By: Michelle Morico
“Wait, you are from where?!” is a question Jenny Wiegand, Marist junior hears a lot. Marist College, the small college on the Hudson is known for its overwhelming student population originating from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Students are often surprised when they hear that Wiegand has lived in Germany for her entire life.
“I visited it, I liked it, and I got a good scholarship deal,” Wiegand said about Marist. “I applied to a lot of colleges on the east coast primarily because I wanted to be close to some kind of family and I was also looking at communication schools close to big cities.”
Wiegand was fated to explore international territories from the very beginning. She went to Munich International School in Germany for 3 years.
“It was awesome and I wish I had more years there,” she said. “It was my first taste of multiculturalism because so far my experiences were limited to German and American lifestyles since I didn’t encounter much diversity in Germany.”
“I had class with students from Scandinavia, China, Japan, and Australia…” she said.
Wiegand has grandparents in Binghamton, New York, and other extended family in Maryland. However, her immediate family spans even further. Currently, Wiegand’s dad and two brothers live in Colorado, while her mom still lives in Germany, where she was born. Chip, 22, goes to Western State College of Colorado and Ty, 19, goes to Ft. Lewis.
“It’s a hard situation because I have to try and get to both places and no one is ever together,” she said. “I wish now that I could be closer to my immediate family but when I started out only Chip was in Colorado so it wasn’t a big deal.”
“On the other hand, it is cool having homes in two places because you get to experience the best of both worlds,” she said. “Since my dad has moved there, I have been going during spring break to visit him and my brothers.”
Not only has Wiegand been able to travel around Europe and the United States, she also studied abroad in Sydney, Australia this fall.
“I grew up in Germany so I knew I didn’t want to study abroad in Europe because I was fortunate enough to be able to travel a lot throughout Europe growing up, so I wanted to experience something new,” she said. “I also wanted to do an internship, so I had to go to an English speaking country.”
Wiegand does refer to her “home” as Germany, she said she was surprised by the amount of people still saying, “wait, you are from where?!” when she was in Australia.
“I’m from Germany and people still thought it was just as cool there [Australia] even though I was with dozens of other international students,” she said.
Wiegand lived in a home stay during her months in Sydney. For many, this might seem overwhelming or awkward, but Wiegand has grown up experiencing home stays, bouncing around from home to home.
“When I played sports at school we would play other international schools from other countries and during this I stayed with host families,” she said. “I’ve never been the kind of person to feel awkward…I have had eccentric families before but I’ve always found a way to identify with them on some level.”
“I would definitely recommend it but it requires a certain type of person to take full advantage of a home stay while taking the most away from the experience,” Wiegand said.
Wiegand is currently studying at Marist this semester, missing Australia but enjoying her limited time left in college. As for the future, Wiegand does not know what she plans to do with her English major.
“I will most likely stay in the U.S. because it will be easier to find a job here with a U.S. college degree but the options are endless,” she said.