Sac State surprises foreign exchange students

Justyce Mirjanovic

For those who grew up in Sacramento, they might wonder why someone from another country would choose to study abroad in a place like this. With so many other options, such as New York or San Francisco, Sacramento can seem very small and not so exciting.

Although Sacramento may seem dull to those who live here, the city still has its perks. It is close to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite and can bring a rather unique college experience because the students are very involved in campus activities.

“Wherever the ball landed I’d go,” said Guy Bortz, a business major from Australia. “I wasn’t going to do much research on it because every place has its own experience, some people will love a place, some people will hate a place.”

Bortz attends University of Technology, Sydney in Australia and said it is amongst one of the better schools in Sydney.

“I came for the college experience and I feel, yes, maybe there are other universities that could have done it better, but I’m not looking at it that way,” Bortz said.

In Australia, students do not have to take any general education classes, except about their area of study. The first year of school is general education about the major of choice and the rest of the years focusing just on the major.

“For instance, if someone said, ‘What are you studying?’ my degree is business, but my major is marketing,” Bortz said.

Franzi Bausch, a communication studies major,who attends the University of Tuebingen in Germany, said they do not have to take any general education classes and their school is practically free besides some administration fees.

“Here you have much more of an opportunity to choose whatever you want to choose and my field of study [school back home] is more like ‘Okay do this’,” Bausch said.

In Germany, there are no quizzes or homework. Students are expected to study all semester long and pass the final exam, which is the only test. Not only is school practically free, but they do not have to buy books.

“Most lectures don’t require a book and if you need a book, [the] library has it,” said Julius Dueker, economics and business major from Germany.

Dueker attends University of Ulm in Germany, which is one of the newer schools.

Alexis Tromas, a government major who attends the Catholic University of Paris, said it is a private school and 70 percent of the students are women.

“[It is] not one of the best universities of Paris, but it’s one of the most famous so that’s pretty cool,” Tromas said.

One thing all of these countries have in common is they do not require students to take general education classes. They are more strict when it comes to school and a student studies only in their field.

Sacramento State offers a college experience that these students do not receive at their schools back home. In Germany the buildings are spread out around the city for the older schools, but some of the newer schools have a campus.

“Campus life is really really different,” Dueker said. “Here the people are more like [likely to] live on campus and do stuff on campus, there are activities and we [students in Germany] just go to our classes, not much more.”

A lot of people would have rather gone to a city, such as San Francisco to go to school, but Sacramento can be fun because it is close to the city and the snow.

“Apparently at San Fran they got 700 exchange students, where as here we have 70 and we all get on [along] with each other and it’s nice that way,” Bortz said.

Tromas said he likes how Sac State is near the center of the city, and he looked for that when choosing a school to study at. He said knew he did not want to go to Southern California because it is greener here and the people are nicer.

“We don’t have a campus because it’s Paris and there’s not any space,” Tromas said. “So here, I really wanted like the campus life and having like a big city near it. I expected Sac to be bigger and more active.”

These four students agreed while they are here in Sacramento, they want to experience everything possible. They would like to get to know the area and travel as much as they can.

“Just see what happens and do everything you can do,” Bausch said.

A few of the students have already had the chance to go Yosemite and San Francisco. They would like to continuing traveling, but they do not have that much time left in Sacramento.

“[I] just want to try like the cliche [stuff] I have [heard] about America and stuff I really can’t do in France,” Tromas said.

Last week, they had a chance to go line dancing, which is something they would have never done back home.

“I really like the mentality of the people here and maybe it’s a Northern California thing,” Bausch said.