In early January, an airplane crossed the Atlantic from the U.S. to the E.U. carrying, among other passengers, Shannon Backes, a junior international business major from Augsburg. Another plane flew in the opposite direction bringing Timo Birkhold from Mosbach, Germany to Minneapolis. The two students have effectively traded places as each spends a semester abroad through the International Partners program.
Backes [pictured left] arrived in Mannheim, Germany on Jan. 13 to attend a two-week German language course at Mannheim University. Following that program, she moved to Mosbach, a small town about two hours from Frankfurt, to begin her studies at Berufsakademie Mosbach.
She is enrolled in a junior business program consisting of 11 one-week courses. “I am in a class of about 35 students, about 20 of which are international students from around the world,” she writes. “The others are Germans that attend the BA (Berufsakademie).”
Backes is sharing an apartment in the Mosbach town square (read more on her blog) with a female student from Finland and two male students from the UK and Hungary. She stayed with a host family for a week and says she was glad for the experience. “I learned a lot about German culture and food—I helped cook and ended up enjoying everything!”
Birkhold, [pictured right] who studies international trade at Berufsakademie, wanted to come to the U.S. to experience college life in a new environment. Though his school has partnerships with other U.S. colleges and universities, Birkhold chose Augsburg primarily because of its size. “At my school there are smaller classes like at Augsburg,” he said, “and I heard that I can live on campus.”
Though he is not a fan of the harsh Minnesota winter, Birkhold said he has been enjoying life in Minneapolis and at Augsburg. He has gone to the Mall of America, seen a Timberwolves game, and is participating in intramural sports including soccer.
Birkhold is taking general business courses this semester and says he has been impressed with the friendliness of Augsburg faculty, staff, and students. “I feel like the they care about me.”