Classic Signals: German students join the campus

By Elise Schoening
Features Editor

Every week, Features Editor Elise Schoening hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

Nearly a dozen Asian organization on campus came together this week for the College’s Asian Culture Night. The event showcased the varied experiences and cultures that encompass Asia. In 2004, a number of foreign exchange students traveled from Frankfurt, Germany to Ewing, N.J., for the academic year. The exchange students opened up about the differences between both nations.

At one point or another during their college careers, a great number of students feel the urge to leave behind everything they know and explore a little bit of the world. Since so many students at the College get caught up in going abroad to places like Spain or Australia for a semester, it might come as a surprise that there are foreign students who want to leave their countries behind for Ewing.

This semester, the College is hosting exchange students from a variety of different countries. The largest group though, is formed by the 12 students who will be visiting from the University of Frankfurt in Germany throughout the year.

Thorsten Klonus, 23, Afsaneh Majdazari, 23 and Denise Donnebaum, 21, are three of the College’s exchange students. When asked why they decided to study in the United States, an application process that begins a year and a half in advance, all said they believed they would gain a lot through the experience.

“I came here because I wanted to learn about a different culture, a different school system, I’m getting away from regular life, it’s like an adventure,” Majdazari, a biology major, said.

So far, the biggest change for the students has been settling into a school system that is so different from their own. According to Klonus, the German school system combines the undergraduate and graduate programs, into one giant program. For example, Majdazari is working towards a “diploma” that takes five years of schooling and would lead her into getting her doctorate and Donnebaum is working towards a German Master of Arts.

Besides this, there are many smaller differences. For example, classes are structured differently.

“Here college is your life. In Germany, you have life and then your studies. The university is just academic, not social,” added Donnebaum, an American studies major.

Speaking of the College community, the exchange students all feel like they’ve been welcomed with open arms. Everyone is curious to learn about the foreigners and their culture.