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Intern Spotlight: Meet Melanie Malsch!

Hallo! I’m Melanie, I’m a junior at Pitt. I’m double majoring in International and Area Studies and Environmental Studies and minoring in German. There’s no better place to learn about all three of these topics than Berlin, so I spent my entire sophomore year there taking courses in European foreign affairs, energy policy, and intensive German. I took seminar-style classes at Freie Universität Berlin through their European Studies (FUBEST) program taught by German professors.

One of my favorite parts of the program was how strongly FUBEST stressed the importance of cultural/outside-the-classroom learning by providing several levels of excursions. We took German class field trips frequently, participated in at least one Friday excursion each week, and embarked on a weeklong trip halfway through the semester. Listing the all the course excursions would take a while, but some highlights include: attending a talk by a former German Ambassador at the German Foreign Ministry, shopping at the Gendarmenmarkt at Christmastime, and visiting the Soviet War Memorial on Victory Day. The Friday field trips I joined included a tour of Sachsenhausen – a concentration camp outside Berlin – and a visit to the Bundeskanzleramt –the German Federal Chancellery (yes, I did see Angela Merkel!). During my fall excursion week, I got to learn all about the European Union in Brussels and Dutch history in the Netherlands. In the spring, I was able to take an architectural tour of Munich and the royal palaces of Vienna. These excursions richly contributed to what I was learning in my classes and taught me so much about Berlin, Germany, and Europe.

As wonderful as my study abroad term was, I’m so excited to be back at Pitt, and I’m especially excited to be interning at the Study Abroad Office. I enjoy sharing my own experience, and I love learning about our programs and helping other students find the right one for them. When I’m not advising students, I work on an alumni relations project that focuses on building a network of past study abroad participants. Whether they graduated years ago and their study abroad is a distant memory, or just recently entered the working world; whether they went to study a language or pursue their major; whether they studied in a Western or non-Western country – one thing they all share is how many opportunities opened up for them as a result of their experience. Stop by the office on Monday mornings or Wednesday and Friday afternoons – I’m always happy to offer wisdom, answer questions, provide moral support, or practice some German with you!