Exchange student: Cosima Hummel, Leipzig
Name: Cosima Hummel
Home Institution: University of Leipzig, class of 2019
Period at Mount Holyoke: 2018–2019
Why did you choose Mount Holyoke? A lot of reasons. Usually, I don’t like to leave my comfort zone but a friend recommended Mount Holyoke. She convinced me that I would improve my English and enjoy college life on a small campus. I was interested to see an approach to teaching that’s different from my university in Germany, and I was attracted to the general selection of Mount Holyoke’s courses, particularly critical social thought. The philosophy courses examine multiple subjects, figures, historical periods, traditions, movements and perspectives.
How did Mount Holyoke differ from your previous college experience? Over 28,000 students attend Leipzig University. Here the community is more personal — extremely diverse yet homey. The beautiful buildings make it more so. People smile and take care of one another.
Were you surprised by anything at Mount Holyoke? I was surprised by the many welcoming events the College offered in order for students to feel at home. I especially loved the energy at the Thanksgiving dinner I attended. The music and decoration were beautiful and the food was fantastic.
How has your perspective changed? I’ve never met so many cultures in one place before. I became more knowledgeable about racism. I was moved by students’ personal stories and I want to know more about what it’s like for people in Germany. I also experienced teaching methods that I’ll want to try back home. I want to make others aware — especially teachers — of transgender issues and racism and create safe classrooms. I feel freer to share my own thoughts. Mount Holyoke has shown me that they matter.
Have you made any lasting friendships with students or faculty? I’ve made new friends. I think we’ll be the kinds of friends who can share what’s important to us for a long time.
Would you recommend this experience to future exchange students? I started out as a homebody, but now I would encourage others to go out and try new things. I would tell them not to feel pressured to have the experience of a lifetime or for everything to be perfect. Home isn’t perfect either. This is a place where you can grow.