Foreign Exchange Students at Piedmont

JULIANNE AUSTIN Contributing Writer

This year, Piedmont College is the home of two new students from Paderborn, Germany. Jacky Linnemann and Jan Weseloh are excited to be in the United States for the first time. They came from Paderborn University, which is near the city of Münster, Germany.

Linneman is a 24-year-old English Education major who has always wanted to come to the United States at least once in her life with an objective to see how people live overseas. Another one of her goals is to visit all of the continents and so far she has been to three, with just four more to go.

Although a trip or holiday visit to the States would have been a fun alternative, she chose to go on a year-long study abroad trip to give her a chance to experience the American lifestyle beyond the tourism and vacation destinations. Her family has always supported her and is very happy that she has this opportunity to experience her own personal American Dream.

Linneman said that her first impression upon entering the United States was that it was too hot here. However, she said that she is looking forward to getting in touch with the American culture, including “going to baseball games because I really love baseball and softball,” she said. “I definitely want to be a part of the society and try my best to become integrated into it.”

According to Linneman, it is difficult for her to distinguish the differences between Piedmont College and Paderborn University. Several features at Piedmont College have reminded her of traditional college activities back home such as meeting new people and working hard to get good grades. Piedmont College, similar to the University of Paderborn, offers a wide range of courses, sport clubs and both have got a fitness center.

“Piedmont College is a very small college in contrast to the University of Paderborn,” said Linneman. “I really like the seminars, because they are not as crowded as the one I took in Paderborn. Nearly everyone is taking care of me and treats me like a princess. At Piedmont College you are not simply a number, but rather a student, and most of the people here know me by name although I often have difficulty remembering theirs.”

When asked about her goals, Linneman said, “I really want to make new lifelong friendships. I hope I can visit multiple states to compare them with Georgia’s culture. I also want to be successful in my studies and try my best to do so.”

Jan Weseloh, a 22-year-old German exchange student, is also excited about his Piedmont College experience.  He said, “I am going to spend two semesters at Piedmont College and my “Major” – as you call it – is Educational Studies. Basically I am studying to become a teacher in Religion Studies and English for students from grades 5th until 12th.”

He came to the United States for several reasons. One reason was because he sees America as a place with a lot of opportunities and he feels that it’s a country that follows values in which he agrees with.  But, he also wanted to form his own opinion about this country.

“A common worldwide problem these days is that we judge other people, other communities and even other countries on how we are told it is,” he said. “So I decided to go and make up my own mind without any prejudice, and here I am.”

Weseloh compares the student life at Piedmont to be very different than that of Germany’s universities. For example, dorm life and every student having their own car is unusual for German students. He also enjoys the class sizes at Piedmont.

“The class size is clearly arranged so you can actively be part of the sessions,” he said. “From what I can say right now, the people – students and teachers and all the workers here at the college – are friendly, obliging and they care about you.”

Weseloh’s family is very supportive of him attending Piedmont for a year abroad. He said that some of them plan to come for a visit over the winter holidays.

Weseloh is excited to be here and see what Piedmont has to offer him. He is looking forward to learning about the culture in Georgia but also throughout the U.S.

“Another ambition of mine is that I hope to travel to some other places within the States outside of Georgia and to see how the country differs among the different regions,” he said. “I am aware that this is a special opportunity, do not want to take it for granted and will try to make the best out of it.”