About LMU Munich
LMU is recognized as one of Europe's premier academic and research institutions. Since its founding in 1472, LMU has attracted inspired scholars and talented students from all over the world, keeping the University at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change our complex world.
Its excellence in teaching and research embraces a wide diversity of fields—from the humanities and cultural studies through law, economics and social sciences to medicine and natural sciences. An intense interdisciplinary approach fosters the innovation so critical to our global future.
LMU is home to students from all parts of Germany and more than 130 countries around the globe. They benefit from the University's uniquely wide array of study programs and its strong focus on research.
Euroscholar Christine Wamsley spent a semester at LMU
Christine Wamsley, a Euroscholar at LMU Munich from September 2013 until March 2014, spent a semester with a research team in the Open Research Lab at the Deutsches Museum. The term “open research lab” means what it says: Visitors to the Museum could watch her at work and put questions to her – and Christine quickly learned the art of explaining in simple terms how a tunneling microscope allows her to visualize atomic structures.
The enthusiasm with which Christine talks about her work is highly infectious. She caught the biochemistry bug during a compulsory course in the subject at her alma mater, Colby College in Waterville, Maine. “I loved it – and I decided to make it my major subject.” Christine‘s other major is German. While still at school, she visited Oelde near Münster as an exchange student. In these three weeks, the Varsity soccer player developed an enduring passion for FC Bayern Munich, and made lots of friends, which sparked a desire to learn more about Germany. In her search for an exchange program that would enable her to extend her horizons at a foreign university, she discovered the Euroscholars Program. Christine successfully applied – and chose LMU as her host university. “The project in the Open Research Lab spans the interface between chemistry and nanotechnology, and I was immediately fascinated by it,” she says. “The observations that I make here could provide the foundation for my undergraduate Honors Thesis.”
In the meantime Christine is making the most of her semester in Munich. At lunchtime she often goes out onto the roof of the museum. “One has a wonderful view of the city from there, all the way to mountains,” she enthuses. Colby College is located in a town of 15,000 inhabitants. “When I heard that LMU has 50,000 students, I knew there would certainly be lots to see and plenty to keep me busy,” she says. She has indeed made many new acquaintances and, on her days off, she plays football with other enthusiasts. And in order to follow the fortunes of FC Bayern, she no longer depends on the sports channel. Since her arrival in September she has attended three of their home matches in person. On weekends she likes to travel, visiting her old friends in Oelde, or venturing farther afield to Vienna and Helsinki. “There was a meeting of all the Euroscholars in Helsinki recently, and that opened up the prospect of further excursions and encounters.”
From EuroScholars Alumni: Melissa Lee at the University of Zurich Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Melissa Lee, and I’m a senior at the University of Tennessee.
Why did you choose to study abroad in this country? Did anything about this country surprise you / was it different than you expected?
I picked the country that I studied abroad in based on the location of the project that I was most interested in. So, I started my search by looking at all of the offered projects at every university and then narrowed down my choices based on that. I did take a few years of German in high school, so it was a happy coincidence that I ended up going to a German-speaking country! I don’t think there was anything incredibly surprising about Switzerland. It was all very neat, very clean, and very orderly.
What was your favorite trip you took while you were there?
This is a really hard question! I very much enjoyed every trip I took during my time abroad. My favorite place to visit was Berlin, but I think my favorite overall trip was my trip to Lyon, France during the annual Festival of Lights. Lyon is a beautiful city by itself, but lit up, especially among these excited crowds of people, it was just a really incredible atmosphere to experience.
How did you meet locals? Have you stayed in touch?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet a whole lot of locals. Most of the people I met were also international. Most of my lab, even, was international. I am still in touch with some of the other exchange students I met in Zurich, though.
How do you think research abroad will help you in your future?
It was an incredibly valuable research experience. I am so glad I had this opportunity. I really feel like I learned so much—about my specific research project, about research in general, and even about myself. I’ll be able to take that knowledge with me wherever I go. I talked about the research I performed during this trip at all of my graduate school interviews, and I am certain that researching abroad has made me a stronger researcher and student.
What advice do you have for a student thinking about studying abroad in this country or in general?
If researching abroad is anything, it is overwhelming. There is a virtually endless amount of things that you can do. If you’re not intentional about it, it’s easy to either fall behind on your research or focus so much on your research that you fail to take advantage of your surroundings. So, think about what you want out of your research experience abroad, and take the steps you need to take to get there. If you went abroad for the research, it’s perfectly fine to focus on the research. If you went abroad to experience a certain country’s culture, you may be spending a little more time doing that. Neither of these options is, in and of itself, better than the other. Take the time to figure out what you want for yourself and follow that. Then, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. You get from your experience what you put into it.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
I really can’t overstate how lucky I feel to have had this opportunity to research abroad, particularly in Prof. Mansuy’s laboratory in Zurich through the EuroScholars Program. It was a lot of hard work, but I truly believe I came out of it a better researcher, a better student, and a better person. I’ll be starting the Neurobiology and Behavior PhD program at Columbia University this fall, and I feel much more prepared for it having gone through the EuroScholars Program.