Interactive Map: Find a Young Ambassador near you

Meet our DAAD Young  Ambassadors! They are students  in North America who have studied abroad  in Germany and are happy to help by sharing their experiences with you and answering any questions your may have.  Use the interactive map above or the modules below to locate a Young  Ambassador near you.

Bates College
Boston University
Brock University
Carleton University
Case Western Reserve University
Concordia University
Dalhousie University
Florida State University
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Montana State University
Mount Royal University
Rice University
San Diego State University
The University of Iowa
The University of the South, Sewanee
Université de Montreal
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Central Florida
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Manitoba
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina, Greensboro
University of North Texas
University of Notre Dame
University of South Carolina
University of Waterloo
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
University of Wyoming
Vassar College
Washington and Lee University
Wichita State University


Alexander Alberts
Home University: University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
Major: German & Accounting & Finance
Program/University in Germany: Universität Frankfurt


Hello! My name is Alexander Alberts, I am a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and currently am finishing up the final year of my bachelor program at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. My majors are Accounting, Business Administration with two emphases in Finance and Business Analysis, as well as German. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of spending Summer 2018 abroad in Frankfurt, Germany, during an exchange semester at the Goethe Universität. As a fluent German speaker, I took on the challenge of taking courses exclusively in German, which definitely paid off for me in the end. This included coursework in Microeconomics, Computer Science, and Accounting. My lectures in Germany were much different than what I was used to at home, mainly due to the fact that each class had over 900 students. In many of them, I was one of a handful of people from outside of Germany, and even more seldom, outside of the European Union. I have always been extremely passionate about learning German and have embraced it in many parts of my life, from watching the news, films, and TV shows in German to reading the works of Goethe, Kafka, and Schiller in their original language, as well as leading our university’s German Club and tutoring German outside of school. My semester abroad truly changed my life and helped to solidify my desire to remain a lifelong learner and advocate of the German language. Besides the academics, my semester abroad also connected me with people from all across the world, many of whom I still have the privilege of calling some of my best friends. My goal in joining the DAAD Young Ambassador program is to acquire the skills necessary to be a strong resource for students looking to spend time in Germany, and ultimately to help them have a life-changing time abroad that they will cherish throughout their lives.

Iloe Ariss
Home University: Dalhousie University
Major: Contemporary Studies & German
Program/University in Germany: Universität Oldenburg


My name is Iloe Ariss and I attend the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have been studying Contemporary Philosophy and German Language for the past three years, and will be in the final year of my degree next year. I have been to Germany twice for educational purposes. The first time I went, in May 2018, I was participating in a course designed by a professor from my university and taught on site in Berlin. The course examined Berlin’s political history in light of World War II through memory theory, architectural theory, and personal accounts of the city. We visited various museums and memorial sites and tried to explore and problematize the many different kinds of memorials in Berlin. The course allowed me to become familiar with both historic and contemporary Berlin. Overall, it was a fantastic experience. My second foray into Germany led me further afield. This past May I spent three weeks doing research at the Hannah Arendt Archive at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany. Earlier in the year I had applied for a German Studies Research Grant from the DAAD, which provided me with funds for the trip. I spent many hours reading letters between Hannah Arendt, philosopher and political theorist, and her various correspondents. This experience allowed me to gain a further understanding of academic research as well as academic culture in Germany. Living in Oldenburg also expanded my understanding of German culture outside of the international city of Berlin. Both Oldenburg and Berlin are wonderful places to explore the vibrant life that exists in Germany.


Christina Caouette
Home University: Carleton University
Major: European, Russian and Eurasian Studies
Program/University in Germany: Freie Universität Berlin


My name is Christina Caouette and I study European Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. I was first introduced to German language and culture during a summer exchange at Freie Universität in Berlin. In addition to attending lectures, I spoke German daily with my host family and was able to learn about social topics in Germany throughout our interactions. At Freie Universität, I appreciated how my professors balanced academic learning with cultural exploration. By engaging in course materials outside of a classroom setting, I was able to put my oral and written comprehension to the test and further embrace German life through various study tours and talks. Since my positive experience studying in Berlin, I have continued to take language classes and wish to return to Germany in the future. As I am interested in a career in diplomacy, I believe developing my language skills is key to being an effective communicator with Canada’s counterparts overseas.

Sandra Carlo
Home University: Wichita State University
Majors: Women’s Studies & Dance
Program/University in Germany: Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR) Berlin


Hallo! My name is Sandra Carlo. I use both she/her and they/them pronouns. I am a current senior at Wichita State University pursuing an Honors Baccalaureate concentrated in Women’s Studies and Dance, as well as a Film Studies certificate. My emphasis is on how choreographed movement in film affects notions of sexuality in young people. Professionally, I am employed at a local non-profit called Positive Directions that provides free HIV testing and STI education in Wichita. During the spring/summer semester of 2018 I studied at Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR) Berlin (The Berlin School of Economics and Law). I took classes such as The Political System of the European Union, National and EU Business Law, Introduction to Social Research, and Intercultural Competence in HWR’s Law and Public Administration program. While on exchange I took advantage of travel opportunities, made amazing friends from all over the world, and researched what factors impacted the acculturation process of young refugees residing in Berlin. Studying in Germany was such a pivotal social and academic experience for me. It inspired me to dive deeper into research as well as travel abroad again—this time to Nairobi, Kenya! I am excited to have the resources to represent this opportunity and assist other students in their selection process. Over the course of the next year I plan to promote engaging programming and utilize cultural partnerships to best encourage students to explore whether study in Germany is the right fit for them. Tschüss!

