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Experiencing the Possibilities


On October 31, 2022 our Exchange Student Sophie Fuchs wrote:

Dear Mrs. Standl,

I have been in Troy for most 3 months now. I have settled in here very quickly, fortunately I did not have any jet lag, and I feel extremely comfortable. We are a great group of international students, but also some Americans. Time flew by and now it’s almost November. Especially in the first weeks we did something every day, be it volleyball, badminton, eating together or just spending time together on campus. In the meantime, the university routine has caught up with us a bit, since the midterms are coming up. Tomorrow I have my last exam for the time being and then it’s time for the projects and group work. I am very happy with my course selection and take it very seriously, so that I currently have at least 90% (A) in all subjects.

Of course, I have already explored the country a bit. We spent a weekend together in New Orleans and together with a friend who also lives in Germany, I spent a few days in Boston. Now there are only three weeks left until the week-long Thanksgiving break. One of my American friends invited me to come home to Mobile with her for a few days and celebrate Thanksgiving with her family. I’m really looking forward to experiencing this American tradition!

I like the campus of Troy University very much and it is exactly how I imagined a real American campus. Even though I don't know much about American football, I really enjoy the game days. The whole day is about the game starting with tailgating. On these days the whole campus is lively and you can feel the school spirit everywhere, a really impressive experience.

For most of my international friends, it's time to return home soon. Therefore, I am even more grateful that I have the opportunity to spend another semester here! Thank you again for that!

Have a great evening.

Kind regards,

Sophie Fuchs



Exchange Student Lisa Thiergart wrote from the US:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of VDAC, It is a great pleasure for me to tell you about my exchange year 2021 at GeorgiaTech. In spite of all the Corona difficulties, I received my visa in January (somewhat adventurously) exactly one day before departure - and so the journey began!

es ist mir ist es eine große Freude, Ihnen von meinem Austauschjahr 2021 an der GeorgiaTech zu berichten. Trotz aller Corona-Widrigkeiten erhielt ich (etwas abenteuerlicherweise) im Januar genau einen Tag vor Abflug noch mein Visum – und somit ging die Reise los!

For the first semester, I lived on campus in the middle of bustling Midtown Atlanta. Although the spring semester started virtually, I felt very welcomed and there were many opportunities to meet fellow students. I joined the women's Ultimate Frisbee team and was also able to meet many American students through the university's adventure sports program. The day trips to whitewater kayaking, cascading (rappelling through waterfalls), and caving were both thrilling and very bonding!

In class, I especially liked that the professors took a lot of time to discuss with interested students and respond to their ideas. It was a very motivating and supportive learning environment, which was very student-centered. I was particularly pleased to be able to take many subjects at the intersection of neuroscience and computer science. I was fascinated to learn theoretically as well as to be able to do extremely stimulating projects: In one course, I simulated how the human brain figures out which direction objects are moving as they fly through our visual field!

I had a lot of fun on the weekends getting to know the city and its history. Visits to Krog Street Market, High Museum of Art, Atlanta Philharmonic and Piedmont Park showed the cultural side of the city, which now has a booming film and music industry. A Civil Rights bike tour by the university took students to the birthplace of Martin Luther King, explained Atlanta's strategic role in the Civil War, and also showed the signs of what is in some ways a modern version of the civil rights movement: Many 'Black Lives Matter' posters hung in the windows and statues of Confederate generals were fenced in.

In the summer, I traveled to Florida for two weeks of surfing and even got to see a SpaceX rocket launch! Then, college friends picked me up for our road trip: two Germans and an American, all engineers who met at Georgia Tech. We traveled through 16 states up the East Coast - from Florida to Maine. In Boston, on the recommendation of Uli Dornseifer, we visited the Boston Union Oyster House! It was incredible to experience the diversity of this country day by day: the changing nature and vegetation, the changing character of the cities and the different life attitudes and situations of the people we met along the way. This trip was not only unforgettable from a personal point of view, but it also allowed me to gain some insight into the American "people's soul" and I have the feeling that I can better understand any political differences to Germany.

Afterwards, I started my summer internship in robotics in Atlanta - where I worked on a Mars vehicle controlled by brain waves. I really couldn't have asked for a better experience. After the summer, though, I understand why they call Atlanta 'Hot-lanta'!

Since I had enjoyed the spring semester so much, I decided to take the 2nd semester as well. This semester allowed me to get to know the normal course of studies and I was fascinated by the wide range of campus life. Besides my research, I was able to take totally exciting Master and PhD courses in AI, Cognitive Science and Computer Vision. It was impressive to learn in a very applied way and at the same time to be in direct discourse with professors at the forefront of their research field. On winter weekends, I traveled to Chicago (for a conference), Florida (for the Southwest Frisbee Regionals with the team!), and Berkeley, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I was very impressed to meet several startups in Berkeley and to spontaneously attend an investor dinner. It's really remarkable how much the entrepreneurial culture shapes the way of life in this region. A big highlight in the winter was Thanksgiving with my roommate's family. I brought cheese spaetzle and it was such a precious moment to be able to celebrate this traditional feast with so many warm people.

