About my time as a Euromasters Transatlantic Track student at UW in Seattle
First I wondered, then I learned and now I understand better.
By: Julia Schütze
It was December 2014 when I found out that I was accepted for the Euromasters Transatlantic Track program and that my US destination would be Seattle. I had never been to the West Coast and wondered how it would differ from North Carolina where I spent a year during my undergrad. Time flew by and in spring 2016 I joined UW for a quarter. It did not take me long to fall in love with this school and Seattle. The Jackson School of International Studies made me feel welcome and appreciated from the second I arrived in the city. The Euromasters program in itself is already very flexible and I was thrilled when I found out that I could mixmatch classes according to my interest in technology and public policy. So I ended up with classes from the Evans School of Public Policy and one class from the Communications Department which diversified my portfolio and created a schedule which was challenging and enriching at the same time. My goal was to learn as much as possible about the American policy making process and democracy. What impressed me the most was the hard working Professors who diligently adapted to their students throughout the quarter opening up to discussions we cared about the most, for example race and equity. This has helped me understand not just the theory but learn how my classmates think about current issues. In all classes I was able to apply the newly gained knowledge to a subject of special interest to me, such as information as a policy tool in the EU or technological developments for democracy. The flexibility really made this a unique semester and I was glad that I could take advantage of that. Being the only European in some classes was a great experience. I remember some fruitful exchanges about examples of American and European solutions to policy problems which offered my classmates and me new input about how to approach problems in the future together and in our countries. I am a strong believer that we can all learn from each other and this program has helped me to see problems that exist on both sides of the Atlantic in a different perspective. So this was a really enriching way to learn creating an opportunity structure to draw lessons from a wider range of examples if I am faced with them.
This program has offered opportunities outside academia from which I was able to understand a great deal about American businesses and the military and their roles in the American society. While joining the business students on their tour of the Boeing factory floors I learned about the working and production process of big businesses. Political institutions can learn a thing or two from their agile production processes which they put in place. But it was also interesting to hear the background stories of how Boeing emerged and what it means to the city of Seattle. When we visited the Joint Base LewisMcChord, soldiers were very open to talk about their experiences in Afghanistan which helped me understand the reality of combat better.
The best way to understand a new culture is by getting to know the place and the people. Seattle as a city is gorgeous in spring. There was plenty of opportunity to go kayaking, hike the mountains, and go to the beach and the many parks. Every area of the city has its specific flair and I enjoyed exploring all of them. The public transport system is good, especially the new connection of the
lightrail makes getting around a lot easier. The baseball game, the afterhour discussions with newly gained friends about their family and their beliefs and diving into the local coworking scene topped the study abroad experience off.
Thanks for the good time UW, I am now off to wonder, learn and understand better another place and its people.