Students from Hof, Germany, were at Weber State University this week as a part of a sister-city program, which allows students from both countries to study abroad. The students came from the University of Applied Sciences of Hof to Utah for 10 days. They will leave on Monday.
A tuition exchange makes this partnership possible. Students will pay tuition to their universities, making it cheaper to study abroad. This is the oldest sister-city program in Ogden and was established in 1954.
“Business is global; there is no question about it that our students need to understand how business works in other places,” said Jeff Steagall, the dean of the College of Business and Economics. “There is really only way to do it: You’ve got to go there and see it.”
The students were able to attend some classes at WSU, including a strategic management and an international business class. All of the students who came to WSU are studying business in school.
The students went to Utah businesses and learned about how American businesses work in comparison to German businesses. They were also able to go to places such as Snowbasin and Antelope Island and watch the WSU orchestra rehearse.
Katharina Klug, one of the students from Germany, said she came to America with some stereotypes in mind that she no longer believes.
“We actually thought we wouldn’t get any fresh food or something, like vegetables, but indeed the food is quite rich and delicious.”
Klug said the classes are similar to the ones they have in Hof; the class structure and the size of the classes are similar. She said WSU is bigger than their college. She also said they were impressed by the facilities, such as the bowling alley and the Starbucks.
“All of us really enjoyed the landscape, the mountains,” said Helen Schlott, another one of the visiting students. “We have mountains in Germany and especially near Hof, but you can’t compare; it’s just different.”
As part of the partnership, the students were able to stay with host families while in Utah. Klug said staying with the host families was different than staying with someone in Germany.
“In Germany, they will prepare you tea, they will prepare you breakfast and everything,” she said. “Here, it’s just like, ‘It’s your home.’ For us in the beginning, it was a little bit strange. It’s absolutely friendly and warmhearted; it’s a good thing, actually.”
WSU students will have the opportunity to go to Hof as well. Steagall said it would be a good experience for them.
“First, (it’s important) that they experience something different from what they’re going to get back here,” Steagall said, “(and) also to meet friends who will be their friends for the rest of their lives, and that is something that always happens with study abroad.”
Steagall said the College of Business and Economics is planning to send more students between Utah and Hof. WSU also has a partnership with countries such as France, Belgium, China and South Korea, and is also starting a program through which undergraduates can also study abroad. Over spring break in 2013, the undergraduates will have the opportunity to go to Italy.