June 15, 2023

McNair Scholars Perspectives: Making Connections while Abroad

McNair Scholars Perspectives: Making Connections while Abroad

Written by Ronisha Genwright (McNair Scholar)

Hallo(hello) everyone!

I have been studying at Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences in Schmalkalden, Germany for 2 months, and I have loved my experience working here! I am a Computer Science student at Francis Marion University, and as a student at Schmalkalden University I have been able to participate in a wide variety of courses. These include Personal Branding, Intercultural Business Communication, German Language A1.1, and a Collaborative Online International Learning Program (C.O.I.L) Design Thinking course. As a student in these courses, I have been able to connect with other international and exchange students at the university, as well as those students from Universidad Siglo 21 in Argentina and Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Colombia.

In my Personal Branding course at FH Schmalkalden University, taught by Catharina Wassink, we connected with students from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in the project for the Virtual Meeting for Cultural Exchange. I was able to serve as an ambassador for the United States along with the other students from Brazil, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Turkey, Sri Lanka, United States, Ukraine and Japan. As an ambassador for the United States, my teammates and I researched and gathered information on different aspects of the country’s economy and society including business culture, communication and negotiation elements, dress and appearance, political and economic issues, as well as information relating to the state of South Carolina. This information was presented in a document and PowerPoint presentation to share with the students in the class from other countries and the online discussion for the cultural exchange project.

The discussion was a great way for me to share facts about my country that helped students from around the world see how our countries were both alike and different. Additionally, the experience helped me learn about cultural awareness and network with other students. I am so excited to have been a part of this event and to have been able to exchange knowledge about the business culture and economy in our countries!

Apart from attending classes, I have had the opportunity to participate in numerous events and visit other places in and around Schmalkalden. Erfurt, Jena, Munich, Leipzig, Meiningen, Ramstein, and Kaiserslautern are some of the places I have visited while living in Germany. While visiting I got to participate in events like live concerts, operas, castle tours, parades, festivals, cooking programs, tours of well-known technology companies in Germany, and even a Medieval Festival.

Studying at Schmalkalden University in Germany has been such an amazing experience for me to be able to visit exciting places, participate in unique opportunities, and engage with students from around the world!