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Dartmouth maintains several exchanges with German universities. The Thayer School of Engineering has a partnership with the Universität der Bundeswehr in Hamburg. The two fellows coming to Hanover are Alexander Laschkow und Alexander Lauffs.
The College’s German-American Exchange is an arrangement between German Studies and the Federation of German-American Clubs that has existed since 1968 and sent 41 students in each direction. The German Fellow in 2015-16 will be Yvonne Daichendt from Leutershausen (near Ansbach), who majors in Psychology at the University of Erlangen.
No Dartmouth student is scheduled for the exchange for the coming year, but in 2014-5, there were two: Kristopher Jorgenson ’16 and Sandy Fox ’16. The normal stay is for a full academic year, but by special arrangement, Kristo spent just the Wintersemester pursuing engineering at the Technical University of Berlin. During that time he also managed to found a cross-Atlantic software start-up. Sandy, on the other hand, spent the year studying Linguistics at the University of Munich. She reports: “I was excited to be placed in Munich, and I quickly felt at home there because of how international and livable the city is. I lived on the edge of the English Garden and grew attached to it as well as different spots within the city center. Whenever I came back to Munich after seeing another city I felt as if I were home. The academic system and courses were tougher to get used to, but looking back on the two semesters I see the skills and confidence that I’ve gained. I’m convinced I’ll never again be nervous to give a presentation in English because of how much I agonized over ones in German. This year has given me focus and ambition that I didn’t have before. The VDAC gave us so much support and advice throughout the year, that I never felt as if I had to deal completely on my own in Germany. I feel lucky to have met so many interesting people, both German and international. As a naturally reserved person I was surprised to find that I missed American friendliness, but there were ways in which the people I met drew me out of my shyness as well. The reflection that comes with these types of conversations has made me realize that I want German in my life in some serious way, whether through a job or by keeping up with a network of people. I’d hate to lose that window into the culture I’ve grown closer to.”
Michael Beechert ’16 and Danny Reitsch ’16, after participating in the Fall FSP, interned in the Bundestag during the spring term.
Michael reports on his experience, “My internship was in the Committee for European Union Affairs. Between the goings-on in Greece, Ukraine, and other places, the Spring of 2015 was an interesting time to be in the Bundestag. Most of my responsibilities were research related; I was asked to look into, for example, issues surrounding the British election, EU expansion, and Russian influence in the eastern part of the EU in order to prepare written memorandums or brief verbal reports. During ‘Sitzungswochen’ I was able to observe numerous briefings, meetings, and conversations as well as the regular meetings of the committee, many of which concerned confidential material. I met four European Commissioners, a couple heads of national parliaments, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and the current US Ambassador to Germany, among other public officials.”
And Danny adds, “Combine a war in Ukraine, the Greek debt crisis and a host of new taxes and market regulations and I couldn't have asked for better timing to work for the Finance Subcommittee of the Bundestag. As an economics major and German minor, I found this past spring to be hands-down the most intellectually stimulating as well as the most fun term of my Dartmouth career. Courtesy of the generous German taxpayers, the parliament workers have a very nice life — working 9-5, with 5 weeks of vacation and a juicy pension — it's a wonder that the country doesn't find itself in a debt crisis of its own. But when the Germans work, they really work. Seeing how the powerhouse of Europe works on a daily basis and makes decisions in the midst of several large international crises made me excited to walk into work every morning. I want to thank the German Department for helping me achieve this milestone experience in my education, career and personal development.”
The interns in 2016 will be Elaine Chiu ’17 and Jack Mourouzis ’18.
Dartmouth offers two paid internships each year for students interested in pursuing scientific research: at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried, outside of Munich, and at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena. Last year’s interns were Dale Clement ’17 (Jena) and Alex Buteel ’16 (Martinsried). Alex reported in on his experience: “The brain of a fruit fly looks like white lint and can sit comfortably on the head of a pin. It has about two hundred-thousand neurons and hundreds of distinct regions and subregions. And it, strangely enough, is able to learn, adapt to new environments, and change its preferences depending on things like hunger and thirst. How? This is a tough question, but turns out to be tractable. During my internship at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology I had the privilege of working on a team that is helping to remove some mystery from the workings of the fly brain neuron-by-neuron. I was introduced to many of the barrage of tools available for demystification, including thermogenetics, electrophysiology, and behavior assays. I met a bunch of devoted, intelligent people and was able to carry out a small project from start to finish. To top it all off, my data was included in a study about to be published in Current Biology.
“I also shopped at Penny. I got to know the owners of the local Stüber’l. I spent many hours searching for recognizable German among the sing-song and mysterious consonants of the Bavarian dialect. In many ways in was a much more normal German experience than I had on my FSP. By that I mean I went to work every day, took day trips out to Andechs or into the Pinakotheken, shopped, exercised and socialized as just another German (albeit with a funny-sounding accent). I was independent and engaged in interesting work.”
Through the efforts of Professor Petra McGillen and Marcel Lepper, director of the research division of the German Literature Archive (Deutsches Literaturarchiv DLA) in Marbach, Dartmouth students now have two one-term internships annually available at the DLA, which is one of Europe's leading cultural and literary institutions. Jack Sullivan ’16 reported during his 3-month internship last winter, “My time in Marbach has been consistently gratifying as it's given me the opportunity to continually learn new things, not just about German literature and culture, but about the business of a modern archive and its role in society as well. I've found all the assignments I've been given to be intellectually engaging and I get the sense that the Mitarbeiter here appreciate my work and take my input seriously.”
Maia Salholz-Hillel ’15 was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Berlin in the neuroscience of decision-making. Although a major in neuroscience and romance languages, working as a drill instructor for French and Spanish, Maia participated on the Berlin LSA, took further advanced courses, and served as president of the German Club. In recognition of her contributions to the department, she received the German Consulate Award.
Trevelyan Wing ’14, who spent 2012-13 in Bonn on the German-Dartmouth Exchange, was offered a DAAD to study European Union environmental policy in Berlin but chose to accept a Reynolds Scholarship that will allow him to pursue a master’s of science program in environmental change and management at Oxford University.
Although Rhodes Scholar Miriam Kilimo ’14 majored in Anthropology, the German Studies department feels some proprietary pride in her achievement, since, after arriving at Dartmouth with advancement placement in German, she took several further courses and participated in the Berlin FSP.