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December, 2013

Trading places

German exchange fosters academic, cultural connections

By Randall Delaney

German exchange student Renke Langerenken is carrying on a family tradition while studying and soaking up culture in the United States.

Langerenken, a Gateway student, participates in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange.

“It was my dream to stay in the U.S. for a year because my dad, my aunt and my uncle (stayed) here for a year in their younger age, too,” Langerenken said.

The exchange is a program that Gateway promotes as an opportunity for its student as well. Now in its 30th year, the exchange was designed to strengthen the connection between the younger generation in Germany and in the United States. The program has enabled more than 3,500 young professionals to trade countries with their counterparts to live, study and work for a year in a foreign environment.

This is Langerenken’s third time in the States and he said he loves the people, the country and the food.

“I like it here,” he said. “All the people are so friendly and so helpful.”

Langerenken is part of a program called Culturas Vistas, which connected him with Gateway and his host family. He is one of 75 German scholarship recipients who will study at a select group of 58 colleges in 30 states and complete an internship in his career field. He also will complete a community service project of his choice during the Fall semester. As part of the year-long program, Langerenken will attend seminars in New York City and in Washington, D.C.

Langerenken studies mechanical engineering and hopes to find an internship for the next six months in an industrial company in the United States. He finished his apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic in Germany and worked for six months at a company called Deharde Engineering. The company specializes in the design and manufacturing of wind tunnel models and full-scale flight articles.

The exchange program is seeking participants and host families for future exchanges. Contact Chinedu Obowu, international education coordinator at if you are interested.

Life is Big. Be Prepared.