Marianne Chartrand
Home University: Université de Montreal
Major: International Studies
Program/University in Germany: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


Servus! My name is Marianne and I studied Politikwissenschaft (Political Science) at LMU, Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität, for a semester. This was part of my second year of my International Studies Bachelor at the University of Montreal. Before studying in Germany I had already travelled there twice and especially in Munich, which is the reason I wanted to study there; the parks, the bike culture, the famous Isar River, the regional Bavarian expressions and the amazing Brezen were all elements that made me want to study there and start learning German. Before doing my exchange, I had studied German for a year and was starting to be able to understand a lot more. I made it a goal to only speak German when I was in contact with German speakers (even though most of them wanted to switch to English!) and that has really improved my language skills. There is no need to worry if you don’t speak German, even though it will make your life easier, most Germans speak very good English. Furthermore, the teaching style here is also different from what I was accustomed to back-home. The classes are smaller and there is more interaction between the students and the professor, which I appreciated a lot. Another big plus is that I didn’t experience any mid-term rush, which let me explore the country and its neighbors as well. Overall my semester was a great experience and I plan to return and keep learning German, but it still had its ups and downs. There are a lot of things I wished I knew before studying abroad in general and so if I can be of any help, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Grayson Christopher
Home University: The University of the South, Sewanee
Major: International and Global Studies
Program/University in Germany: IES Abroad European Union Program in Freiburg


Tag! My name is Grayson Christopher and I am a senior International and Global studies major and German minor at The University of the South: Sewanee. I spent the second half of my junior year studying International Relations and German Studies in Freiburg, Germany. I have a great interest in Germany history, culture, and language, as well as a love for traveling and the outdoors. Located in the Black Forest and an hour away from Basel Airport, Freiburg was the perfect spot for me! When I wasn’t in the classroom, I spent my time exploring other parts of Germany and Europe. My time abroad taught me that the lessons most valuable are those learnt outside the classroom. I’m always eager to talk about Germany’s language, culture, and history, and of course my time abroad there. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions!


Brandon Einstoss
Home University: San Diego State University
Major: International Security and Conflict Resolution & German
Program/University in Germany: Universität Tübingen; Universität Ulm


Grüß Gott! My name is Brandon Einstoss and I am a senior at San Diego State University double majoring in International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) and German. I spent my 2017 – 2018 school year studying at two universities: Universität Tübingen in the fall and Universität Ulm in the spring/summer. I went to Germany for multiple of reasons: First, the German language has always fascinated me, since my family history comes from Germany and I felt a sort of calling to learn a language that my ancestors spoke. I’ve also wanted to live in Europe for as long as I can remember. Something about Europe has always intrigued me. For example, the history and the food have always drawn my eye towards the continent. I eventually committed to the CSUIP: Learn German program, as it was the best program my school offered to learn the German language. When I got to Germany I had no idea how much I would grow as a person throughout my 13 months, and how much I would fall in love with the country. It changed my life so much it caused me to do a 180 on my studies from Mathematics to what I currently study now. When I graduate in May, I want to move back to Germany and find a job relating to anything international: From working with an airline, to working with international students at a study abroad office. I’m also working for a C1 German, as currently I have a B2 level and I learned most of the language in Germany. I hope during my time as a DAAD ambassador I get to try to influence many students to study in Germany but also get connections I need to help boost my career opportunities in Germany. Thank you DAAD for this amazing opportunity, it is my passion to share my experiences with other people and help others reach their study abroad goals.

Matthew Gill
Home University: Mount Royal University
Major: Geology
Program/University in Germany: GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences


Hello, I am Matthew Gill. I have recently returned home to Canada after spending three months in Germany. I am studying geology at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. My time in Germany was spent learning German at the Carl Duisburg Language School in Cologne as well as working on my research project in rock mechanics at the GFZ German Center for Geoscience Research. Participating in a language school gave me a good start in learning a new language as well as insight into German culture and practices, which made my stay much more comfortable. Being part of this program also helped me to meet other bachelor’s students from around North America as well as have a culturally enriching experience. I also worked at one of the world’s top research institutes for earth sciences and this allowed me to connect with many PhD and postgraduate researchers, which has given me insight into what I want to do in the future. As a DAAD ambassador I would encourage others to apply for this program so that they can have a similar experience to what I had. Feel free to connect with me as I am happy to share my experience in Germany and offer advice to others.

