By Dana Stout
RACC student takes her management studies overseas to learn German business models.
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to live in another country where you do not speak the language, know their culture, and suddenly change your surroundings overnight? I have thought about this and how strange it must seem, but had never experienced it in my lifetime, until now.
My name is Dana Stout and I am currently studying abroad at the European School of Business at Reutlingen University, in Reutlingen, Germany. I am also a non-traditional student at RACC, which is where and how I had the chance to apply for this wonderful opportunity. After being affected by corporate downsizing nearly three years ago, I decided to finally pursue my degree in Business Administration, never doubting for one minute that I would at least get my Associate’s degree at RACC and hopefully transfer from there. It has really been both an interesting and very rewarding experience having the opportunity to pursue my education full-time, while working part-time as a work-study student the past two years. At Reading Area Community College, I have been involved in the Leadership Program, a member and past President of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and also a student in the Honors Program. I have also had the pleasure to be a part of the RACCy Olympics the past two years, helping to raise several hundred dollars each year to benefit a local charity or organization. Those rewards are immeasurable!
The opportunity to study abroad first came about on a flyer that was hanging in Penn Hall on the second floor, where many business classes are held. It was also mentioned by Wendy Bonn, the instructor I had for accounting that semester, that there was an opportunity to compete for a business scholarship with the Higher Education Council of Berks County, which includes the four other colleges in the Berks County area. Two scholarships are awarded every year, and this year a student from Albright College and I were chosen to receive the scholarship. This was an honor for which I will be eternally grateful.
A little over a month ago, I arrived in Germany, funded by a veneer company founded in Germany called Danzer. As part of their sponsorship, I will be attending an honorary dinner for the company’s founder, Karl Danzer, in two weeks. The other day on the train from Reutlingen, I finally caught a glimpse of the Danzer campus; hopefully next time I will be able to get a picture of it.
Now that I have been here a few weeks, settled into my apartment, and begun to study the language, it is feeling much more comfortable. Actually, I am discovering things about living here that I thought I might not like at first, such as stopping off for groceries on an almost daily basis. The same goes for the transportation system as well. I am completely accustomed to having my car to do nearly every errand I must run back in the U.S. I am actually enjoying either the walks to the stores, or the bus stop, or taking the train to certain places too.
While here, I will be studying International Business, Lean Management, and a few other courses, including German. The language program, although challenging, is very interesting, and I also love learning about the culture here. During the International Business classes, I will have a chance to tour both Audi and Daimler and learn about the process of making an automobile from start to finish, while being able to witness first-hand some of the efficiency being taught in the Lean Management course as well.
Soon after my arrival here, the college took us on an excursion to Hohenzollern Castle, about 40 km away from Reutlingen. Later that same day, we visited the neighboring city of Tubingen along the beautiful Neckar River.
Well, that’s all for now! I will be sharing regular updates about every two weeks after I post the next couple of adventures that we did throughout September. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather over in Berks County! Tschuss!