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Volume 13, Edition 4: January/February 2013

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Student Highlight: Miriam Wilder, University of Hohenheim, Germany

Miriam Wilder, international exchange student from the University of Hohenheim, Germany

This semester, UNCG and IPC welcomed 102 new and returning international exchange students to our campus. One of them is Miriam Wilder, a senior Business and Economics major from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. Miriam has been on exchange at UNCG since August 2013, and so far, she has had a very positive experience. “I feel there is strong community here, both on and off campus,” she says. “I am very involved in the community back home, so that was very important when I was choosing where I wanted to study abroad.” UNCG’s diverse campus and wide range of departments and programs were also major factors in her decision to study at our university, as it offered a different experience from that of her home university. “The biggest differences between UNCG and Hohenheim are the size of the campus and the number of departments,” she says. “We have excellent departments but the curriculum at Hohenheim is more focused on the three major departments—Agricultural Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Business, Economics, and Social Sciences.”

Since arriving last fall, Miriam has made sure to make the most of her own experience here. One of the highlights so far has been participating in the X-Culture Symposium, which was held last October in Atlanta, GA, and hosted by the Home Depot. X-Culture, a project designed by Dr. Vas Taras (Assistant Professor, Department of Management), pulls together business students from universities worldwide to work on theoretical case studies for multinational corporations. As part of the symposium, Miriam participated in the Home Depot Challenge, a business competition in which participating students were divided into teams and asked to complete a business proposal. The teams collaborated online for several weeks before presenting their proposals in person at the conference. The competition provided Miriam with hands-on, practical experience, and the chance to meet students from all around the world.

Miriam Wilder (left) with her Home Depot Challenge teammates at the X-Culture Symposium in Atlanta, GA

The Export Odyssey, an International Marketing course taught by Dr. Nicholas Williamson (Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality, and Tourism), also provided Miriam with practical experience. As part of the class, Miriam and her team had to write an export strategy for a company in North Carolina to help them sell their products to companies overseas. “This was the best research I’ve done in my studies so far,” she said. “It was great to work on an international scale and get practical, real-world experience.” The class also had an impact on her post-graduation plans. “It brought me closer to the idea of working between Germany and the US,” she says.

If you’re a UNCG student and are interested in studying abroad in Germany, Miriam says the University of Hohenheim is a great option. “We have a really beautiful campus and a great location,” she says. “The Business school is renowned for its outstanding program, and our Natural Sciences and Agricultural departments are strong as well. Any degree from Hohenheim will look good on the job market.” The university is also very supportive of its international exchange students. As part of its exchange program, the university has a “Buddy Program” (similar to our PAL program) which pairs each international exchange student with a “buddy” who acts as their go-to resource during their stay. While still at Hohenheim, Miriam was a buddy for three semesters. She was paired with two students from Australia and one from Russia and helped them in a variety of ways, including picking them up from the airport, helping them move in to their apartments, showing them around campus, and introducing them to friends.

In addition to university life, Miriam says the surrounding city of Stuttgart is also a good place to live and work. The city is known for its high-tech industry, and is home to many prominent automobile companies, including Porsche, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz. “The city also has great public transportation,” she says. “And the food is really good. That’s one of the things I miss most.” Among her favorite foods are traditional German bread and pastries and Swabian dishes, such as Maultaschen, or pasta pillows filled with meat, spinach, onion, and bread.

Miriam would like to encourage everyone to go abroad on exchange. “In business, we’re always being told to think outside of the box. Well, that’s what exchange is like,” she says. “I think everyone should go on exchange—it’s a great way to get out of your box and do something different. It’s an opportunity that may never come up again, and you have to ask yourself, ‘If not now, when?’”

Interested in studying abroad? Please contact us at ipc@uncg.edu or call (336) 334-5404.

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