Penn College Students to Study in Germany for Fall Semester
By Mindy Johnston College Information & Community Relations Intern
Eight students from Pennsylvania College of Technology will travel to W'rg, Germany, for a semester-long exchange program this fall.
W'rg, a town of 127,000 in Northcentral Bavaria, is about 2 1/2 hours from Munich by train. The students will attend the W'rg University of Applied Sciences, a technical college. Approximately 2,500 students are enrolled at the main campus, as well as approximately 125 foreign-exchange students.
Students pay Penn College tuition for 15 credits. Housing efficiency type apartments for one or two people is available in dormitories located near the campus. Students can eat at the local student cafeteria or prepare their own meals.
The W'rg program was established to attract students in business majors and concentrations, but all students are eligible to participate. Students must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average, obtain a recommendation from a Penn College faculty member and submit an essay.
The participants may study international management, German language courses, or other independent research projects that are designed to meet specific needs.
Although knowledge of the language, culture, politics and geography of the country is not required, those assets would benefit any student taking the trip. Students are required to take a two-week German-survival course when they arrive in the country. The W'rg students will begin their orientation Sept. 15 and return the third week of December.
The College's goals for the program include: exposing students to foreign cultures and academic courses; offering students an opportunity to live in a foreign culture; allowing students the opportunity to learn a foreign language in a native-speaking country; having German and other foreign students attend Penn College, which exposes them to a different culture and ideas, both academically and socially; and broadening educational and professional opportunities for all parties involved.
Although each student's experience will be different, most students will gain from the trip an awareness that others view the world differently. According to Anita E. Casper, Penn College's international programs specialist, students also benefit from increased intercultural sensitivity and awareness, academic stimulation, the ability to speak another language, confidence gained from navigating successfully in another culture, exposure to different ways of doing things and international ideas, and a broadened life perspective. Many career, academic, and personal opportunities open up for the students, as well, she said.
Most of all, the exchange students seem to enjoy experiencing other cultures, meeting people from overseas, and traveling.
Justin G. Treher, a Computer Information Technology-Data Communications and Networking Concentration student who graduated in May, traveled to Germany in the fall of 2001. Treher said of that experience: "My eyes see a completely different view of the world now. I left the comforts of home to explore areas that are normally so heavily filtered through the media that Americans can have no valid perception of them. Only personal experience can give one insight. ... It is humbling to know who is in the world we share, and what it means to belong to another culture."
Lisa M. Kemmerer, a Legal Assistant/Paralegal Studies student from South Williamsport, felt it was one of the most profound experiences of her life, which includes having a family and children.
The College offers many other Study Abroad programs. In March, there will be a short-term exchange in Toluca, Mexico, at the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey campus.
There will be a one-week tour of Italy over Christmas break to study art history. In 2004, students will be able to study biology and medical terminology in Costa Rica. The two-week trip will embark in late July. A short-term exchange program to Tsuyama National College of Technology in Japan is projected for May 2004, and a semester experience in Australia also is available. To participate in most short-term programs, a 2.0 GPA is required.