The student exchange between the University of Minnesota and Freie Universität (Free University) in Berlin is the oldest continuous exchange program at the University of Minnesota. Johannes Lenschow (political science) and Jannik Reitenbach (American politics and history) are German students studying at the University of Minnesota this year as part of the Minnesota-FU exchange.
Q: What are you studying at the U of M?
Johannes: Mainly political science classes. I am taking "government and markets" this semester and I took "global institutions of power: IMF, World Bank and WTO" last semester.
Jannik: I've mostly taken courses on American politics. The Department of Political Science offers so many interesting courses that I could never have taken in Germany (Supreme Court, Political Psychology, the role of religion in the founding of the U.S.).
Q: Why did you decide to come to the U of M?
Johannes: The offered study programs and courses sounded interesting and promising. Also the U is a quite prestigious university in the U.S., and I had the impression that the Twin Cities would be a nice metro area to live in.
Q: What has surprised you about Minnesota?
Johannes: To be honest, I did not know a lot of things about Minnesota before I got here. I think it is an underrated state, as people from outside the U.S. mainly focus on the east and west coasts. I was surprised how liberal and diverse the Twin Cities actually are.
Q: What will you miss when you go home?
Johannes: The vibrant campus life. The extent to which the life and activities on campus unfold at the U have astonished me, but I have been enjoying it a lot.
Jannik: All the friends I made in Minneapolis. People really are Minnesota nice here!
Q: What would you tell other FU students who might want to come to Minnesota?
Jannik: If you choose Minnesota, bring a warm coat, don't miss the state fair, and definitely enroll for one of the camping trips offered by the Outdoor Center. Canoeing in the Boundary Waters was maybe the best experience I had, and I saw more bald eagles than I could count.
See photos from the 60th anniversary celebration of the Minnesota-FU exchange in 2012.
Date Published: February 2015