Ashley Hamlin
Home University: Boston University
Major: Electrical Engineering
Program/University in Germany: Technische Universität Dresden


Hello! My name is Ashley and I am a rising senior at Boston University majoring in Electrical Engineering. I studied abroad at the Technische Universität Dresden in the spring semester of my sophomore year. I did not plan to study abroad when I first began college. Even if I had, I was never planning to study abroad in Germany. However, as my schooling took me further through my sophomore year, I decided to apply on a whim. I was a small town girl who had never left home before going to college. Naturally, when it became time to leave, I was nervous and scared and frankly, wondering why I decided to spend five months with complete strangers halfway around the world. One week later, I bonded with the great people who shared a new love with the strange land we now called home. Students like me are the exact people I hope to inspire to study abroad in Germany. During my time in Germany, I was able to live in student housing with German and American students. Through this, I was able to practice German, have a friend to bake with, and even a group of locals to watch the World Cup with. I also had the opportunity to travel around Germany and am currently in the process of making a web app for students to navigate the cultural, social, and picturesque cities of Germany. I would love to talk more if you have any questions about Germany, but I will leave you on this: be spontaneous: experiences like studying abroad come once in a lifetime.

Leslie Hernandez
Home University: University of California, Santa Barbara
Major: Global Studies & German
Program/University in Germany: Humboldt-Unviersität zu Berlin


Hi! My name is Leslie Hernandez, and I study at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I am a senior double-majoring in Global Studies and German. I first started learning German when I was a freshman in high school and my interest and passion for the language have only grown from there! The first time I visited Germany was on an exchange program in my last year of high school. I hosted a girl from Germany for a month, then the summer after I graduated, I went to live with her and her family for a month. Although I have always had Wanderlust, this experience was really the beginning of my passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures. Therefore, when I discovered that studying abroad with UCSB was such a feasible goal, I leapt at the opportunity. Although there are several other countries I would have also loved to visit, I am so glad I chose Germany. I studied at Humboldt Universität in Berlin, Germany.  Being in Berlin, especially, has allowed me not only to improve my German, but also to meet so many new people from all over the world. Berlin was an amazing city to study in because it is so multicultural while still having so many of the wonderful German traditions that I have grown to love. After an entire year of living in Berlin, I have come to consider it a home away from home. Berlin is a charming city with so much to discover, that being there solely as a tourist does not fully allow you to do it justice. I would definitely recommend Germany as a place to study, work, and live, and I am excited to be able to do just that as a DAAD Young Ambassador!

Justin Johnson
Home University: Montana State University
Major: Chemical Engineering
Program/University in Germany: Universität Heidelberg


Grüß Gott! My name is Justin Johnson and I am starting my fifth, and final year, at Montana State University. I am pursuing a dual degree in Chemical Engineering, and Modern Languages and Literature with a German concentration.  My interest in the German language and culture dates to the second grade when the grandmother of a classmate, while visiting the U.S. from Germany, presented to the class about daily life in her home country. My interests continued to develop after hearing stories of the amazing experiences my father had while stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base, so I naturally elected to take German as my second language in high school. Through the German American Exchange Program, I was able to take my first trip to Germany when we visited our sister school in Trossingen. The brief exposure inspired me to continue learning the language and motivated me to pursue a university level study abroad experience during the summer of 2017 with Collegium Palatinum in Heidelberg, Germany. I will always be thankful for my abroad experience because it allowed me to connect to the city more so than just as a tourist. For me, living with the language, observing the cultural dynamics, and feeling the pace of life was a remarkable lesson and moment for personal growth. I am a proponent of language and cultural education because I know of no better way to develop the international communities needed for dynamic problem solving. It is my belief that every university student should have some abroad experience to connect their education to the rest of the world and I look forward to helping some find that experience as a DAAD Young Ambassador.

Regan Kat
Home University: University of Waterloo
Major: German
Program/University in Germany: Universität Mannheim


Hi there! My name is Regan Kat and I am pursuing a degree in German and Digital Arts and Communications at the University of Waterloo. I have been learning German for approximately two and a half years, and returned to Canada after spending six months in Mannheim. My first experience with German culture and language was through a short term exchange program organized through my High School. After this, I was inspired to work towards a degree in German. Making the decision to earn a German degree through my home university and studying abroad was one of the best I have made. I am passionate about my studies and am looking forward to the opportunity to share what I love. I was fortunate enough study for one semester at Universität Mannheim. After having this experience, I would happily recommend studying in Germany to everyone. No matter what you are interested in, there are great opportunities to explore and learn something new in Germany. Food, music and travel are only a few of many great things to be experienced during a period of time studying in Germany. I would describe the experience of my exchange as life changing. Not only is there the chance to learn about a new culture, but you are able to learn more about yourself and try things you never thought you would have. I am looking forward to being a Young Ambassador and answering any questions you may have!

