“These interpersonal relations are the ones that are really the most meaningful.”
Edited by Nick Ladeau.
Transcript for Travel Bug
I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, although I was born in Wabasha, Minnesota, and the family moved to St. Paul when I was two, and my father died shortly thereafter. So my mother raised me, along with—I had six siblings, three sisters and three brothers, one sister remained, she’s just turned 93 at the end of May, and still very active leads book clubs, but three brothers, three sisters, and in a way they were kind of like substitute parents because I was the youngest by ten years. So I had two brothers that were 22 and 21 years older than I, and they were attorneys. And, you know, so they all looked after me, so in a way I had, you know, several parents.
Well, I ended up at the University of Minnesota and did my undergraduate there and enlisted in the Army in ’62. And then I got out in ’65 and took a European discharge, traveled around. First, I went to Goethe-Institut to improve my German and traveled around Europe for almost a year, visiting friends and getting, you know, the travel bug for international travel. And the stay in Berlin was very good and encouraged me to want to go back. After I got back, I eventually—my first undergraduate degree was a bachelor in psychology. And I ended up getting the equivalent of a major in German then when I got back, and, you know, I went after my master’s degree in German, to Hamburg. I got a Fulbright to study in Hamburg, and I, you know, I was nervous about this. I had, you know, I had a pretty good grasp of German, but it was, you know, the jump into German lectures and seminars and stuff is still not the same. And you don’t have native fluency yet. And I still don’t, but it got really good there. And then I lived in a German dorm. I took part in the experiment in international living—Fulbright set that up for the first month or so—they start their semester much later in October. So I’m living with a family in Hamburg, but it was in the outskirts, very nice family. And they took me in and treated me royally and invited me to things and, you know, just all kinds of really nice things. And the head of the family, I mean, he shared his experience about how kind the American soldiers were after the war, you know, he had great memories of the kindness. And in a sense, you know, he was, he and his wife were giving back by hosting American students from time to time like myself. And so these are, these interpersonal relations, are the ones that are really the most meaningful.
I got a job done in the College of Liberal Arts, advising offices, they had pre major advising offices. So I was assigned to people that were interested in languages, international students. After my master’s, I should say in German, I spent a year at the University of Hamburg, Germany. And when I was there, I was a member of, I lived in a dorm, I was a member of the equivalent of international student organization, Der Internationale Studentenkreis. And that got me kind of interested in, you know, doing something similar, you know, working with students from other countries who were at a university, and so it was a springboard to becoming involved in what I am doing here.
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