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Two UW-Eau Claire Students Among 25 Nationwide Selected for International Internship in Germany

RELEASED: Feb. 14, 2006

John Lyon and Eric Bartling
John Lyon (left) and Eric Bartling, both double majors in business and German at UW-Eau Claire, are among 25 students nationwide selected to participate in a prestigious German internship program this summer. (UW-Eau Claire News Bureau photo)

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire seniors are among 25 students nationwide to be selected to participate in a prestigious, all-expenses-paid internship program beginning this summer in Germany.

Eric Bartling, New Berlin, and John Lyon, Antigo, who will both graduate in May with double majors in business and German, were accepted into the Transatlantik Program, which is offered through the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest.

Dr. Johannes Strohschänk, a professor of foreign languages who teaches German for Business courses, said the Transatlantik Program provides an opportunity to gain a comprehensive perspective in German business, culture and language by working in a German company for two or three months. He noted that one of his students, John Riederer, was invited last year to be a part of the same program.

"Considering that there are 25 students selected nationwide, this is an enormous success for our university and the German section of our department," Strohschänk said.

The program includes round-trip airfare to Germany and 10 days of training, touring and meeting with German business and political leaders. This will be followed by a two or three month internship in a German company. Generally participants receive a modest salary for their internship; if the position is unpaid, they will receive a 500 Euro stipend.

Bartling has studied German since eighth grade. He studied abroad in Wittenberg in the spring 2003, did an exchange program in Turkey and spent the summer of 2004 teaching English through an AIESEC internship in Egypt.

"The chance to see how I like working in a specific field for a limited amount of time is great. If I really like my job, it will give me further direction on what to do next. The fact that it's out of the U.S. makes it better yet," he said. "I think long-term that this program will give me a greater sense of understanding how to work well with other cultures, improve my German and show future employers that I'm flexible with working conditions and enjoy challenging myself."

Lyon said he is looking forward to returning to Germany where he spent two years on study abroad scholarships. During his junior year in high school, he lived in the city of Springe southwest of Hannover. During his junior year of college he was the first UW-Eau Claire student to be selected to study at Philips University in Marburg, which is just north of Frankfurt, through the Hessen-Wisconsin Exchange.

"I'm looking forward to working side-by-side with German professionals, gaining valuable work experience in an international setting and improving my knowledge of business German," Lyon said. "I hope that this internship will eventually serve as a stepping-stone to a career in the realm of international business."

Strohschänk said both Bartling and Lyon are used to working independently in order to complement their formal education. "The internship will provide them with inside knowledge about the way a German company works and how that relates to German American business relations. They also will learn how the business regulations of the European Union affect the inner workings of a Germany company. Finally, both students will vastly improve their proficiency in German."

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JW/JB

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