Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 27, 2020

Jennifer Petz, MA Candidate

Jennifer Petz, MA Candidate in International Environmental Governance at Universität Freiburg, Germany

By J. Douglas Guy

Jennifer PetzJennifer Petz graduated from SSU in 2018 with her B.A. in History and B.S in Geography after working in the departmental office for Holocaust Studies. At SSU Jennifer took all the available German languages courses through GER 202, but she was interested in going further. Thanks to a student exchange run by the American Studies Department, Jennifer won a scholarship to study for a semester at Universität Mannheim in southwest Germany. Living, working and studying in German for a semester convinced her that pursuing graduate work in Germany could be a realistic goal. She did her research, located and applied for the program in international environment governance she liked at Universität Freiburg and got admitted to a cohort of 30 international students in this degree program.

The MA program is taught in English, so English is the language used in class. She is one of five American students in the program but the only one with good communication skills in German, a skill that allows her to navigate life outside class. For fun and exercise she decided to join the campus lacrosse team but quickly found her skills outmatched those of her teammates. She then got recruited by a far more competitive club team in town where she has to use her German more actively. From the campus location on the Rhine River it’s easy to travel a short distance west to France, south to Switzerland or east to Bavaria.

Studying in Germany is a massive bargain. Jennifer’s tuition and fees in the state of Baden-Württemburg runs about 1,500 euros a semester (roughly $1710.00 a semester) and a dorm room costs roughly 200-300 euros a month. But universities in the other 15 states of Germany charge absolutely nothing for university tuition. Foreign students who meet the admissions requirements are free to come, study for free (or next to nothing) and go home with their degree and no debt. German law currently allows foreign students to work 180 days a year to cover living expenses.

This summer and fall Jennifer completed an internship in forest policy and development in New Hampshire and now returns to Germany to wrap up her M.A. program. With only her thesis left to finish, Jennifer should finish her M.A. in December 2020.

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