Casey Smitson

 John Meyer with John Jeep and with the Flag of Kazakhstan  John Meyer with John Jeep and with the Flag of Kazakhstan
Students in Dessau at the Town Hall Students in Dessau at the Town Hall
Chinese Students in Uptown Oxford Chinese Students in Uptown Oxford
 Kazuhiko Komatsu and Noriko Reider  Kazuhiko Komatsu and Noriko Reider
 Mila Ganeva and Graham von Carlowitz  Mila Ganeva and Graham von Carlowitz
Japanese Tea Ceremony Japanese Tea Ceremony
 German Faculty in Heidelberg  German Faculty in Heidelberg
 Dr. Jeeps's Linguistics Class  Dr. Jeeps's Linguistics Class
Mila Ganeva and Ben Sutcliffe at a Conference Mila Ganeva and Ben Sutcliffe at a Conference
 Ben Sutcliffe  Ben Sutcliffe
 Liang Shi and Haosheng Yang Give Out Awards  Liang Shi and Haosheng Yang Give Out Awards

Name: Casey Smitson
Graduation Year: 2014
Majors: German and American Studies
Minor: Management and Organization

I have always had an interest in different cultures and languages and quickly found a home in the German Department at Miami University. As a German major, I was not only able to gain valuable language skills, but also had the opportunity to travel and to engage with different people and cultures.  Additionally, studying German taught me to be a better student of my own culture by challenging me to think critically about my own history and cultural perceptions.

While at Miami, I spent a semester studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria. In Salzburg, I took courses taught by Austrian professors, participated in cultural excursions, volunteered, and traveled. Through these experiences, I improved my German language skills, but, more importantly, became more confident and independent.

The language skills, confidence, and independence I gained from studying abroad prepared me to spend a year after graduation living and teaching in Düsseldorf, Germany as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. In Düsseldorf, I lived with a wonderful family and had the challenge and pleasure of learning to live everyday life as an American abroad. In addition to spending time with my family, working with the talented students at Görres Gymnasium was certainly a highlight!

I am now back at Miami and pursuing a master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education and am working in the Miami Office of Admission. As a student affairs professional, I hope to challenge college students to take advantage of opportunities that require them to step out of their comfort zones in order to engage with different people, cultures, and ideas.