Jack Knoedler
Home University: University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Major: Political Science
Program/University in Germany: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


Servus! I’m Jack, a student at UBC studying Politics. I was fortunate enough to study in Munich at LMU for an entire year. Studying in Germany offers an incredible new perspective while also retaining the luxuries and comforts of a North American lifestyle (except for shopping on Sundays…). Studying in arguably most influential European state was a refreshing experience, with highly relevant and passionate professors from all over the world, and an extensive course catalogue to choose from. The German people are an incredibly passionate and loyal group, and the country attracts exciting people from across the globe, creating a melting pot of individuals from all walks of life. The social circles are incredibly tightly knit and I found my own sort of family while abroad, who offered unique life changing experiences, and bonds necessary to stay sane in a foreign environment. With Germany being such a central European hub, it is effortless to have a spontaneous weekend trip to Austria, France, Sweden, or wherever your heart desires. It is an entirely different lifestyle, culture, and people than what I am exposed to in Canada, and has certainly given me more perspective and understanding of what life is like on the other side of the world. Despite the periods of homesickness, I can definitively look back and say that I have no regrets putting my life back home on hold for an entire year to carve out a temporary life in Munich, forging lifelong bonds and making incredible memories that I will be telling for years to come.

Maya Lach-Aidelbaum
Home University: Concordia University
Major: Journalism
Program/University in Germany: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


Hey! My name is Maya Lach-Aidelbaum and I’m currently majoring in Journalism and minoring in Women’s Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. As you can probably tell from my last name, I have some German background. In fact, my maternal grandparents are of German origin and from a young age, I started learning the basics of German. In 2015, I had the opportunity to go on 5-week cultural exchange trip through PAD (Pedagogical Exchange Service). After this amazing experience, I was hooked on Germany. I had to go back. For me, studying in Germany was a great way of improving my language capabilities as well as an introduction to a completely new and different culture. I went on a one-year exchange in Munich, Germany at Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität where I studied Communication Sciences. I thoroughly enjoyed studying in the Bavarian capital known for its excellent beer and accompanying traditions (think: Oktoberfest). During the exchange I not only made friends from all over the world, I also learned to navigate a completely different education system. I enjoyed numerous hikes in the nearby German Alps, home-made dinners with my German roommates and weekend trips to neighboring countries such as Austria, Croatia, Italy, France and Spain. However, I also had to overcome some pretty big challenges: keeping up with my classes taught in German, finding an affordable apartment, dealing with German bureaucracy. Overall, going on an exchange is a character-building experience that will make you more independent and open-minded. In my opinion, a country’s education system is a portal into its culture: it’s at times confusing and hard, but often refreshing and inspirational. I’d be happy to share my ups and downs with you, as well as tips and tricks and future opportunities.

Amy Lebanoff
Home University: University of Central Florida
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Program/ University in Germany: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie


Hi! My name is Amy Lebanoff, and I am a senior at the University of Central Florida where I study Mechanical Engineering with minors in Bioengineering and Mathematics. I spent the past summer in Germany as a scholar in the DAAD Research and Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program. These three months brought me to Cologne, Karlsruhe, and a number of other European cities. My journey began with a two-week intensive language course in Cologne funded by DAAD. There, I met fellow interns from the USA and Canada, and together, we ventured into the newness of the German language and culture. The next eleven weeks were spent at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) where I worked at the Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery under the supervision of a Ph.D. student. As part of a team, I supported studies on air flow fields around evaporating droplets with the use of an acoustic levitator. One of the best aspects of the internship was the mutually-beneficial exchange of knowledge and skills with me sharing experiences from my home lab and with my new team teaching me techniques I brought back to my university. In addition to research, my supervisor offered me the chance to participate in an excursion with KIT students. During the four-day trip, we learned about and toured industry-leading companies such as Rolls-Royce, Enercon, and MTU. I hope my accounts of everything from the wonders of exploring to the stresses of acclimating will inform and inspire prospective students to pursue the adventure that is research in Germany.

Jacob LeMoine
Home University: Bates College
Major: Mathematics & German
Program/University in Germany: Universität Freiburg


I’m about to enter my senior year at Bates College, with majors in Mathematics and German. I first decided to take German because I thought that a foreign language would be a nice complement to math: something that still required usage of the part of my brain that analyzes patterns, but not as intensely (at first) and with new experiences that would naturally come along with it. I had also always been curious about the German sounds – why was German always described as a “harsh” language? And would I still think of it that way if I knew how to speak it? After taking three semesters of German (out of a required four, but that’ll be our secret), I got into the IES Freiburg program. I wanted Freiburg, because I’m from a very small town (300 people) and I go to school in a very small city (40,000 people). The thought of going to Berlin or Vienna or even Munich was very intimidating. I had never lived outside of Maine, and I had never even left New England before hopping on a plane across the Atlantic, to stay for the year. What I enjoyed most about Freiburg was its proximity to nature. Being able to take a tram or bus to the edge of the city and just walk around is amazing. I took a few courses hosted by IES in different humanities fields and a couple of linguistics courses at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität. Going abroad was definitely worth the experience because of how drastically my German improved once I was in an environment where it was necessary. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned here.

