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Computer Science and German Studies double majors Jalena Austin and Dylan Mctigue intern in Germany

This summer, the CofC Cultural Vistas Summer internship to Germany has placed two Computer Science and German Studies double majors at fabulous internships in Germany! Jalena Austin ’24 is doing coding for the European Institute for Participatory Media in Berlin, while Dylan Mctigue ’25 was placed at the Baden Württemberg state office for sustainable mobility in Karlsruhe, where he is working with his team on rating the walkability and bikeability of micro-regions around the state.

Jalena (left) at her desk in the heart of Berlin, using both her coding skills and her German!

Dylan McTigue is excited to be applying his skill set as a computer scientist to sustainability initiatives in Karlsuhe in Southeast Germany!

Rhi Wilkinson ’25 (International Studies and German Studies) on her exchange year at the University of Tübingen

International Studies and German Studies major Rhi Wilkinson has been participating in a year-long exchange with the University of Tübingen during her junior year at CofC. Now in her final months, we asked her to look back on the year thus far and share a bit about the experience. Read on below the picture for her summary!

living the dream in the beautiful university city of Tübingen

“For my junior year, I chose to go abroad at the Universität Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg to reconnect with German culture and immerse myself in a way that would allow me to reach personal fluency goals with the German language. Upon arriving in September 2023, I had the opportunity to take part in a pre-semester German intensive language course, Deutsch Kompakt, where I met some of my closest friends and thoroughly improved my speaking, writing, and listening German skills. This course took place one month before the winter semester began in October, and thus we had ample time to become acquainted with the city and each other before adjusting to German university life. Once classes began, I realized very quickly that they were much different than the ones I had previously taken at CofC. For one, there was much less homework to do each week, and most classes only met once a week for group instruction. My classes were both in English and in German depending on the subject of the course; most international courses were taught in English and most everything else took place in German. Some of my favorite classes I took while at the Universität Tübingen included “Introductory seminar Das Monströse und das Andere in der mittelalterlichen Literatur Islands und Englands”, “The Beatles and America (post-1900)”, “Das politische Systems Deutschlands” and “Global Learning Abroad – Education in Exchange”. Whether intentionally in the syllabi or not, I thoroughly expanded my knowledge and perception of what it means to study and apply myself within German culture throughout all of my courses. What’s unique about my courses here was that at the end of the semester I could choose whether or not I wanted to sit for an exam or write a term paper to earn the right amount of ECTS. If I didn’t feel confident taking an exam or need the extra credit points for writing a term paper, I could simply opt out of either with no penalty to my grade or status as a student. Thus, I could also sit in on other courses (when there were enough open seats) that interested me even when they didn’t apply directly to my course of studies. I found this made my academic experience here at the university much more relaxed and allowed me to pursue anything that may have peaked my interest.”

Rhi presents on her research at the international workshop, “Der interaktive Blick:
Überwachungsbilder in digitalen Spielen und anderen Medien” in March at the University of Tübingen

“Outside of academics, the small town of Tübingen had much to offer. While most international students opt to room in the international student village at Waldhauser-Ost, I was lucky enough to live in the city center during my entire stay. Through my housing arrangement, I made good friends with my roommates and even took on a “Mini-Job” as a waitress at a local Swabish restaurant, Bären. My job was not time consuming at all, and I was able to work without a Visa since I was not making more than 500€ a month. This was another great opportunity to practice my German in a non-academic environment and make friends with my coworkers. Although Tübingen is quite a “hilly” city, I bought a bike for a reasonable price off Facebook marketplace which made getting around a bit easier. When the weather was nice, my friends and I enjoyed grabbing a döner and sitting along the Neckar river while watching people travel up and down the river in Stockerkahns, kayaks, or on paddleboards. While I was also afforded many travel opportunities around Europe during my year abroad, I found that it was most wonderful to get to know the city of Tübingen and the other students living there. Towards the end of my year abroad, I decided to stay mostly local and developed a true connection with Tübingen and the friends I made while here. I would recommend this experience to anyone, but also advise having an open mind before coming here. The environment and culture is much different than what I previously knew in the U.S., and took some time getting used to. However, if you really commit to the experience in its entirety, you will also leave Germany like I did, wishing it possible to stay a few more months.”

Shane Love ’25 (German Studies and Supply Chain Management) interns in Logistics at Mercedes-Benz Vans

Congratulations to German Studies and Supply Chain Major Shane Love, a rising senior at CofC, who just began a six-month internship in Logistics at Mercedes-Benz Vans. The internship is an exciting next step in a journey Shane began in German 101 in the FYE learning community on German Business his freshman year and continued with annual visits to the German-American Business Summit and an internship in Berlin through CofC’s Cultural Vistas Internship program to Germany in summer 2023.

Over my past three years at CofC the German program has provided me so much perspective in which direction I wanted my career to go!

Now, three years on from German 101, I’ve just completed my first week of a 6-onth internship at Mercedes-Benz Vans, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve enjoyed integrating myself into the logistics division, and the whole organization is so diverse, and incredibly welcoming. There is a lot to learn, but my very talented co-workers are always willing to take the time to help me understand. It is something special, being in an organization where the people care so deeply about our final product. It’s almost surreal, being so close to production, and seeing “the magic happen” firsthand. Plus, I understand and can communicate with my German coworkers in German, which happens a lot!

