Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012
Since April, Emma Lowenberg '13 has been studying abroad at the Universit ät Tübingen in Germany, taking classes in German history, language and grammar. By the end of her experience in August, she is expected to complete a final thesis written in German on a topic of her choice.
"My favorite class thus far is a seminar on integration policies and social issues effecting German-Muslim immigrants. It is a discussion-based course and it can be challenging to muster up the confidence to speak up in a class taught entirely in German," says Lowenberg, who is able to speak at a near-native level of fluency. In preparation, Lowenberg took a language-intensive German class at HWS in addition to two courses she completed while abroad.
In Tübingen, Lowenberg lives on campus in a dorm and shares a common living space with 15 other international students. During her down time, Lowenberg says she enjoys taking in the local flair of southern Germany while spending time with friends at the local restaurants, shops and pubs. Her biggest shock has come from stores being closed on Sundays. "There is literally nothing to do on these days except relax!" she says.
So far, Lowenberg has been fascinated by the foreign educational system. Unlike the rising cost of public universities in the United States, she says that government subsidies make it possible for German students to access a free university education. Additionally, students receive stipends that cover most of the expenses of books, room and board.
As a foreign student, Lowenberg has found opportunities to see the culture. Once a week, she travels to the home of a local family to teach and speak English with a mother and her two sons. The time together includes playing games, reading books and answering any questions they might have.
Lowenberg says it's a learning experience, witnessing the dynamics of a German family. She also records English phrases for a local woman who is developing English language-learning software.
She is one of eight students studying this summer in Germany with support from the Julius G. Blocker '53 Endowed Fellowship. On campus, Lowenberg is a member of the HWS Debate Team. Last summer she worked in Harrisburg, Pa., interning with the Keystone Research Center.