Bethann Odell
Home University:
University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Major: Consumer Apparel Retail Studies
Program/University in Germany: Universität Mannheim

Hi! My name is Bethann Odell and I am a senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am majoring in Consumer, Apparel, and Retails Studies as well as German, and minoring in International and Global Studies. I was fortunate to have studied abroad in Mannheim for the fall 2017 semester. During this time I took classes in business and German at Universität Mannheim. My experience was life changing and provided a new insight to my major classes taught back home. Prior to this study abroad experience, I had been exposed to Germany through my father and his service in the US Army. My dad took me to Germany after graduating high school and I knew then that it was a place I wanted to return to. I then took a weeklong course in Berlin through a faculty-led study abroad program at UNC Charlotte. After transferring to UNC Greensboro I went with the Bryan School of Business to Brussels, Belgium and worked on entrepreneurship projects with students from the Université catholique de Louvain. These experiences leading up to my semester abroad really tuned me into my passion for travel and sharing that with other people. Studying in Germany has actually connected me to people I would have never dreamed of and opened doors for me personally and professionally. As a DAAD Young Ambassador I hope to connect people and their passions to Germany and see them experience the same life changing, positive outcomes that I have had (and am continuing to have!)

Tomasz Paluchowski
Home University: Washington and Lee University
Major: German & Economics
Program/University in Germany: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; German-American Exchange Internship (formerly AmCham)


In the summer of 2017, as a soon-to-be freshman with only rudimentary German skills, I would have never guessed that in a year, I would be living in Munich’s Olympic Village during a summer course, and that in two years, I would be working in German, in Germany. My initial exposure to German came from many years of involvement with the equestrian sport in Europe and from countless Lufthansa flights, but I could only hope to someday study the language…until I finally did, at age 18, as a first-semester freshman. I have not only found myself deeply affected by the language, literature, and culture of the German world and its key figures; I, too, have been enriched by other aspects of my study thanks to opportunities granted to me by my study of German. As a rising sophomore, I enjoyed a summer course at LMU Munich focusing on European Studies across the three cities of Vienna, Prague, and Munich. Being able to compare, contrast, and understand these geographically-similar, yet fundamentally-different cultures alongside one another gave me an ultimate lens through which I could view Germany as a critical EU actor. I completed a final research project in which I examined the relationship between populism, religion, and EU support, using Germany as a subject for case study. These positive experiences led me to pursue an internship in strategy consulting at Deekeling-Arndt/AMO through the German-American Exchange program this summer. I have not only gained valuable professional experience in both Berlin and Düsseldorf, but I have also noticed drastic improvements in my linguistic abilitiesI wish to help others reach and realize these opportunities, which I have greatly relished. As I now prepare to consider and contemplate further steps in my life and education, I am greatly drawn to Germany and its plentiful offerings.

Hannah Peter
Home University: Brock University
Major: Women’s and Gender Studies
Program/University in Germany: Hochschule Koblenz, RheinAhr Campus


My name is Hannah Peter and I am currently studying Women’s and Gender Studies with a minor in German and a minor in Intercultural Studies at Brock University in Canada. I chose to study in Germany because of my interest in learning the language and how I fell in love with Berlin the first time I visited the city. In 2017 I had the opportunity to study for one year in the beautiful town of Remagen, Germany at the University of Koblenz, RheinAhrCampus. Remagen was especially beautiful in the summer, as the small town sat directly on the Rhein River. At RheinAhrCampus I worked as an intern for the International Office, where I was able to acquire professional skills, challenge myself in new ways and make new friends from Germany and around the world. Since my year in Germany, I have started learning the German language and declared a minor in German. Recently, I have completed the Canadian Summer School in Germany (CSSG) in Kassel, Germany and I now have a B1 level in German. My goals are to acquire a C2 in German, do my master’s in Germany, and most importantly, be able to speak with my German friends in their own language. Studying in Germany is a great way to challenge yourself to learn a new language and culture, become an independent person and meet some really amazing people. My time in Germany has become very beneficial to my studies, work ethic, and the way I create and maintain relationships. I would love to answer any questions you may have about studying in Germany and help you have the best experience possible! Tschüss!

Avian Rabenberg-Robinson
Home University: University of Notre Dame
Major: Business Analytics & German
Program/University in Germany: Freie Universität Berlin


Hello, my name is Avian Rabenberg-Robinson. I am entering my fourth year of undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame. There, I study Business Analytics – I believe understanding the role of information technology within the context of the business world is something very valuable today. Along with an interest in learning computer programming languages, I’m currently enveloped in learning the German language. After gaining experience acquiring the language throughout Germany and Austria in the summer of 2018, I’ve embarked on a semester abroad at the Freie Universität Berlin during the summer semester of 2019.  At the FU, I enrolled in courses within the fields of literature, history, and theology. I’m an advocate for maintaining a wide range of academic interests, which helped prepare me for a diverse set of courses in an international university. One thing that struck me in Berlin is the presence of individualism within the city. This is evident simply walking down the streets, which are canvassed in street art. Generally, I’ve noticed that the people of Berlin love being themselves and are proud of it.  This mindset is something that I’ve carried with me to the present day, which I plan to pass along to my peers at my home university. Outside of class, I enjoy spending time with my two-year-old sister, Lyric, and four-year-old brother, Christian. I feel most comfortable outdoors and I am an avid basketball player and writer. Following graduation, I plan to pursue graduate schooling in Germany.

