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International Student Life

Maxi Hubner

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Double majoring in English and German, Hubner comes to Virginia Wesleyan through a direct exchange program with Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.  She hopes to become a teacher in the secondary school system in Germany.

“Virginia Wesleyan is a nice change because 30,000 students go to my home university, so my classes are attended by 30 - 100 students,” said Hubner.  With an 11:1 student/faculty ratio and close-knit atmosphere at Virginia Wesleyan, Hubner has enjoyed personal attention in her courses.

Having a passion for singing, Hubner immediately became a member of the Wesleyan Singers and the College Chorus.  She has also immersed herself in the College’s clubs/organizations, volunteering with the Wesleyan Activities Council and serving as president of the International Student Organization.

“I want to experience as much as I can and make great friends,” said Hubner, who was recently selected by her peers as a member of the homecoming court. “I am very excited to be at Virginia Wesleyan and to become a part of the campus community.”

Edgar “Edward” Limas Perez

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Thanks to Virginia Wesleyan’s direct exchange program with the Universidad of Madero in Puebla, Mexico, Perez is studying Foreign Languages at Virginia Wesleyan for the fall 2010 semester.

“I thought coming to Virginia Wesleyan would not only help me to improve my English, but to also learn about a different culture while I’m here,” said Perez, a sophomore from Veracruz.

While at Virginia Wesleyan, Perez has taken an active role in campus life as a photographer for the Marlin Chronicle student-newspaper and participated in his first student art exhibition during Hispanic Heritage Month.  He can also be found tutoring Spanish in the Learning Resource Center.

“Studying abroad is a great experience because I have the opportunity to get to know so many people and do things I am not used to doing while I’m learning,” he said.  
In his spare time, Perez enjoys playing and watching soccer, playing the piano, creating motion videos and animation, and listening to music.

Zuehaile Martinez Mejia, Mexico

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My name is Zuhaile Martinez Mejia, I am 19 years old and I am from Puebla, Mexico. I am studying International Trade in the Madero University (Universidad Madero-UMAD), which is located in Puebla city.

One of my goals when I entered to college was study in another country trough an interchange program. When I sow that my university has agreements with different college about interchanges programs, I took the opportunity of come true my goal. When Virginia Wesleyan College finally accepted me as an interchange student, I was so happy and excited to come here. The decision of come to VWC was a challenge for me, because is another country, different language, far home and this is the first time that I am out of home for a long time. The language is a wall for many people when they want to take a decision of studying in a country with a different language. Although I knew that I didn’t have a really good English, I took the challenge.

I choose Virginia Wesleyan because it was one of the colleges of a country that the principal language is English. Also because I wanted to see and learn how the professors and students see their country and the relation that their government has with another countries, specially with Latin America, European Union and Asia (specially China).

Is important for a person who is studying a major which has international issues, to go out of his or her country and learn how is the perspective that a different country, culture and people has about the international issues. For me this is a big experience, I am learning a lot. One of the advantages for me is the fact that I am studying International Trade and Mexico, Canada and the U.S. have a Free Trade Agreement called NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement), which is the main motor of the economy and commerce in my country (Mexico). Besides, have the opportunity of learn about different topic related with this is a privilege for me. Besides the classes that I am taking in VWC are really interesting, I have had to work hard and try to do the best.

I am having excellent experiences here. Be far home, friends, in a different college, different teaching methods and different language, all of this has helping me to mature and growth as a person and student. If you have the opportunity of participate in an interchange program do not doubt in taking it, you are going to learn a lot of things and also appreciate your family, friends and in general your country.


Nadine Steffenhagen, Germany

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My name is Nadine Steffenhagen and I’ve been attending Wesleyan since January 07. After enjoying and successfully completing a two-year vocational training as an Accredited Bilingual Commercial Correspondent in English and French, I decided to keep up with the professional international direction and started to study American Studies and Economics at the Humboldt-Universitaet in Berlin, Germany. Since I’d like to work for a foreign exchange agency, which focused on the US and organizes all kinds of foreign exchanges, I had to take advantage of this opportunity of studying abroad and staying in the US for a longer time.

