Mareye Hoelscher values streamlined speech. Her answers are clipped, crisp and honest, missing the roundabout niceties found in American speech.
True to her German upbringing, she does not have time to beat around the bush. There is no hint of irritation nor defensiveness; she simply states the necessary response to the question, no more, no less.
“Mareye has an awesome personality,” said her friend Mehmet Acikgoez, a junior from Germany. “She’s very German, and therefore has no problem getting things done.”
Hoelscher, a German exchange student at Georgia College, came to America with the intention of garnering the English proficiency necessary to pursue her dream of becoming an English teacher in Germany.
“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was fourteen years old,” Hoelscher said. “I’d like to make school a great environment for young students, a place they can feel valued and comfortable.”
As someone interested in education, Hoelscher notices the differences between the American education system
and that of Germany. She understands the importance of finding a home in a school as she lays down temporary roots an ocean away from home.
Sophomore mass communication major Hannah Kriner lives in the same residence hall as Hoelscher and found her willing to help in a time of need.
“I was really struggling with how to do some grammar stuff for my German 2001 class, but Mareye was willing to sit down and help me work through homework and how to do proper grammar in German,” Kriner said. “All of the German international students are really great and are super eager to learn more about the Milledgeville lifestyle.”
Hoelscher’s time in America extends beyond Milledgeville. Her first introduction to the United States was when she came to New York as an exchange student in her senior year of high school. She traveled to Ohio and various cities throughout the United States before landing in Milledgeville.
Hoelscher admits that her German university’s exchange program placed her at Georgia College without giving her a choice, but she has enjoyed her time here nonetheless.
“They just put me here,” she said with a laugh.
As she explores a new part of the United States, Hoelscher said she is realizing the cultural differences between various regions of the United States. The kindness she’s experienced in the south surprises her, she said, compared to her experiences in other regions of the country.
“People are so nice here,” Hoelscher said. “It’s helped me enjoy my time in the south. In the northern parts of the United States, people are less friendly.”
One of the biggest differences she notes between the United States and Germany is that Germans tend to eat much healthier and much less than Americans, and healthier options are more available.
The school systems in America are also much different than in Germany, where students separate early between tracks to college, trade school, or clerical school. Then Hoelscher laughed as she revealed that the most notable difference between Germany and the United States is the drinking age.
Each year, GC celebrates international students during International Week. It is an opportunity to showcase students from diverse backgrounds and learn about the various cultures represented at GC. During the International Day celebration on Oct. 25, Hoelscher will be at the German table with an informational poster and German snacks from Aldi.
“International Week is a chance to get to know different cultures and make friends from different parts of the world,” Hoelscher said.
She also said she strongly advocates for students to study abroad.
“Studying in a different culture gives you an opportunity to grow, gain confidence and partake in experiences that will always be a part of you,” she said.