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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Knox Opens Arms to German Exchange Students

Maren Borchers and Nergiz Capan during Traditional Outfit Day

In the fall term of 2022, Maren Borchers and Nergiz Capan traveled to Galesburg from Germany for a one-term study abroad exchange program at Knox College, where they hoped to immerse themselves in American culture and experience college in the United States. They ultimately decided to stay for an additional term because of their growing connection with the community and space. 

Borchers and Capan have made the most out of their limited time on the Knox campus. “Meeting new people, participating in a range of activities, and simply exploring the options Knox had to offer became my priority,” Borchers said. “In doing so, I found a group of people I love—The Ultimate Frisbee Team became my family at Knox. It is one of the main reasons I decided to stay back for another term.” Capan echoed these feelings. “I love hanging out with my friends and getting to know people from all over the world. I never imagined finding so many friends in such a short time.”

The pair highlighted the differences between living at Knox and their home school, the European University of Flensburg. Borchers explained how she wouldn’t have the opportunity to engage in several activities all in one place simply because she didn’t live on campus. At Knox, she says she participates in clubs and organizations that run later into the evening, and appreciates not having to cook her own food. 

“It certainly is an enriching learning curve. You essentially live, share, and learn with a group of people that become your family. I’ve participated in a range of activities such as Ultimate Frisbee, cross country, theater productions, and the Terpsichore Dance Collective. It’s amazing that I can do so much under one roof.” 

Capan also noted the difference in class structures between the education systems in the two countries. “Here I can take any class that I want from Japanese to Dance. Back home, I could choose courses only within my majors—education, philosophy, and English. I think exploring different avenues is an important part of selecting what you want to do for the rest of your life.”

Borchers and Capan recalled some of their favorite memories at Knox, like laughter shared with friends, and connections builts during their many classes across campus. “I love the people here,” Borchers said. “A few friends and I would go to Green Oaks where we would bond over shared experiences while being close to nature. I don’t think I have ever felt this connected to a space before.” 

“I remember late nights in Post Lobby where we would chat, dance, and work together,” Capan said. “Ice cream nights and giggles were a fundamental part of my experience at Knox and I am grateful for the time well spent.”

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Printed on Monday, April 22, 2024