Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

The demands of pursuing chemical engineering and international studies majors aren’t keeping Trustee Scholar Carina Fritsche ’07 (Columbia, Mo.) from studying abroad this semester.

After participating in the McKelvy House Scholars program last fall, Fritsche has joined a dozen other Lafayette students at International University Bremen (IUB) in Germany through a study abroad program led by Rado Pribic, Edwin Williams Professor of Languages and chair of the international affairs and Russian and Eastern European studies programs.

The private, English-language institution emphasizes interdisciplinary studies in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. With a high-tech focus, it has modern facilities for disciplines ranging from genetics to robotics to oceanography.

Fritsche, who also will spend the summer in Germany conducting research, is taking German Civilization and Culture, taught by Pribic, and three classes taught by IUB faculty: Political Movements and Systems in Modern and Contemporary History, German Language, and German Literature, a course developed specifically to meet the Lafayette students’ request for further German instruction; it meets more frequently than regular IUB classes.

Rounding out her schedule is an independent study, Differential Equations, guided by William Hornfeck, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who is leading Lafayette’s study abroad program in Brussels this semester.

The German Civilization and Culture course includes travel every other weekend; destinations thus far have included Berlin (twice), Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, and Amsterdam. With a travel agent on campus, students also have been taking excursions all over Europe during their free time as well, says Pribic. Fritsche, for example, has visited Prague, Brussels, Milan, London, and Mallorca.

When they’re not exploring, the students live in residence halls. Each student has a host family that provides support.

“Every time I return to campus from spending time with my host family, I feel so much more comfortable with speaking German,” says Fritsche. “When I’m with them, I can work on improving things that aren’t focused on in the classroom, for example, colloquialisms, speed of conversation, understanding the northern German accent.”

But the IUB experience is not only a German one, says Pribic — it is international as well. One of his classes has students from 30 different nations. IUB has a melting pot of cultures, with only a quarter of the students hailing from Germany and 10 percent from the United States. Other countries represented include Ghana, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Turkey, China, Nepal, and India.

“People bring entirely different perspectives,” says Fritsche. “For example, in my Political Movements and Systems in Modern and Contemporary History course, we were discussing the development of the communist theory of government when a student mentioned that he had never actually learned anything about communism in class prior to college because his country at that time was still undergoing post-communism restoration, and communism was a taboo topic for schools to discuss. That comment led to an interesting discussion about the censoring of history and possible global repercussions.”

Fritsche took advantage of this multinational perspective when writing an essay about prostitution for the upcoming McKelvy Papers.

“I gathered opinions from the student body and took their thoughts into account while writing and researching the paper, trying to get rid of any blatant American bias I unintentionally have,” she explains.

Outside intellectual pursuits, Fritsche has been delighted by opportunities to travel on bicycle.

“Europe is full of bikes, bike lanes, and tons of cyclists,” she says. “It’s wonderful! If only the U.S. was this bike friendly. On that theme as well, cars here are nice and small and fuel efficient. And in Germany at least, every single public trash can has a recycling bin attached and people actually use it correctly. It’s wonderful to see such a wide-scale recycling system actually working properly.”

As if pursuing two degrees wasn’t enough, before traveling to Germany, Fritsche’s extra-curricular activities included serving on the executive boards of Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection and the Outdoors Club; competing on the Ultimate Frisbee team; playing French horn in the Pep Band, Concert Band, and Small Wind Ensembles; serving as an editor for The Reactor, the newsletter of the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, to which she belongs; tutoring chemistry and calculus students through the Academic Resource Center; and actively participating in German Club and Students for Social Justice.

Other Lafayette students in the program are civil engineering major Benjamin Flath ’07 (Scotch Plains, N.J.); Trustee Scholar Kristin Henry ’06 (East Earl, Pa.), a neuroscience major; Simon Scholar Milos Jovanovic ’07(Belgrade, Yugoslavia), a history major; Vijay Krishnan ’07 (Maharashtra, India), a double major in international affairs and economics & business; Daniel Martini ’07 (Chappaqua, N.Y.), a double major in international affairs and French; Marquis Scholar Kari Mirkin ’06 (Youngstown, Ohio), a double major in history and German; geology major Cailyn Nichol ’06 (Randolph, N.J.); Claire Retterer ’06 (Lititz, Pa.), a double major in philosophy and mathematics; Kristin Rhebergen ’06(Hopewell, N.J.), a double major in international affairs and German; philosophy major Nicholas Scopelliti ’06 (Throop, Pa.); Kristin Tull ’06 (Sicklerville, N.J.), a double major in A.B. engineering and international affairs; and mechanical engineering major Peter Wells ’06 (Mason, N.H.).

IUB is located in a suburb of a city with 650,000 residents. Unlike most European universities, it has a campus, offering amenities such as a swimming pool and a gymnasium. Founded in 1999 by University of Bremen and Rice University, it is accredited by both European and American agencies.

Lafayette students in the program pay the College’s tuition rate, with transportation to and from the university included. Expenses also are covered for field trips every other weekend to various cities in German-speaking Europe.

Lafayette students at IUB learn about the European Union and Germany — its politics, history, economics, and arts. In addition to teaching classes specifically for Lafayette students, Pribic is teaching 20th Century European Dictatorship, which is available for all students enrolled at the university.

Categorized in: Academic News