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Alumni Testimonials

jennifer huffman   Jennifer Huffman, '10, International Studies and Leadership Studies major, German Studies minor

My German studies at Richmond were an important step in my foreign language development. While I took German in high school, Richmond courses solidified critical grammatical foundations, primarily through extensive reading and writing.  During my junior year, I studied abroad at the University of Konstanz, one of Richmond’s partner institutions. Not only did immersion improve my listening and speaking confidence in particular, but it also piqued my curiosity in learning more about the culture. I quickly realized that one semester was not enough to truly understand the rhythm of German life. As such, I participated in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, a one-year fellowship that would build upon my solid language skills and add a professional dynamic to my German experiences through language school, university courses, and an internship. Remarkably, my language abilities honed in Richmond and Konstanz were sufficient to take a C1 (advanced proficiency) course during my two-month stay in Cologne. Undoubtedly, these combined efforts helped me land an internship in the German Bundestag, an extremely exciting opportunity for a dual International Studies and Leadership studies major. Now, Germany plays a front-and-center role in my life as I pursue a Master’s degree in German and European Studies at Georgetown.

andrew thomas   Andrew Thomas, ‘13, double major German Studies and International Business

With Germany’s position in the world today, being able to communicate in German or work in a German-speaking setting will certainly be of benefit to any student with his/her sights set on modern Europe. The UR German program set a solid foundation for my future career, and for that I am truly thankful. The academic rigor is part of what makes the German program superb. Students not only study German history and language, but also explore contemporary issues that affect German-speaking Europe. The German program is small, which meant that I had access to opportunities I would not have had at larger schools. I spent the summer after my first year taking language classes in Berlin, and the summer after my sophomore year I interned with a German company. Both opportunities were made possible by the resources and connections of the German program. I studied abroad for a semester of my junior year in Münster, where I took International Business classes in German. During my senior year, I applied for and was accepted to the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, which allowed me to spend a  year after graduation living in western Germany, attending lectures at the University of Cologne and completing a five-month internship at a small consulting company in the Ruhr Area. I am now about to begin my graduate studies in International Business and Cultural Studies at the University of Passau in Bavaria.

Robert Pressly   Robert Pressly, '07, psychology major and German Studies minor

Before I graduated from UR in 2007, I don’t think I could have fully understood how influential my time there would be nearly a decade later. In particular, my minor in German Studies has shaped much of who I am today – both personally and professionally. One of the most important opportunities Richmond provided me was the ability to study abroad my junior year in Konstanz, Germany. While there, not only did I further develop my language skills and understanding of German culture, I developed a love for travel and exploration that continues to this day. Even more important, I was able to reconnect with relatives who stayed in Germany when my great-grandparents emigrated to the U.S. It’s been fantastic to share stories and learn more about my family’s past. Studying German at Richmond also influenced my career path in ways I would not have anticipated. While working at an environmental non-profit in 2010, I was selected to participate in a cross-cultural delegation to conduct site visits to sustainable architecture and urban planning projects in Germany and meet with project teams. That experience directly influenced me to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning and become an urban planner. Had I not gained the language skills and cultural knowledge through my time at UR, I would not have been able to join the delegation.