James Schacht
Home University: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Major: Global Studies & German
Program/University in Germany: Universität Heidelberg; GAE Internship Program


Hello! My name is James Schacht and I studied a semester abroad in the beautiful city of Heidelberg, Germany in the Spring of 2018, and recently finished an internship in Munich in Summer 2019. I’m a senior at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I am majoring in Global Studies, with a concentration in Western European Economics, Trade, and Development, with a double major in German Culture and Literature. My experiences in Germany allowed me to immerse myself in the everyday life of a German student and citizen. This includes taking classes with other Germans, working together in the office, as well as living in a flat with 3 German roommates (with whom I got to practice my language skills). I was able to develop connections and friends in Germany that I will keep for the rest of my life, and I am confident I have a place to stay in nearly every part of the world. I cannot wait to share my experiences and I look forward to answering questions anyone may have about life abroad in Germany!

Aaron Silva
Home University: The University of Iowa
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Program/University in Germany: Universität Freiburg; Universität Hamburg


Hallo Leser*in!! My name is Aaron Silva. I’m a senior at the University of Iowa studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in German. I know it’s a weird combo, but I’m earning a minor in German because I want to study or work in Germany after my undergraduate studies. After my first year of German at Iowa, many of my German professors wanted me to do a semester abroad, but after looking into it, Iowa didn’t have any programs that would allow me to continue my engineering courses while abroad. Lucky, I found the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program. The DAAD RISE program allows students to conduct research in laboratories at German universities and research institutions during the summer. I have been part of the DAAD RISE program the last two years. My first year, I did research at IMTEK at the University of Freiburg on electrodes for neural implants. My second year, I did research at CHyN at the University of Hamburg on using semiconductors to guide the growth of neural stem cells. In addition to conducting research at top institutions, I got all the benefits that come from studying abroad. I was able to practice my German in the lab, travel around Europe, and get out my comfort zone. As well, I was able to meet other DAAD RISE students that lived in my city, that I met up with while traveling and at the Heidelberg conference. The DAAD RISE program was perfect for me because I had the opportunity to live in Germany and to conduct research that will help me with graduate school applications. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to perform research on the global stage.

Christian Steinhofer
Home University: Rice University
Major: History
Program/University in Germany: Universität Leipzig


Hallo! My name is Christian Steinhofer and I am from Chicago, Illinois. I’m a sophomore at Rice University in Houston, TX. I am currently studying History, Political Science, and German. German has been a passion of mine for five years. As I have advanced in my studies, I made a point to take advantage of any travel opportunities to fully immerse myself in the language. I first traveled to Germany through a CIEE Study Abroad summer program. I lived in Berlin with a host family for a month and experienced a slice of authentic German life. I made life-long friends and had ample opportunity to increase my German fluency through daily practice. Two years later, I had the tremendous opportunity to return to Germany to participate in a longer and more intensive course in Leipzig. There, I was able to have a second immersive language learning experience. I found it especially striking how quickly learning a language can bring different people together. That specific course’s title states it succinctly: Sprachen bauen Brücken, languages build bridges. The changing global climate requires that we learn to build these bridges. Only through connecting to other cultures and peoples can my generation build a more understanding world. I feel fortunate to have a chance to share my study abroad experiences with others, and I hope that students will take advantage of the opportunities that are available to go out and explore.

Dusten Strock
Home University: University of Wyoming
Major: Secondary Social Studies Education
Program/University in Germany: Zeppelin Universität

Hallo! My name is Dusten Strock and I am in my 5th and final year studying Secondary Social Studies Education and International Studies at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. I am originally from Lakewood, Colorado. I have other academic interests in political science, sociology, and history, amongst others. I did a semester exchange program in Germany, studying at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen. During this semester I was able to take classes focusing on comparative and European governance, elections, and international organizations, which are all subjects I have a keen interest in and my ability to learn about was furthered by being in Germany. Friedrichshafen is located in southern Germany, on the Bodensee, known in English as Lake Constance, very close to the borders of Austria and Switzerland. The Bodensee region is beautiful and in close proximity to the Swiss Alps and the Swabian Jura. Studying in Friedrichshafen was an extraordinary opportunity to explore new cultures. While studying in Germany, I was able to travel all throughout the country, as well as make new friends from all around the world. Studying in Germany provides something for everyone. People interested in history can explore the thousands of years of history in Germany. People interested in the fine arts can explore the various art museums in Germany or explore the same areas that Bach and Wagner lived. People interested in politics can visit the Reichstag or learn about Germany’s role in the European Union. There are so many opportunities for people studying in Germany, it is definitely worth it, and I highly recommend it.

