Major: World Economy and Business
Class of 2019
Correction: An earlier version of this profile incorrectly attributed authorship to Rebecca Slavik. We regret the error.
Abbey Sanders welcomes me into her room at the German House residence hall, opening her interview with a typical German greeting, “Willkommen!” A current fifth year, International Studies major with a focus in German Language, much of her student career has been spent formulating an interdisciplinary approach to the study of global cooperation, specifically with regards to America’s relationship to Germany.
Sanders' studied abroad in Dresden two summers ago. It was not her first international experience; she had moved with her family to multiple locations across the world, and it had a profound impact on how she viewed herself and others. She was awarded the Keith and Linda Monda International Experience Scholarship which helped alleviate the cost of the study abroad program. “There’s something about exchanging cultures and being put in that type of environment, that just reveals so much about people,” she recounts, remembering her experience eating at German restaurants, exploring new cities and visiting historic landmarks. “I really enjoy learning about people and where they’re from, […] it’s important to share your story, and let others know what you’ve been through and what perspectives you bring.”
While abroad, Sanders learned of the German House opportunity from other German House residents, who thought it would be a good fit for her. The Max Kade German House serves as a home and provides her access to other students studying the language, where she can learn about German cultural opportunities from the Resident Advisor and comfortably live as an upperclassman in a house setting on campus.
One of the things she loved most from the house experience has been getting to know other students and how they’ve developed their love of the world and why languages matter to them. “The person in the room next to me has been learning German since high school, the girl in the attic wants to use it to conduct research in German as a professor one day, and our resident advisor learned it when she lived abroad at fifteen and is combining it with a third language - it’s so neat to meet these people and be able to share in their success,” she said. She notes that there is always the opportunity to bring these personalities together at the dining room table while studying or in the kitchen while cooking food.
Every Friday an event takes place in the house known as Kaffestunde. “Basically, German Teaching Assistants come in with coffee and small treats and invite all German students to come in and speak in German to one another,” she said, observing that people of all levels arrive and formulate bonds with one another through the mutual language. Abbey continues her German courses in the meantime and focuses on relationships with faculty. She always goes over her homework and quizzes in order to make sure she’s devoting everything she can to the language.
This current year will be Abbey’s last at both the German House and Ohio State, and she looks forward to where the future will take her. She hopes to use what she’s learned in International Studies and the German Language to focus on a career that allows her to use interpersonal and language skills in order to bring people together. Of course, this is much like the role she serves within the House as a connector, bringing together different people through her openness and kindness in order to engage everyone in their shared interest of German.