profiles of AMS students:
The Global Stride program
allows to apply their stipends toward
study-abroad costs or intensive language programs. As part
of the Global Stride scholarship, the fellows interviewed
and profiled international students in the college’s
graduate program in American Studies, to help familiarize
them with people who have made cultural transitions.
The Gate is publishing
their profiles in an occasional series.
By Bailey O'Connor
'16, Global Stride Fellow
GR (on left) and Rosalin Happe GR,
American Studies Diploma program
Sabine Milger, a graduate student
in the one-year American Studies (AMS) Diploma Program this
year, didn’t know what to expect of a women’s college before
coming to Smith. She and fellow AMS graduate student Rosalin
Happe, both of whom graduated from the University of Hamburg,
Germany, had lived abroad before, but the American college
experience—and a women’s college, which they hadn’t seen
in Germany—was very different from their undergraduate experience.
It didn’t take long, after their arrival at Smith last August,
to realize just how different Smith is from Hamburg.
load, for one thing. In Hamburg, a normal course load is
eight to 10 classes at a time, but with much less work per
class than at Smith, they explained.
relationships are much closer at Smith, where students are
encouraged to talk directly with their professors when they
need help, instead of being referred to a tutor.
Happe are both impressed with the freedom in the Smith curriculum.
In Germany, after selecting a major and minor during the
first year of undergraduate study, it is difficult to change,
and the majority of classes are within those fields.
women also enjoy the community at Smith, with its lively
campus life. In Hamburg, very few students live on campus.
Milger and Happe both miss aspects
of home. Both students miss their friends and families, of
course, but Happe is particularly reminiscent of Hamburg,
her hometown. Milger, a dedicated athlete, misses her gym
and weight room, as well as Hamburg University’s dining halls, which are open all
day and serve a variety of dishes at all times.
Smith, Milger aims to further her goal of being a sports
and ESL [English as a Second Language] teacher. She competes
on the Smith Pioneers swim team and appreciates all Smith
sports, regularly watching lacrosse practice. Seeing her
teammates around campus and eating meals together helps draw
the team closer, she notes.
Happe’s main academic focus is
on American contemporary literature. Some of her favorite
authors, she says, are all the rage in the American Studies
Department at Hamburg: Paul Auster, Jonathan Franzen, Richard
Powers, and Jonathan Safran Foer.
Happe goes to the gym every
day to practice yoga, and joined the Smithy choir. As a participant
in multiple activities on campus, she appreciates the breadth
of resources and opportunities, such as the gym and German
language lunch tables, and the German Culture Club.
women hope to return to Smith after completing their AMS
program. First, Happe plans to return to Hamburg next year
to finish her master’s degree.
And Milger? “I love Smith,” she
says. “I want to stay!”