Matilda Subek Simon
Home University: University of Manitoba
Major: Health Sciences
Program/University in Germany: Universitätsklinikum Regensburg; Technische Universität München


Servus! My name is Matilda, and I am a 20-year-old student in the fourth year of my Health Sciences degree. I grew up in a multilingual household and always loved learning new languages, which prompted me to take German classes in my freshman year of university. I loved learning the language and about the culture so much that in my sophomore year, I decided to put my language learning to use by participating in an exchange. I spent three months in Regensburg through the DAAD RISE program, doing HIV vaccine research at a university clinic, where I learned how research in a real lab works, and how research especially in a German lab works. After Regensburg, I spent a semester in Munich studying at the Technical University there. During this semester, I became acquainted with how the German education system works and its standards. I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world, such as Kazakhstan, Spain and Turkey, all of which were countries I knew very little about and about the people even less. This experience of meeting so many different people broadened my worldview and gave me new perspectives I previously didn’t explore. It was a unique opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and experience something completely different from what I am used to in Canada. I could not speak more highly of my time in Germany, and as a DAAD Young Ambassador I look forward to sharing my experiences in hopes that you will take the opportunity to go and have your own unforgettable experiences in Germany.

Taylor Thompson
Home University: Florida State University
Major: Civil Engineering
Program/University in Germany: Universität Stuttgart


Hi! My name is Taylor and I am currently in my senior year of civil engineering at Florida State University. Last summer I had the honor of being selected for the DAAD RISE program as an Intern working on sustainable housing and materials research at the University of Stuttgart. I was embraced by my peers despite not knowing any German and got the chance to work with a team of passionate people committed to building a better world. While working in a different country with the language barrier, I learned to be a great communicator, effectively facilitating across cultures, clarifying any misunderstandings. Germany has a lot to offer for young people and during my time there I made amazing memories and developed great friendships that I will cherish forever. I would be more than happy to help and share some of my experience with you! If you have any questions or need any advice/recommendations, I am here for you!

Julia Ver Voort
Home University: Case Western Reserve University
Major: Economics & International Studies
Program/University in Germany: Universität Frankfurt


Hallo! My name is Julia Ver Voort and I am a senior at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I have always been interested in German language and culture ever since beginning to study the language in high school and participating in a three-week exchange program in 2015. Ever since then, I knew I had to come back and spend more time in this culturally and historically rich country. As an Economics and International Studies major, I found studying for a semester in Frankfurt, the financial capital of the European Union, was ideal. During my semester at Goethe Universität, I was able to study Economics not only in the classroom, but also out in the world around me. I also participated in intensive German language courses throughout the semester and got hands-on international experience. The difference in my language skills from the beginning of the semester to the end was absolutely astounding thanks to constant immersion and conversation with native speakers. My semester in Frankfurt was a perfect blend of my two subjects of study. Germany’s (and more specifically Frankfurt’s) central location also made it extremely easy to explore Europe as a whole–throughout the semester I visited 7 additional countries and made friends from every corner of the globe. The people I have met have given me memories and friendships I will take with me for the rest of my life! I’m very excited for the opportunity to be a DAAD ambassador and to encourage other students to spend time in the country that now feels like my second home. I’m happy to help with any questions about how you can pursue spending time studying in Germany! Tschüss!

Rachel Wallace
Home University: Vassar College
Major: German Studies & Russian Studies
Program/University in Germany: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin


Hey! I’m Rachel Wallace, and I’m a rising senior at Vassar College with majors in German Studies and Russian Studies. To better study these majors and the ways they interact, I studied abroad in three cities this past year: St. Petersburg, Russia; Vienna, Austria; and the incredible Berlin, Germany. In the spring of 2019 I spent half the semester at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin and then the other half at Universität Wien on a program through Macalester College. Out of all these places, I found Berlin to be the place with a never-ending list of things to do, people to meet, and places to explore. I spent so many days lost in museums, theatres, parks, and the ever-changing city streets. I learned so much from my time in Berlin not only about Germany, but also about the rest of the world and Germany’s place in it. I can easily envision myself moving back to Berlin in the near future. In the meantime, I spend my summers teaching kids about German language and culture at Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota and getting involved with the German and Russian departments at Vassar. I’m so excited to share my enthusiasm about Germany with the students of German at Vassar and beyond, and I can’t wait for my next trip back to Germany.

