Franziska Landes (Class of ’11) from the USA and Germany, studying Earth and Space Sciences
Although I have not attended any other universities previously, after graduating from high school in Norman, Oklahoma, I took a year off to do an exchange program in Argentina. This was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend everyone to do an exchange program.What is your international background?
Tricky question =) I was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, and although I spent most of my life there, I would always consider myself at least half German. My parents are both German, and at home we always spoke German. This was always prominent in my life: we ate German food at German hours (8 pm) and celebrated all the German holidays the German way, however, I could never deny that I went to an American high school, and my friends and social life was very American (which does not equate to MTV nor the movies, I might add =D)
How did you hear about Jacobs University and why have you chosen to study here?
I actually found out about Jacobs University in the back of an ACT booklet. I was flipping through all the possible schools, when I suddenly stumbled upon international schools in Germany. Out of the options, Jacobs was the only one which was truly an international university, and not another American university in a European country. What really attracted me to this university was its diversity, and its transdisciplinarity, and that it was a campus university where I did have the chance to take courses in fields other than my major. Of course, growing up with a prevalent German heritage, I did want to be able to go back and live in my second home.
What is your major and why have you chosen this field of study?
Is there a particular subject within this field which you find especially fascinating? My major is Earth and Space Sciences, with a concentration on the Environment and Resources. I really wanted to study Environmental Studies or Environmental Engineering, or Environmental and Development Studies, and this was what fit best.
Why do you think a student who is interested in your major might choose Jacobs University?
Yes! And I really hope they do =) I think the Earth and Space Science programs is one of the best we have at Jacobs University. Not only because of the wonderful excursions, but also because of the spirit for our major, and absolutely wonderful faculty support. What really impressed me is that our professors met with us during the Orientation Week to discuss the classes we should take and what our different options were. This great professor-student connection continues throughout the whole year in the bi-weekly coffee corners where you get the chance to plan trips and events for our major, as well as just have a cup of coffee and discuss the latest campus or scientific news with your professors.
Which special features/differences do you see in your classes in comparison with other institutions (schools or universities) where you may have studied previously?
The class sizes are small. Yes, in some of the general first year lectures and USC´s you can have 50 – 100 people, but this year, all my mandatory classes are 6 – 15 people.
If you have already had this opportunity, please tell us more about any internships/practical work experience.
I was able to do an internship in Bremerhaven at the Alfred-Wegner Institute. It was a wonderful learning experience and it´s great Jacobs has this connection with this research institute as it opens many doors of opportunity.
What are your general or specific career goals?
Career goals? I am not quite sure, but I think I would like to work in a NGO, or a volunteer organization that combines environmental issues on a social, community level.
What do you like best about the campus or colleges?
The people! I am a firm believer that you can always learn something from anyone, and its incredible the amazing resource of experiences we have here. You can find someone who has done almost anything, and you can talk to people first hand about how life and traditions are in another part of the world. You never know what you may discover over a dinner or lunch conversation.
1st impressions of the university?
Gray. Rainy. Empty. This quickly changed when I came during O-week. Excited to meet new people, many of us freshmen found ourselves saying hi to anyone we met or passed by. The welcome barbeque painted a perfect picture of enthusiasm for what would happen in the year to come.
What are you passionate about beyond university extracurriculars?
My friends and family and the wonderful people who have made a strong impression or impact in my life. I wish I had more time to devote to each of them.
What 5 adjectives describe you?
Optimistic, cheerful, motivated, probably-attempting-too-many things, a 5-year-old in disguise.
What do you seek for in your university life?
To never stop learning. As a person who believes whole-heartedly in the chance to learn something new from every person or situation one encounters, Jacobs University is the perfect environment to do this. You won´t believe the stories your neighbour can recount or the lessons you´ll learn by participating in a club or other activity. Life needs to be balanced, and along with academic devotion, time must also be taken to challenge creativity and take care of one´s physical and mental health.
What do you do for relaxation/recreation?
I absolutely love to go biking. One of the first things I did here was to make sure I got a bicycle. Of course I love spending time with my friends, drinking some tea, and listening to guitar. Other than that, I enjoy playing frisbee, and if the weather is nice nothing is better than going to the river Lesum or Knoops Park with friends in the morning, afternoon, or for a picnic.
Which clubs or activities do you do on campus and why those?
My main clubs and activities are the Environmental Club, and the Undergraduate Student Parliament. Environmental issues really are my passion, and I believe there is a tremendous amount of improvement we can do which is vital if Jacobs wants to prepare the global leaders of tomorrow. Generally, I volunteer here and there. I am inspired by what clubs can do, and believe social volunteering should play a more active role.
What kinds of tips would you give to someone coming to Jacobs University from your home region?
If someone from Oklahoma were to come here, I would suggest to come with an open mind and be prepared to expect the unexpected. At this truly international university, there will be many new ideas and views to consider and incorporate into your view of the world. Also, don´t be surpirsed , everyone will pick you out as an American right away. As to course work: don´t overload yourself the first semester, you will soon learn that our high school education has some significant disadvantages to some of the schools from other countries.
Is there any fun fact you wish you knew before you came to Jacobs University?
That I would have to kiss a duck =).
What are your expectations about yourself and the university in your remaining time here?
My expectations are to do well in academia, not for the GPA, but for my personal gain of knowledge and growth, while remembering that life lessons are also learned outside of the classroom and to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity we have here to learn from people from all over the world.
Describe one memorable experience you had here on campus.
The best was probably when my friends threw me a surprise birthday party on campus green! It was absolutely wonderful and we spent the evening playing Frisbee, eating a delicious cake, and then playing guitars. It was great to know you could find people you match with so well, and who understood you enough to give you exactly what you wanted for your birthday.
Tell us an important lesson or maybe an epiphany you may have during your time here.
Life is what you make of it!