Maggie Appel-Schumacher of Mackenbach, Germany, a graduating senior with majors in German and international studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has brought a different kind of global perspective to the Virginia Tech community.
Born and raised in Germany, by American parents, Appel-Schumacher said, “If I’m standing in a line-up, you would say I’m from Northern Virginia.”
But there are differences. For starters, she can speak, read, and write German, English, French, and Russian. She spent her first two years at Virginia Tech living in the World, a theme housing community for both domestic and international students, which fosters understanding of diverse cultures.
“It connected me with other students who were far from home," said Appel-Schumacher. "My roommate was Chinese. I had neighbors from Sri Lanka and Kenya. The friends I made, the connections – these are the people who define what Virginia Tech is for me. It’s all about celebrating differences and at the same time coming together as Hokies.”
Each of Appel-Schumacher’s years at Virginia Tech brought different opportunities to learn about new people, languages, and cultures.
She interned at the U.S. Consulate in Leipzig. She worked with the German National Association of Student Affairs in Muenster. She was the student representative for search committee for vice president of Outreach and International Affairs. She is a conversation partner with the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute, helping international students with their English language proficiency. She planned and hosted the International Resident Advisor Symposium at Virginia Tech in 2012. She is president of the German Culture Club. She spent a summer studying in Moscow with 10 others from Virginia Tech.
“You create your own place at Virginia Tech,” she said. “Your experience is what you make of it. Take advantage of opportunities. You never know where it will lead you.”
This year, Appel-Schumacher was a resident assistant in the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston, and said that seeing the students build the community has been inspiring. “We were given the structure and the resources,” she said. “But, [there's] no plan. That’s really exciting. Everyone there is intentionally committed to the community, and we are allowed to share ideas, make things happen, and foster a sense of belonging.”
Most recently, Appel-Schumacher was one of seven Virginia Tech students who spent spring break in Karlsruhe, Germany, at the 2013 International Resident Advisor Symposium. Delegates from Germany, France, Mexico, and the U.S. met to share information about the services they provide to students and to learn about university student life in different cultures.
Her post-graduation plans include moving to Washington, D.C., to work in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University, where she will also pursue a master’s degree in international education.