Willamette World News

Willamette World News

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Hey there, or in German: Hallo!

My name is Jasmin Egger and I am studying at Willamette during the spring semester of 2015. I am from Austria. Austria – in Europe – is close to Germany and Switzerland, so from the stereotypical American point of view, it is close to everywhere else in Europe, too! Austria should also not be mistaken with Australia because, unfortunately, we don’t have kangaroos or koalas (which, by the way, are my favorite animals!) there.

I am 22 years old and I am studying English and American Studies and Art History back home. Here at Willamette, I am taking an English class, a Women’s and Gender Studies class and a Media Studies class, which I totally wanted to try since I’ve started working for a newspaper back home and really like it. Oh and not to forget, I’m taking CrossFit which is the hardest kind of workout I’ve ever done in my life! After the first two sessions, when I had a hard time getting out of bed because of the soreness, I considered quitting. However, I didn’t and now it’s actually (almost :D) fun to do it as a group and see the progress.

So far, I have enjoyed it very much here in Oregon. The weather feels like spring already, which I appreciate so much because I am not a winter person at all! As I am an Austrian, I unfortunately need to take the issue of winter very seriously every year and try to put on as many layers of clothes as possible during the months of November – March. I try to find solace in the thought that winter only takes 5 months and so the bigger part of the year is spring, summer and fall. That’s my own little calculation to cheer myself up! The campus at Willamette is really nice and I find studying “the American way,” with everything students need on campus and don’t have the need to (theoretically) ever leave the campus, really comfortable and interesting.

Needless to say, the best part of my time here definitely is the traveling. I love traveling and have always wanted to live in a foreign country for a longer time. Since I’ve been here, I already went on a few trips with my fellow exchange students like a visit to Portland or the Oregon coast.

When I came here in January, there was actually only one little thing that I recognized as “culture shock” and that was the friendliness of the people. In Austria, it is not common to talk to strangers more than necessary, whereas in the U.S. most people just have such a positive attitude and start chatting with you in the most random places like elevators, public transport or at the checkout. There is a German saying that goes something like “A friendly word costs nothing” and I feel that most Americans seem to follow it much better than people back home do. By now, I think I’m already quite used to the friendliness, and I will probably experience reverse culture shock when I’m going home where no one even tries to be friendly. This must sound now as if I didn’t like my home country at all, which is not true. Of course, it also has its good sides but in terms of friendliness, Austrians could definitely learn a thing or two from the people here.

Apart from traveling and following all kinds of animals (like the squirrels at Willamette) to take pictures of them, I like to spend my days hanging out with friends, being in the nature, or when it’s not that warm (as mentioned, I hate the cold!) watching TV shows. My favorites at the moment are Pretty Little Liars, Suits, and of course: Orange is the New Black!

I hope you got an impression now of what I’m up to and I’m looking forward to contribute some articles this semester to the Willamette World News!

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