New contact person for Erasmus+ - Interview with Claudia Lütkehoff
Where and what did you study? And at which institute are you working at the moment?
I completed my 2-subject Bachelor's degree in Geography and Romance Philology Spanish at the Ruhr University Bochum. Afterwards, I wanted to deepen my knowledge in geography, so I studied for my Master's degree in economic geography at RWTH Aachen University. After graduating, I worked for some time as a programme coordinator for international Master's programmes at the RWTH International Academy. Currently, I am working as a research assistant at the LuFG Cultural Geography at RWTH Aachen University and, in addition to teaching, I am working on my doctorate in the field of international migration of highly qualified people.
Have you completed a semester abroad yourself or spent a certain amount of time abroad?
Experience abroad and international exchange have long been part of my curriculum vitae. After graduating from high school, I first worked for a "gap year" in a small coastal village near Barcelona in a fishing museum. There I was able to learn the Spanish (and Catalan) language, meet many great people, enjoy the beach and nature and gain many valuable cultural experiences. To this day, I have intensive contact with my friends there and we visit each other regularly. During my Bachelor's degree, I spent a semester abroad with Erasmus+ at the Universidad de La Laguna (Tenerife), where I was able to gain further insight into Spanish (and Canarian) culture and get to know university life there. My later Bachelor's thesis topic resulted from this stay abroad through the contacts there. In addition to these longer stays abroad, I was able to gain numerous other experiences abroad. These include, for example, a school exchange to Chécy (France), a university tandem language exchange to Oviedo (Spain), excursions as part of my geography studies to Hawaii (USA), Almería (Spain), Preston (UK) and, as part of my job in cultural geography, to the Canary Islands (Spain) and the Arab Gulf States (UAE and Oman).
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Why is a semester abroad worthwhile for geographers?
For me, the stays abroad have been very enriching experiences that have left a positive mark on me to this day and have opened many doors for me. So a stay abroad is very worthwhile, both for personal development and for your professional career. Especially for geography students, whose studies per se deal with human-environment relations in different regions of the world, the curiosity to experience these places, the language and culture "live" should be ingrained in them. So make sure you take advantage of this opportunity to gain experience at a foreign university during your studies, to immerse yourself in the geographical conditions of a foreign place and to experience and learn about the regional peculiarities, both in the physical-geographical sense and in the human-geographical area. You will certainly talk about your experiences for a long time to come!
If you have any questions about Erasmus+ stays, please feel free to contact me as the contact person for geography students!
Thank you for the interview!