Study Abroad Student Spotlight

The student spotlight highlights the transformative experience Marquette students have abroad. Through the Office of International Education, students are able to participate on a range of programs.  From faculty-led to short term to yearlong study abroad experiences with varying topics that can fulfill major/degree requirements. Marquette sends 30% of students abroad on the 80+ partner programs we have available.  Ranging from the Latin America to Asia, Europe, and Oceania, Marquette students are crossing boundaries and seeking opportunities to help them enhance their intercultural competency levels. Check out our monthly student spotlight interview below!

May 2022

Rebekkah Scufsa, Philipps Marburg University, Spring 2022

The University of Marburg was founded in 1527. With about 22,000 students and 8,000 staff members, the school is one of Germany's medium-sized universities. Within walking distance from the university, you will find the university cafeteria and picturesque old city with its castle, cafés, boutiques, as well as movie theatres, museums, and theatres. Students will find their way around quickly.
While students at Marburg experience first-rate research and teaching, they also enjoy a peaceful environment. Anonymity and overcrowded lecture halls are uncommon at Philipps-Universität. Lecturers and students cherish Marburg mainly because of the historic town center, delightful landscape, and wide range of cultural activities. There are normally three cultural excursions held each semester, which are included in the program fee.

How did you come to the decision to apply to Philipps-Universität Marburg? What
stood out to you from this school when considering where to study abroad?

I applied for the Philipps Universität Marburg Program because I am a German minor
and knew I wanted to do a study abroad. It was hard to get a program that would fit in
with my major, biomedical engineering, and keep me on track to graduate. With being
ahead in credits and being a German minor, I was able to apply and participate in this
program without worrying about not doing engineering classes! This school is also in the
country I have dreamed about studying in, so that is why I applied.

You decided to study abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us
what your arrival process was like? Classroom/instruction?
The Covid-19 pandemic did make it hard to plan since there were so many unknowns,
but it all worked out! When I arrived in Germany, it had much stricter rules than in
America. I needed to show my vaccine card basically everywhere I went, I could only
wear FFP2 masks, and my first classes were unfortunately online. Now in the second part
of the semester everything has changed and the only place I have to wear a mask is in
the public transport. All of my classes are now in person, so my day consists of going to
class, the dining hall, and then doing something fun with my friends.

What are your biggest takeaways from your experience so far? What goals are
you still looking to accomplish or continue to work towards?

My biggest takeaways from the program so far are traveling and meeting new people. I
have been able to travel a lot, mostly around Germany, since my classes were online in
the first part of the semester. All of the trips have left me with lifelong memories with
new people that I had just met. The traveling has also taught me how to better use
public transport and problem solve in new environments. I have gotten the opportunity
to meet so many people, from other Americans in the same program as me to Germans
at my university. I hope to continue making new friendships and traveling new places for
the remainder of my trip!

What have been some of the highlights of this program/time abroad?

This program has already offered me so many lifelong memories. One of the highlights is
definitely meeting the other people in my program. I have created friendships with people from
all over America and gotten to know them so well. These are friendships that will definitely last a
very long time. Another highlight would be the Bayern Munich soccer game. I have dreamed
about going to a game for years now and have been a fan for a long time. It was probably one
of the top things on my bucket list, so being able to attend a home game in their stadium was a
dream come true. There has been so many other highlights and good memories, but
unfortunately, I can’t go on forever.

Advice to other prospective study abroad students?

My advice to other prospective study abroad students is do it. You may think you will be
missing out on your college experience by leaving for a semester or a year, but it is
worth it. The experiences you have and the people you meet will be a once in a lifetime
opportunity. You may never get the chance to live in another country and have these
experiences, so why pass it up. Advice for once you are on study abroad is to be open
to everything. Try new foods, meet new people, and go places you have never heard of.
Being open will make the experience so much more memorable and allow you to enjoy
the culture and country way more.