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From a World Away, Student Chooses UC to Design an International Education

German graphic design student Nina Schoele had her pick of 10 schools throughout the U.S. and Australia where she might have gone for her international studies. Nina, 23, a student at Germany's Aachen University of Applied Sciences, opted for the University of Cincinnati because of the school's prestigious design program.

Date: 9/20/2004 8:00:00 AM
By: Mary Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover
UC ingot From her home in Germany, Nina Schoele, a student studying here thanks to a College of Applied Science exchange program, can travel to The Netherlands "in about five minutes.  If I go the other way, I'm in Belgium within 10 minutes."

However, despite her previous travels in Europe, coming to Cincinnati to study design and compare European and U.S. design practices has been altogether different for Nina, who arrived in Cincinnati in mid-June.  At first, Nina felt at loose ends, especially as she was uncertain about which courses she would be taking at UC  "The first three weeks were difficult.  I was homesick when I had nothing to do.  I have no car and didn't know the area. I was probably calling my mum once a day...and my boyfriend twice a day," she admits, adding, "But some nice people took me out for baseball games, to bars and parties.  So, I settled in very quickly. I still miss my car, to be independent".
Nina has come to Cincinnati via an exchange program between CAS and Aachen University of Applied Sciences, but as a visual communication major, she also wanted advanced design experience and to learn more about U.S. design practices. So while Nina quickly enrolled in two CAS classes - English Composition and Graphics II, she also sought out opportunities at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning with the help of Rajiv Soman, assistant professor of chemical technology, and Robert Probst, director of the School of Design.
Now, with supervision from Probst and Kristin Cullen, assistant professor of design, Nina is putting her skills to work in two independent study projects to aid UC's Community Design Center.  The center, with its mission of partnering with local neighborhoods to improve Cincinnati's urban fabric, needs a design system for a unique visual identity that it can use for upcoming work, including posters, flyers and reports.
At the end of the summer, Nina has no plans to slow down.  During fall quarter, she is taking courses in art history, English, Spanish and even racquetball, along with another independent study on behalf of the university’s Community Design Center.   
For all her labors to "learn design," as Nina puts it, in a different language and culture, she also makes time for necessary changes of pace.  "I like to go out to have some fun. I'm really happy to do that because I need the color, activity and action that's a complete change from my work," Nina explains, adding, “I love the campus life and flair because it is convenient and safe and Starbucks and Subway is, like a lot of other things, just around the corner”.
Nina plans to return to Germany in late December, but she'll be joined by three other students -- one in environmental chemistry and two in electrical engineering technology -- from the Aachen University of Applied Sciences who will start studying at CAS in fall 2004.  Their visit builds on an exchange that began in the spring of 2003 when the first CAS student went to study in Aachen.

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