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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Lost in Translation: Meet Kristin Lange from Germany

    Kyle Hansen
    Kyle Hansen / The Daily Wildcat Kristin Lange is a graduate student from a small town south of Berlin who is currently earning her doctorate degree in second language acquisition in German studies at the U of A. Lange did her undergrad at the Free University in Berlin, Germany and has been in Tucson since 2012.

    Kristin Lange is visiting the U.S. to earn her doctoral degree in German studies and second language acquisition. A native of a small town near Berlin, Lange has been living in Tucson for the last two years. Having also backpacked through New Zealand, she has become quite familiar with a multitude of cultures. A fan of Beyond Bread and “Breaking Bad,” Lange shares with the Daily Wildcat some of her experiences since coming to the UA. 

    Daily Wildcat: How does academia compare between Germany and the U.S.?

    Lange: You don’t have, like, general education classes or language requirements in a bachelor’s [degree]. I think the bachelor’s [degree] over in Germany is where you only study your subject. You start right away going into your subject and into your field. I think it’s more specialized or more focused, and here it’s a more rounded education.

    What do you really miss in Germany?

    Seasons. That’s really a big one. Tucson is quite international, so you can get everything you want. Like, Beyond Bread has amazing bread. Though nothing food-wise I really miss, but just the seasons: snow, rainy days and drinking hot cocoa.

    Have there been any American dishes you found to be great or awful?

    Yeah, I don’t like gravy. But I really like the sweet potato dishes you have here. I really like chicken pot pie, and I started eating steak here in the [U.S.], and I haven’t in Germany.

    Has there been anything strange or interesting you’ve seen since being here?

    The Día de los Muertos and all the parades you have in Tucson and all the Mexican culture that is here. I had no knowledge of that, but it’s very enriching to experience that.

    We are in the middle of the midterm elections. Is the political climate very different in Germany?

    It’s very common to just go around and knock on neighbors’ doors and kind of advocate for a political candidate. They came to my house and I didn’t know what that was, so we definitely don’t have that [in Germany]. I think it’s much more out in the open, and you really want to go to the voters, and that’s not necessarily the case in Germany. If you’re politically interested, you go to them or go to a convention, and it’s not as in-your-face. Of course, there are a lot of posters in both countries, but I think here it is much more active.

    Are the politics in Germany as separate between conservatives and liberals?

    We have a multi-party system. There’s like five big parties in Germany. I wouldn’t say it’s as split like here between Republicans and Democrats.

    How does Oktoberfest compare between here and Germany?

    Oktoberfest is a Munich thing, and I’ve actually never been to one in Germany. My first Oktoberfest was in St. Louis, so I don’t really know how to compare.

    Do you have any memories before or after the Berlin Wall came down?

    I was very little when it came down, and I just remember my family in West Germany sending packages. It was interesting to see the change it took to be westernized and all the different cultures coming in.

    What were your impressions of Americans before you first visited?

    I was just curious. I didn’t know what to expect at all. What I knew was from watching shows like “Friends.” Everyone always seemed busy, which is good, so I was looking forward to that. It’s very easy to be spontaneous here.


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