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My Experience as an International Exchange Student at UNCG
By Jan Phillip Hofste, International Exchange Student from Germany, 2012-13
My name is Jan Phillip Hofste, and I am an international exchange student from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Leaving friends and family behind to study in a foreign country thousands of miles away from home can be scary at first, but thanks to the great organization and support of the IPC team, I felt welcome in Greensboro right away.
While I am majoring in Business Engineering at my home university, I am concentrating on Business Administration during my year abroad here at UNCG. The courses I have taken so far have been very focused on practical application, and thanks to several team projects, I feel like I am well prepared to enter the business field after I graduate. I am currently working on an interesting team project with three other students for my International Marketing class. For this particular assignment, we have been in contact with bottle manufacturers in Brazil to market bottle handles that are produced in North Carolina.
One of the highlights of my exchange experience so far was presenting my country at Peeler Open Elementary School, located in eastern Greensboro. On November 8, 2012, fellow exchange student Katharina von Dessien (Tuebingen University, Germany, Fall 2012) and I were given the opportunity to talk to kindergarten and first grade students about German life and culture, including our cities, castles, food, and cars. This was the first time I had ever worked with elementary school students, and I was very glad to see how eager they were to participate. To help engage with the students, we decided to end the presentation with a game inspired by the German children’s game show 1, 2 oder 3. We asked a question, provided three possible answers, and the students had to guess the right answer by jumping on one of three areas marked on the floor. We all had a great time, and we were able to give the students German Gummi Bears as prizes to take back home.
So far, my time at UNCG has definitely broadened my horizons, and I have learned a lot about American culture. Meeting other international students has also introduced me to a lot of fascinating cultures, and I have been able to learn a lot about what living in different countries around the world can be like. The last seven months in the United States have helped me grow both personally and academically, and I have become much more independent and self-confident. Overall, my year abroad has been a very unique and unforgettable experience.