|Sa 23.08.2003 11:59 - Erste Eisenacherin graduierte in Waverly|
|Eisenach’s 1st grad heads home|
Growing up in Eisenach, Germany, Angelika Knorrn ’03 could see the Wartburg Castle from her family’s home on an opposite hill. Little did she know that she would someday become the first Eisenach graduate of an American college named after the castle.
The chain of circumstances that brought Angelika to Wartburg began with the reunification of Germany in 1989. The Berlin Wall, a symbol of the divided country, began comimg down three days after her 10th birthday, signaling the end of East Germany’s communist government.
"If the wall hadn’t come down, I wouldn’t be here right now,” she told a Waterloo - Cedar Falls Courier reporter in May. "The entire lifestyle changed with reunification. All of the sudden, we had all these possibilities. It wasn’t restricted.”
Former Wartburg President Robert Vogel ’56 envisioned some of those possibilities. In November 1991, he led a delegation from Waverly to Eisenach to explore ways Wartburg and Waverly could established a closer relationship to Eisenach and the Wartburg Castle. Soon after, the two cities formalized a Sister City agreement that included a high school exchange program.
Angelika was the Eisenach exchange student to Waverly-Shell Rock High School during the 1996-97 year.
"I’ve never felt so homesick,” she recalled, noting that she especially missed her twin brother, Thomas.
At the end af the year, she returned to Germany to complete the final two years at the Ernst-Abbe Gymnasium, than applied to the University of Marburg, where she hoped to pursue a medical degree and become a pediatrician. But when she hadn’t heard from Marburg officials by late summer, she made a last-minute decision to enroll at Wartburg. She was familiar with the college and had always been involved with music. Her alternative plan was to get a degree in music education/music therapy and work with young cancer victims as a music therapist.
Although college education in Germany is free, she reasoned that it would take eight years to get the training in education and music therapy Wartburg offered in four years (included a six-month internship). She enrolled in the fall of 1991, than learned shortly after her arrival in Waverly that she had been accepted at Marburg.
"I was ready to pack up all my bags and go home, but my parents said I should give it a try, so I did,” she said.
Anglika completed her student teaching through the Wartburg West program in Denver, Colo., where she experienced another cultural immersion with primarily Hispanic students.
"They didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak Spanish, but we got along, and I liked the kids.” The experience confirmed her interest in working with children.
Back in Germany, she hopes to reach next year, than complete her six-month music therapy internship at a psychiatric facility in Duesseldorf beginning in July 2004.
She enjoyed her years at Wartburg because of the people.
"It’ s a good atmosphere, really family style. You know lots of people very well because it’s small.”
Special thanks to Linda Moeller and the Wartburg Magazine.