Now I look back very happily on an unforgettable year, and I am very grateful to you, the ladies and gentlemen of VDAC, for giving me this opportunity. I take with me not only friendships for life, but also formative experiences - for my world view and academic career - and a conviction to cultivate and actively live the German American friendship.



Nicholas Hall from the University of Arizona Tucson studied at the LMU Munich

Field of study: German as a Foreign Language. During the Christmas holidays, some of the Ladies in the Club were happy to have Nick as a guest at their home, to show him Munich's sights or to visit one of the city's traditional pub-restaurants with him.

With Doris Rautter, Nick visited St. Cajetan's Church on Odeonsplatz, the Holy Spirit Church on Viktualienmarkt and much more. At the Hofbräuhaus, Nick learned about an important piece of Bavarian tavern culture.

The young American enjoyed a traditional Christmas goose dinner by the Christmas tree with Christina Mehring's family.

Cornelia Riegelsberger-Schneck, along with her family and Sandra Hirschmann, welcomed Nick during the Christmas holidays. The week before Christmas, Cornelia and Sandra took an enthusiastic American student out for a sauerbraten meal at the Augustiner Stammhaus.



Jackson Bourgoyne Harmon from the Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta Georgia, studied computer science at the LMU Munich.

Our exchange student introduces himself:

My name is Jackson Harmon. I come from the USA, from South Carolina. There I study computer science and artificial intelligence at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. This year, I am a VDAC exchange student in my third year of study at LMU. I have been learning German for two years. I have never been to Europe, so I would like to travel to England and France during the vacations. I came to Germany because I am interested in the art, culture and history of Europe. At Christmas my parents and my younger sister will visit me in Munich, we will then also go to Salzburg and Vienna for a few days. At the Silver Tea I have already met some ladies of the German American Women’s Club Munich. I hope to be able to talk to as many ladies as possible in German at the New Year's meeting and at the Magnolia Ball.



In the academic year 2019/2020, students in the US, from TU Munich, were:

  • Fabian Kilger at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, Field of study: Computer Science.


    In the academic year 2018/2019, students at LMU Munich were:

    • Milena Kagel from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. Subjects of study: European History and German Studies.
      She talks about her honors exchange year experience at LMU here.

    In the academic year 2018/2019, students in the USA were:

    • Eva Katharina Henning, LMU Munich, at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. Subjects of study: English, French and Psychology.
    • Felicia Hofner, LMU Munich, at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.


      During the 2017/2018 academic year, students at LMU Munich were:

      • Alexandra Challenger from Florida State University. Subjects: Art History and German.
      • John Grant Fentum from the University of Arizona, Tucson: Computer Science and German.
        They describe their experiences and adventures here.

      During the 2017/2018 academic year, students in the U.S. were:

      • Franziska Beltinger from TUM at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Subject: Chemistry.
      • Andreas Garhammer from TUM at the University of Delaware, Newark Delaware. Major: Aerospace Engineering
      • Maximilian Müller-Bardorff from Munich at Clarkson University Schenectady, New York. Major: European Business


        Students in Munich in the 2016/2017 academic year were:

        • Ranjani Mari Sundaresan from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. Subjects of study: Psychology, Biology, Philosophy, German.
        • Leo Richard Kalkbrenner from Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH. Subjects: Literature, Economics.
        • Stefan Herrmann from LMU Munich at Oberlin College, Ohio. Field of study: Global Business Management
        • Sabine Stefanie Waas from LMU Munich at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Field of study: North American Studies


          In the academic year 2015/2016, the following students studied in the USA

          • Michael Winfried Hesse from the TU Munich at the University of Delaware. Field of study: Computer Science
          • Philipp Lee from Georgia Tech, Macon, Georgia, at LMU Munich. Field of study: Business Administration


          In the academic year 2014/2015, three exchange students from the USA had enrolled at LMU Munich:

          • Andrea S. Fox from Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire). Field of study: German Studies
          • Nadia Cumming from the University of the US State of Delaware. Subjects: German Studies, Literature, and Education.
          • Jackson Loop from the University of Gainesville, Florida. Field of study: history.
            They describe their experiences and adventures in: Brücke über den Ozean: Interview mit amerikanischen Gaststudenten über München >>

          Three students from Munich studied at American universities:

          • Sarah Ott at the University in Oberlin/Ohio. Subjects of study: English and History
          • Vinh-Minh Nguyen at Dartmouth College, Hanover/NH. Subjects: North American Studies and Theater
          • Simon Geissler at Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant. Subjects: Energy and Information
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