So far, I can say that I really have had a great time at Wesleyan. I’ve met wonderful people, benefited from the small class sizes and from the conversations to the professors and gain experiences, which challenge me on a personal level every day. These are some reasons why I decided to extend my stay at Wesleyan for the following Fall Semester. I just can recommend a foreign exchange to everyone, since you develop a greater self-confidence, independence, and self-reliance. You also gain a broader view of the world understanding and perspective of international affairs and the most important thing for your future; it makes you more marketable in the world place.

Adrian O’Connell, Ireland

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My name is Adrian O’Connell and I am currently taking a year out of my psychology major in Belfast, Northern Ireland to study business in Virginia Wesleyan College. The opportunity to do such a thing was one I couldn’t resist. I’m on a fully funded scholarship so this year isn’t digging into my college funds too much! I heard about the chance to do such a thing through friends of mine who participated in the program last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The main reason I chose to take up on the opportunity was truly for the experience and in the hope that I will learn and develop greatly (in positive ways!). Forgive the cliché expression but it was “an opportunity of a lifetime” and one I had to at least try and get. The chance to fully immerse yourself in a different culture for a year doesn’t really come around too often, so I decided to take the chance and here I am.

I’d like to be able to say that I did my research and Virginia Wesleyan College greatly appealed to me (which I’m sure it would have if I did some research!) but I suppose the best way to put it was that Virginia Wesleyan chose me! I submitted what I would like to have in a college and the program I’m on decided that this was the best college for me. The facilities here are really up to scratch, sporting, leisure, music, computer and housing facilities are all real good. There’s no part of Virginia Wesleyan that I’m not impressed with (so far!).

The education system in America is obviously different than in Ireland, so to learn in a different sort of way is something I can take a lot from. One of the obvious differences is the staff to student ratio. At my university in Belfast there is about 200 people in my lectures so obviously to have that reduced to fewer than 25 I at least feel more obliged to turn up to lectures! The fewer numbers in the classes also makes you feel like you play more of an intricate part within the class and encourages more participation.

When I was younger I played a lot of sports including Gaelic football an Irish sport and even played for my county. However as I grew older I became more and more fond of music and the world that it opened for me. On top of developing academically I hope to develop any talents I have and maybe even find some hidden talents! Experiences mean a lot to me so basically I’m here to jump head first into anything that comes my way, so let the good times roll!

Max Wuttke, Germany

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My Name is Max Wuttke, I am 22 years old and I am German. I was born in Berlin and after I had lived in Northern Germany for almost 10 years, I decided to come back to Berlin and study in this exciting metropolis. My major is American Studies and since my university, the Humboldt University, offers an exchange program with the Virginia Wesleyan College, I applied for a scholarship, received one and that is basically why I am here...

I chose Virginia Wesleyan, because I really liked the philosophy it is based on:
1. A rather small campus
2. A manageable amount of students
3. A unknown student to professor ratio
4. And probably the beach and the sun...;)

All of them contribute to having a close relationship to your fellow students, your professors, the OIP, the staff, the security guards and to be more than a number in the crowd; something that we unfortunately do not have in Germany.

A more profound answer would probably be,  that I  have been interested in the USA (history, culture, literature, people, etc) ever since and also because as a European,  the American influence on our daily lives cannot be negated. The USA was, is and will be important for Europe in various ways, as well as Germany is, was and will be for the USA.

Growing up in a city that has benefitted from the USA in so many different ways: The Berlin Airlift, the construction of the Free University of Berlin, the influence on uniting Germany in 1989, only to name a few, has definitely helped to catch my interest. A basic interest which had a strong influence on why I decided to study American Studies. One of my personal goals has always been to live in the country that I am interested in and to study what really interests me right on the spot.

At a time where many Europeans tend to connect their decline of American foreign politics to their general image of Americans, many reject any contact to the USA in general. Especially Europeans my age and even some of my friends could not understand why someone would study American Studies and would even study in the USA. For me this somehow serves as some kind of extra motivation to prove that they are definitely on the wrong track and that their generalizations are completely wrong too.

So far I have met so many nice people, absolutely caring,  very open-minded, interested in my origin, my opinion and not hostile, rejecting or whatsoever and I still got a couple of months left....

Based on my own experiences (a couple of exchanges),  I really want to encourage everyone (whether German or American) to work up the courage and study abroad, because this definitely helps yourself not only to get to know a different culture, but also to get to know more about yourself and your origin.

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