While West Germany and East Germany became a single nation only last Wednesday, administrators and faculty said this week they have been making preparations for the merger for several months. For example, as a result of German unity, students can expect new places to study abroad. And faculty say they have already incorporated the changes into their classes. International Programs director Joyce Randolph travelled to Berlin this summer as part of a German Studies Group which is attempting to "link up" the University with German institutions -- making it possible for University students to study in the new Germany. "One of the reasons we were considering Berlin, of course, was because it is on the very frontiers of stuff, the cutting edge of what is happening with reunification," she explained. According to Randolph, reunification has brought a special urgency to looking into cooperative possibilities with German institutions. She added that the effort is part of the provost's long-range plan for "internationalization" of the University. Randolph added that these links may culminate in several faculty as well as student exchanges with the new German state, exchanges which should also bring more German students here. "Generally, what I've been hearing about East German universities is that many of the students would love to study in the West," she said. "But they have real financial difficulties." But the University is also taking steps to increase the number of applicants from Germany and other European nations. Director of International Admissions Elisabeth O'Connell is currently in Europe to recruit new students for the University. O'Connell, responding by fax from Belgium earlier this week, said that there are currently 19 German undergraduates at the University, all from what was previously West Germany. She said that reunification means the pool of potential applicants will grow to include students from now-defunct East Germany. "For the future I see us visiting Berlin, which will emerge as a key city with 'Eastern' Germans as well," O'Connell said. "We haven't visited in the past but I see us doing this." Still, the University will probably not receive a flood of East German students in the immediate future. O'Connell said she visited Germany last year and plans to return next year, but is trying to recruit from other European countries on this trip. Also, according to International Program's Randolph, plans have not been finalized for the links with German universities. "No decision has been made about whether or not we are going to pursue the possibility specifically with Berlin," she said. "But it's an indication of the fact that the faculty are interested, the provost is looking towards some of the ramifications of German reunification, and so are some of the people in our office." In the meantime, students can expect several classes to change in response to the rapid chain of events in Germany. "I've added several lectures on this to my EEC class," said Political Science assistant professor Michaela Richter, who teaches the class "The European Economic Community in 1992." And, according to German professor Frank Trommler, there is an increased popularity for German classes as students grudgingly decide that learning German may help their careers. "In general, I would say that for Americans to engage in foreign language is not really so attractive," Trommler said. "At the same time, with Europe being more important, some have brushed it up."Comments powered by Disqus
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