Adrianna Warren
Home University: Memorial University of Newfoundland
Major: Cell and Molecular Biology
Program/University in Germany: Universität Oldenburg


Moin! My name is Adrianna Warren, and I am entering my final year of a Cell and Molecular Biology major with a minor in Biochemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. My first experience in Germany was part of a three-month internship through the DAAD RISE program (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) where I stayed in northern Germany, working at the Carl Von Ossietzky Campus of the University of Oldenburg. As a student on a budget, I never saw travelling abroad as an accessible venture but with the help from the funding available it was a piece of cake. During my internship I got to experience the rigor of scientific research in Germany, network with other students and attend conferences and talks by prestigious researchers in my field. Since that time, it is clear how relevant research in Germany is, which is even notable while attending conferences here in Canada, therefore motivating me to return for my post graduate education. During my stay I immersed myself in the local arts community and got to appreciate Germany’s dedication to the arts, where I was inspired by so many lovely people, took part in local festivals, and hold my most exciting experiences. I arrived with almost no German language skills and with an honest effort managed to travel around Germany and get by, so I think it’s important to know that you don’t need to be a language whiz to have a fulfilling time. I’d love to talk more, share some stories, answer questions and help you get your experience started. My e-mail is open to you! Tschüss!

Rembert White
Home University: University of South Carolina
Major: Chemical Engineering
Program/University in Germany: University of South Carolina Maymester in Germany; Technische Universität Ilmenau


Hallo! My name is Rembert White. I am a rising fourth year Chemical Engineering major and Chemistry minor at the University of South Carolina. I first traveled to Germany on a two-week study abroad course during the summer of my first year in university to learn about renewable energy technology and sustainability. I traveled to the beautiful German cities of Freiburg, Stuttgart, Ulm, and Munich while learning about groundbreaking energy technology like solar, wind, and fusion as well as other sustainable practices. The German view on sustainability is one of the main reasons why I loved my time in the country. Everyone genuinely cares about the world and people around them, and they work very hard to reduce their impact on it. I was also immersed in the wonderful German language, culture, and food! Even though I did not speak a word of the language at the beginning of my trip, I was able to communicate with everyone I met and returned to the US having learned a little German from everyone I met. Since my first study experience my first year, I have also completed a RISE internship through the DAAD at the Technical University of Ilmenau for solar energy. This allowed me to experience the wonders of German university life and the research process, and travel all over the country. Every new city that I traveled to in Germany just made me love the country, people, and language even more. My time in Germany has also inspired me to pursue graduate study there while also learning the language. I am happy to share more about my experience studying in Germany.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about life, study, travel, research, or anything else about the best place in the world – Germany! Tschüss!

Kaitlin Young
Home University: University of North Texas
Major: German
Program/University in Germany: Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR) Berlin


Hey, wie geht’s? My name is Kaitlin Young, and I am entering my fourth and final year at the University of North Texas, where I study German, as well as Linguistics and English. I started learning German in high school, which spurred me to pursue a career in German academia. For the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to intern with the International Summer School at both campuses of the Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR) Berlin. During my stay, I was not only immersed in a unique German culture of kind people and new perspectives, but I was also able to witness a multitude of other cultures upheld by other people from all over the world. Working with the HWR Berlin’s summer school program, I met students from over 20 different countries and learned things about both my host country and the home countries of those students. One of my primary research areas is the Stasi and the period of the Berlin Wall, so it was very fulfilling to experience the locations of events I learned about back in the States. But I also learned more about history that I had never considered before, such as monarchs of centuries past, as well as their still-standing palaces and castles. As someone with a more unconventional abroad experience, I am excited to share my story and promote the possibility of study or internship abroad–and I can’t wait to answer any questions you may have for me regarding either one! Tschau!

Linzixuan (Rhoda) Zhang
Home University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Major: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering & Statistics
Program/University in Germany: Universität Jena


Hallo! My name is Linzixuan (Rhoda) Zhang, and I am a senior student working toward dual degrees in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Statistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). During the first semester of my junior year when looking for an opportunity to study abroad, I was immediately attracted by the DAAD RISE Germany program and had the honor to be accepted by Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, where I started my internship with excitement in May 2019. Mentored by a Ph.D. student, I spent a productive summer focusing on research towards the synthesis of block copolymers and formation of catalytically active membranes. Not only did I contribute to the progress of this project, but I also greatly benefited from accumulating essential knowledge in polymer chemistry as well as valuable first-hand polymerization techniques. Outside the lab, I led a relaxing and fulfilling life in Jena, a small yet diverse city which is inclusive to students with various cultural backgrounds. I also traveled around Germany on weekends, enjoying beautiful landscapes and interacting with unique cultures in different cities. Before leaving for Germany, I was deeply concerned about the challenges due to language barrier. Within a few weeks after arrival, however, I found Germany to be a welcoming country with warm-hearted people. At the university, my mentor and colleagues always helped me whenever I needed, in both professional and personal aspects. While traveling, I also met many people who could speak English very well and were happy to offer me assistance. Strengthened by all these friendly people around me, I stepped out of my comfort zone, achieved self-development, and became more adaptive to new environments throughout these two months in Germany. As a DAAD Young Ambassador, I am eager to share my experience and encourage you to explore Germany. Let’s start a new journey!