had always wanted to study in the US to broaden my perspective and build my global resume. I was motivated to pursue this because of my apprenticeship in software engineering at a hospital in Germany.
Felix: I am hoping to improve my English while I am here as well as gain a new perspective on technical problem sets. That is my goal.

What do you miss most about German culture now that you’ve been here for 3 months?

Christian and Felix: Freshly baked bread, or brot in German!

Students who study abroad often talk about a point in time when they changed. For some, it’s about feeling comfortable speaking a new language. For others, it’s feeling immersed in the culture of their host country, and enjoying their new home. Can you pick out one moment during the semester that was a turning point for you and your time here at Olin?

Christian: That was not the case for me. I have been enjoying it here since the first day I arrived.
Felix: I felt comfortable from the first day at Olin. The hardest part, in the beginning, was meeting so many new people and getting to know them, but everyone was really friendly and always tried to include me as much as possible. I made some really good friends very quickly who took care of me and helped me find my way in a new university in a foreign country.

Could you describe a “low point” or what has been most difficult during your time at Olin?

Christian: I got sick and had to go back and forth to the health services center for medication.
Felix: Missing my family and my girlfriend, but they are coming to visit me for Thanksgiving break.

Is there something about German culture or language that you would like to share with your fellow Olin classmates?

Christian and Felix: If you visit Bavaria, where Regensburg is, servus (pronounced zair wus) means hello and goodbye.

Would you encourage your classmates to spend a semester at Regensburg or to visit you?

Christian: Yes, definitely. There are three rivers flowing through the town, one of them is called Regen which gave Regensburg its name. Also around Regensburg, there are a lot of climbing rocks. And public transportation is very good; the bus comes every 10 minutes and you can get anywhere in or near the city very easily.
Felix: Definitely! Try and go in the spring or summer (April to August are the best months). Regensburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany (2500 years old). This UNESCO World Heritage city is filled with young people (35,000 students among its 160,000 inhabitants). There are lots of good (and, compared to Boston, cheap) restaurants and beer gardens. Many big companies (BMW, Audi, Siemens, Continental, and Krones to name a few) have offices in Regensburg. If you’re into soccer, Jahn Regensburg plays in the German second division. Other big cities in Germany are easily (and cheaply) accessible from Regensburg by public transportation: Munich (1.5 hrs), Prague (3 hrs), Vienna (4 hrs), and Berlin (5 hrs).

Drawing by Hadleigh Nunes

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