FDU Magazine Online Summer/Fall 2014 : Page 24
Crossing Continents for Global Adventure Partnership Facilitates Student Exchange with Germany airleigh Dickinson offers an exciting range of study-abroad programs. Raul Chalen is a sophomore from FDU who, during the spring semester, studied at Zeppelin University (ZU) in Germany, one of FDU’s partner institutions. Tobias Lauter, a 23-year-old management and economics student born and raised in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is a student from Zeppelin Univer-sity who traveled to FDU’s Metropolitan Campus for the fall semester. The following are their impressions of studying across the great Atlantic. 24 FDU MAGAZINE P H OTO G R A P H : J ACQ U E L I N E S C H M I D/ D R E A M ST I M E n Crossing Lake Constance with a view of the Alps
FDU Partnership With Zeppelin University
Partnership Facilitates Student Exchange with Germany
Fairleigh Dickinson offers an exciting range of study-abroad programs. Raul Chalen is a sophomore from FDU who, during the spring semester, studied at Zeppelin University (ZU) in Germany, one of FDU’s partner institutions.Tobias Lauter, a 23-year-old management and economics student born and raised in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is a student from Zeppelin University who traveled to FDU’s Metropolitan Campus for the fall semester. The following are their impressions of studying across the great Atlantic.
Postcard from Germany
By Raul Chalen
Finally it hit me when I arrived at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany; I was studying in a different country on the other side of the world. Looking at my surroundings, it was the small details that caught my eye. The signs were written in a different language, and the people walking past me were speaking foreign words. I said to myself, “Wow … I’m actually doing this!”
. I felt overwhelmed, excited and amazed. I was looking forward to spending the spring semester studying abroad and felt ready to see what kind of culture, people and lifestyle were in store for me.
. When I arrived at Zeppelin University’s front entrance, the buildings’ designs were far from what I’m used to seeing at FDU. The name of this campus is “Container Units,” because the buildings are actually made from containers. They are stacked on top of each other, and each floor has two to three classrooms.Even though this may sound uncommon, the whole idea and theme of the buildings gave the School a unique appearance. Since this campus is still under construction, there are only five buildings, each with its own theme.
As I walked through campus, I was greeted with smiles by almost every student walking past me. It made me feel at home right away and helped me to a great start. Later on, I was approached by the student residents, who were kind enough to take me to the dormitory, where I settled and got things ready for my first organized outing for international students — a trip to the city of Lindau.
The next day, I headed into Friedrichshafen to meet up with the other international students from throughout Europe.The streets are cobblestone, and wherever you look there are bakeries filled with fresh bread and pastries. Eventually, I arrived at the harbor, from where we would take a ferry to Lindau. Even with everyone speaking different languages, we all managed to get along and set off for Lindau. Once we arrived, we chose to walk the streets to see the town’s scenery.We stopped to watch street performers. It was a sight to see the dancers, the music, the statue people; and it was a wonderful, memorable thing to watch with great new friends. After an evening at the park talking, laughing and getting to know one another, we headed over to a hotel for the night.
Heading back to the university the next morning, I knew I was in for an experience that I would never forget. One of the things I noticed is the way the curriculum is taught. Students have more independent time to work on their schoolwork.Classes aren’t taught with books, but based on lectures by the professors.Lectures last one hour, and classes meet up to three times a week. Here the homework is more flexible, and projects are self taught.Students must be independent in finding out how or what to say in their projects. Professors give no guidelines, just a topic; and it’s up to the students to figure out the rest. This way, we are learning not only by ourselves, but also from our peers. We have two months to prepare, talk and do our studies with our groups.
This experience helped me expand my mind to be more kind and open-minded to new cultures. My time abroad gave me the opportunity to meet new friends, build bonds that won’t break and, most importantly, have a story to tell about Germany. This was the best thing that has happened to me, because it also taught me how to be independent.
Not only that, the culture has helped me become a better person, because I now understand how people feel about being in a foreign country. Now I understand how the international students feel back at FDU. Becoming a foreign student has helped me grow and expand on ideas I never knew I had.
The reason I chose Germany was mainly my interest in the German automotive industry. Cars have always been my passion — working, tinkering and finding new ways to improve or bring the full potential out of a car is what I love to do. Even though those were my intentions in the beginning,After studying at Zeppelin, I became more interested in business, and I plan to change my major.
I’m glad I went to Germany, made friends and had these experiences. After exams, I traveled more in Germany to connect better with the culture before going back to the culture I know.
Postcard from New Jersey
By Tobias Lauter
Before traveling to FDU, I had the opportunity to participate in a pupil’s exchange in 2007 at Delbarton School in Morristown, N. J. I enjoyed this experience, especially the open and positive mentality of the people, and I decided I would come back one day. It would help improve my English skills.
. My trip to FDU gave me the opportunity to meet many interesting people from countries all over the world. The breadth of nationalities and cultures represented there was really impressive. It is a great experience to leave everything behind and to start all over again in an unknown environment and a new society.
. During my time at FDU, I took the course Securities and Investments, in which I learned the valuation criteria for bonds and how to create and calculate the outcome of synthetics. I studied those things by reading the book the teacher recommended in class. Another good experience was the class International Trade, in which I had good discussions with the professor.
. Classes at FDU are taught differently than in Germany. One Has to attend classes, take quizzes and do a lot of homework. At German universities nobody cares how you learn, as long as you pass the exam in the end. In Germany, a student has to be more responsible and autonomous. Another big difference is the integration of sports into the University. It was a nice experience to watch FDU’s basketball team play on TV. At ZU, I do not participate in any clubs or anything comparable; but at FDU, I lived on campus and went to events like soccer and basketball.
One of the things I enjoyed most at FDU is the fact that there are so many different fields of study, so that one meets many more diverse people than at Zeppelin University. At ZU there are basically three disciplines one can study (there is a fourth, but it is a combination of the others), and the people there are very similar and tend to think and talk very alike.
I attend Zeppelin University because the faculty utilizes the Humboldt approach to teaching, which brings together teaching and research. Another reason I chose ZU was the small class size. Public German universities are overcrowded, due to factors like changes in the high-school system and the abolishment of military-service requirements. Public universities are free; while ZU is a private university that requires students to pay tuition. I am living at home to save money.
Upon my return to Zeppelin, I will conduct a one-year research project about a seasonal anomaly of the capital market.I plan to learn how to play the piano, and I want to read more. I plan to focus more on what is important and to be more honest with myself and other people. I also plan to visit the children I took care of when I did my alternative service and share my experiences with them.
I can’t wait to enjoy German bread — especially the bread specialties from my region, drive my car and spend time with my friends again.