By Jewell Strock
Josie Schmidt-Krayer is a junior Broadcasting, Digital Media, and Journalism student. She has enjoyed all three years at Cedarville; however, her home lies in Gummersbach, Germany. In western Germany, Gummersbach is known for its picturesque surroundings, with forests, hills, and the Aggertalsperre reservoir nearby. The town has a mix of modern and historic architecture, serving as a regional hub for commerce, education, and culture.
Schmidt-Krayer’s parents met at Ohio State. Her dad is German, and her mom is American. While Schmidt-Krayer grew up in Germany, she and her family continually visited family in Fairborn, OH. Visiting Ohio made transitioning to American college easier for Krayer.
“We used to visit my family in the summer or Christmas, so I did know some American culture beforehand,” Schmidt-Krayer said. “So, I wouldn’t say it was as much of a shock coming here compared to maybe for some international students who’d never been to America before.”
One change in habit for Schmidt-Krayer was eating times.
“It’s just a lot different than Germany a lot later like I’d eat at 2 p.m. That was my lunch,” Schmidt-Krayer said. “Now I eat at 11 a.m. It was weird for me to do that.”
Since moving to America, Schmidt-Krayer has noticed differences between American and German cultural values. When asked, “It’s like a country who’s like, on time, you know, business first. You know, individualism, a lot of that,” Schmidt-Krayer said. “I think, like, American Customer Service is probably, nicer in that kind of way. Yeah, I feel Americans are more welcoming. But once you get to know the people, they are friendly and somewhat welcoming.”
Speaking German is something Schmidt-Krayer still gets the opportunity to do. She and her sister, a sophomore, and a few other German students meet weekly for lunch to speak in German and enjoy their culture. English is something Schmidt-Krayer was taught in school; however, there are some barriers when it comes to writing in English.
“I always read my fiction books in English, but with scientific books, English was new. That was an adjustment in the first few weeks.
While speaking English is more manageable for Schmidt-Krayer, writing in English with different grammar rules provided more difficulty. “I get criticized a lot for having run-on sentences,” Schmidt-Krayer said. “Just because in Germany, it’s good to have long sentences because that means you’re very sophisticated, and I came here, and they’re saying that’s bad.”
Schmidt-Krayer enjoys the Cedarville community. In Germany, the college layout is starkly different from some colleges, such as Cedarville.
“Usually, the university is inside the city, but it is part of the city, and you just take public transportation and walk to the building where your classes are,” Schmidt-Krayer said. “So usually, public transportation to get from one place to another, so you don’t have the dormitory lifestyle.”
Krayer enjoys studying at Cedarville University and the friends she has made here. She is excited to spend one more year on campus.
“I mean, they should definitely all visit Germany if they have a chance, and maybe take a round trip in Europe, because it’s really worth it. So, just being open to, I guess people who might think differently than you who opened up than you did,” Schmidt-Krayer continued. “And learning from each other. I think it’s important. I’ve learned a lot from Americans and how they interact with people and how they think. And I feel that can go the other way, with international students and making friends because they also have a perspective. I think that’s great.”
Jewell Strock is a senior International Studies major & journalist for Cedars. She enjoys matcha, rainy weather, writing, traveling, & Jane Austen.
Image provided by Josie Schmidt-Krayer