P A C I F I C L U T H E R A N U N I V E R S I T Y
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Study abroad veteran helps fellow students
plan foreign trips
Nicole Melius at work in the PLU International
Programs Office. The clocks on the wall behind her show the time
in several worldwide locations where PLU students are currently
Nicole Melius '01 works part-time at PLU's Center for International
Programs while continuing her studies for a degree in political science
and German. Her job is to greet fellow students who come to the office
to check on study abroad opportunities, as well as help plan and design
Melius is a veteran of study abroad, herself. In 1994, when she was
a freshman at the South Salem High School in Salem, Ore., she carried
her violin and went on a concert tour in Germany and Austria with the
school's orchestra. There, she was bitten by the international bug.
When she came to PLU, she applied for a foreign exchange study grant
and went back to Germany, where she spent a semester at the venerable
Freiburg University, in the spring of 1999.
Melius had studied German at school, but "speaking idiomatic German
with Germans in all their different accents was something else,"
she says. "It was a challenge-but worth it."
At Freiburg she took classes in the German language, German history,
art, linguistics and politics. All her courses were taught in German.
Despite that full load, she managed to travel in Germany, Austria, Switzerland,
Spain, the Netherlands, as well as to Prague and the French Riviera.
"It was a great opportunity," she says. "Students should
take opportunities like that while they have them. Something like this
opens a person's eyes to all the possibilities of life. You meet so
many great people and learn about other cultures."
After graduation from PLU she wants to go back and study political science
in Germany and, eventually, embark on a career combining these two loves-politics
Without studying or living abroad, she says, "people can be too
immersed in their own culture and end up with narrow views about the
world." But she is in no danger of that.
The highlight of her study abroad term was the moment when she went
into a special room at the library in Freiburg and was allowed to look
at a book. "It was a religious manuscript that was made at a monastery
in Germany in the 700s--and I touched it," she says with visible amazement.
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