Shane Love on the first day of his internship at the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in North Charleston

Jeffrey Werth ’25, double major in German Studies and Systems Engineering, participates in semester-long co-op at the BMW Group Headquarters in Munich.

This spring, German Studies and Systems Engineering double major Jeffrey Werth is completing an immersive 7-month combined study and co-op experience in Munich, Germany! It began with a six-week intensive language course at the Goethe Institute in Munich and has now transitioned to a 5-month internship at BMW in Munich!

In the summer of 2023 after his sophomore year, Jeffrey interned in the Purchasing and Supplier Network Americas department at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, impressed his team with his growing German skills, seized the opportunity to participate in longer co-op experience in Munich at corporate headquarters in Munich this spring, and is now paving the way for a unique experiential study and internship semester abroad for future Engineering, Computer Science, and Business majors at CofC!

“I had a great experience at my 6-week Goethe Institute language course. It was a total immersion program that allowed my German proficiency to reach a sufficient level to start my Co-Op at BMW. Since starting at BMW all of my colleagues have pushed me to improve my German, and I am now able to use it every day!

My time at BMW is not only dramatically expanding my German skills, but also the engineering aspect of my education. Working within BMW’s strategic purchasing department has given me firsthand experience with how BMW develops its global supply chain. This has deepened my understanding of how systems engineering is applied to establish strong supply chains through careful design and decision making!”

Jeffrey Werth ’25 (Systems Engineering and German Studies) interns with BMW in Spartanburg

While a group of our German Studies majors intern in Germany this summer, others are gaining valuable experience and using their German right here in South Carolina! Systems Engineering and German Studies double major Jeffrey Werth ’25 has been entering with the Purchasing Department of BMW in Spartanburg, SC, the largest BMW plant in the world!

“I have been working as a vehicle launch engineering intern helping to digitalize and automate data management processes involved with BMW’s vehicle launch process. This involves utilizing software development skills, supply chain management, and value stream mapping design. I have also made use of my German conversation skills with my many German coworkers.”

The “M” symbol, Jeffrey tells us, is the performance vehicle logo at BMW.

Andreas Dilling ’24 (Computer Science and German Studies) interns at Robert Bosch Gmbh in Plochingen

This summer, Computer Science and German Studies double major Andreas Dilling is interning at Bosch in Plochingen, Germany (near Stuttgart). Andreas has been working with the vehicle diagnostics software team, or “diax team,” where he has been pursuing a project to help the team specialize their vehicle diagnostics. He’s been having a wonderful experience and is learning a lot!

Claire Beck ’23 (Urban Studies and German Studies) interns at the non-profit “Nachbarschaft” in Kreuzberg, Berlin

Urban Studies major and German Studies minor Claire Beck ’23 is interning this summer at the Nachbarschaft Community Center in Kreuzberg, Berlin. As part of her work for Nachbarschaft, Claire has been running the Kiez Cafe in a local park that offers, among other things, a clothing pantry for the homeless.

Her biggest project this summer has involved organizing meetings with the construction firm that is renovating public housing in the neighborhood. Claire has been working as an intermediary between the residents and the construction company to make sure that the residents have a voice in the process and to ensure it meets community needs. She is loving the internship and having a wonderful experience, as internship program director Stephen Della Lana learned on his site visit last week!

Alex Jennings ’23 (International Business and German) interns in video production in Berlin

International Business and German Studies double major Alex Jennings is currently interning for a start up called “Happy Nation” in Berlin, doing all of their video work to promote their App “Wellness U.” Alex has been doing every aspect of the filming, including scripting, filming, and editing for the company.

Alex tells us that his German has been improving dramatically after four weeks of language training, living with a German host family in May, and now his daily meetings and conversations with his team at Happy Nation. Stay tuned: he is also planning to edit a video about his experience on the internship and share it with us all this fall!

Alex at a team meeting with his boss in the Staatsbibliothek Berlin.

Supply Chain and German Studies major Shane Love ’25 interns at Kronos Packaging in Berlin

Shane Love, a Supply Chain and German Studies double major at CofC, is having a tremendous experience at Kronos packaging in Berlin this summer. He has been working in materials resourcing, competitor pricing and merchandising and alsolearning product sales, all in all-German workplace that is bringing his language proficiency to new heights!

Shane is learning a great deal at his internship but also loving the camaraderie of his cohort of fellow CofC students on the program this summer, who all took a four-week language course at the Carl Duisburg institute in Berlin in May and are now on different internship placements thought Berlin and the country: “I’ve been very lucky to share this experience with such a fantastic group of people. Each of us brings something unique to the table, and each of us has been super supportive of each other throughout.”

Summer Internship to Germany program director Stephen Della Lana aka Herr DL stopped by Kronos Packaging to see Shane and visit with his manager as part of his annual tour of site visits.

Julia Rhyne ’25 (Music and German Studies) interns at Berliner Philharmonie Media

CofC Music major and German Studies Minor Julia Rhyne is enjoying her fabulous internship at Berlin Phil Media, the social media arm of the world-renowned Berliner Philharmoniet. Julia is part of a team managing the Philharmonie’s social media presence and digital content and has been helping with English language localization of German content.

Julia is loving the internship and also enjoying the amazing view from her office, which is nothing short of magnificent: at the top floor overlooking Leipziger Platz 1. To put it in US-American terms: she has the equivalent of a view of time square while working at the media arm of a cultural institution as revered as the New York Metropolitan Opera!