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Students’ Portraits - Ksenia Cherepanova and Bradley Dobberfuhl: “Making a Positive Impact on the World”.

2019-01-10 Two international students travelled to Germany from Russia and America to study on a new course on “Global Environmental and Sustainability Studies” and are relating why they chose Leuphana.

Ksenia Cherepanova travelled light to Germany. She is Russian and has been a minimalist for five years: “I only buy what I really need”. She also wants to put her environmentally conscious lifestyle into practice professionally. That's why she decided on doing a second degree. In Russia, she worked as a lawyer: “The salary was good, but money isn't everything to me,” says Ksenia Cherepanova. As she already had friends in Germany, she chose to study there. She applied to several universities and received an admission letter from all of them. “Leuphana was my favourite”, explains Ksenia Cherepa”. In Russia, university education is also very good, but by no means so open and free. Ksenia Cherepanova has just completed the Leuphana semester and her major also includes the introductory courses in chemistry and ecology. The hobby diver wants to understand her environment to protect it better: “It's dreadful how much plastic waste there is under water”. In three years, after graduating, she would like, therefore, to work in environmental protection. Her lawyer job will only serve to finance her studies.

He found no more satisfaction in his work.

The American Bradley Dobberfuhl has applied to four German universities, received four admission letters and has chosen Leuphana. In addition to the good reputation of its environmental sciences courses, it is the interdisciplinary orientation that attracted the 28-year-old. The Leuphana semester already gives students a broad overview, but still introduces them to their disciplines, says the Texan. This is not Bradley Dobberfuhl’s first encounter with interdisciplinarity. In Dallas, he studied Technology Design, learned programming, but was also involved in photography and graphic design. Then he worked for five years for a marketing agency. After work and on weekends, he was out and about in the natural world, working to protect the environment. He realised that his profession no longer fulfilled him: “I like to do something in my life that has a positive impact on the world,” Dobberfuhl explains. 

Via the Internet he came across Leuphana and the new English-language course in “Global Environmental and Sustainability Studies”. He sees the exchange between students from all over the world as a great advantage of the course: “Environmental problems are not national, but affect everyone”. He himself has a multicultural background: shortly before the Second World War, his family emigrated from Germany to Wisconsin. This is another reason why Bradley Dobberfuhl came to Europe: He wants to learn more about his roots. 

Applications have been received from 27 countries – from Australia, Belgium, Italy, Nigeria and Belarus – for the new, internationally oriented Major in “Global Environmental and Sustainability Studies”, which started this winter semester. In order to prepare international students for international work contexts, and to actively integrate their different perspectives on sustainability issues, the curriculum of Major Global Environmental and Sustainability Studies explicitly deals with the creative handling of diversity in international, inter- and transdisciplinary work contexts.

Author: Marietta Hülsmann