From Germany to Baldwin City – The Baker Orange


Freshman Bea Weinpel is an international student from the city Isny im Allgäu in southern Germany. Although Weinpel is from Germany, this is not his first time in Kansas. She spent some time in Kansas during her high school studies where she discovered Baker University. Weinpel felt like he knew how Kansas worked and what to expect.

“I was prepared when I came here, I was like ‘I know what’s going to happen when I go to the Midwest,'” Weinpel said.

During her year in Kansas as a high school exchange student, Weinpel met Anna McCullough, assistant director of international recruiting and transfers at Baker University. McCullough’s duties include helping international students through the admission process and answering their questions. In addition to collecting any documents that the United States government might need. After taking the campus tour and speaking with Weinpel, McCullough got a good impression of Weinpel.

“She always seemed to me to be a very determined person in the sense of having very clear goals,” said McCullough.

Since meeting in 2019, McCullough and Weinpel have kept in touch over the years until Weinpel graduates from high school in Germany and is ready to come to Baker University. McCullough had known from their first meeting that Weinpel would fit in perfectly at school.

“These are the kinds of people we want at Baker, the people who are involved in all the different activities,” said McCullough. “I think it’s the advantage of being in a small school, you don’t have the right to enter your bubble. And there are fewer places to hide on a smaller campus.

Since living in Kansas, Weinpel was already familiar with Baker University and thought it was a great school to pursue pre-med. Weinpel’s major is currently not declared, but she is part of the pre-medical program and hopes to someday become a pediatric surgeon.

Weinpel arrived at Baker University at the start of the semester and has been using WhatsApp ever since to stay in touch with his family. Weinpel adds that his family plans to come visit him soon and that his father is learning English from Duolingo before their visit.

“My mom has been here once before and my dad doesn’t want to come until he can at least speak a little English. He’s calling to say ‘Bea, I just learned the colors’ and I’m so happy for that, ”Weinpel said.

One culture shock Weinpel experienced is the way faculty interact with their students here at Baker University.

“I like that you can just text your teachers or they’ll text you if you’re late. It’s a really cool thing because I’m not used to it, ”Weinpel said. “It was the biggest culture shock that your teachers really wanted you to learn something. ”

Weinpel adds that she is not used to the kindness of the teachers and the way they go out of their way to help students, which was not normal in her German schools.

“People are nicer too. Germans are really rude, at least those in the south. You don’t even say hello to people you don’t know like if you are walking down the street and just being nice and smiling at them they will look down on you, ”Weinpel said.

Along with its academic program, Weinpel is active on campus and participates in many different programs. Weinpel is part of the symphonic group and plays the flute. She also plays the piano, ukulele and guitar. Associate Professor and Conductor, Dr Frank Perez is one of Weinpel’s teachers and describes her as an excellent and multi-talented performer.

Not only does Perez think she’s a great performer, but he thinks she brings a positive, upbeat energy to the classroom, which he appreciates.

“One of the things I love about Bea is that she is always very curious and insightful. She’s a hard worker, ”Perez said.

Perez also adds that with Weinpel being an international student, he appreciates his different outlook.

“She brings some of the perspectives with her and she’s always ready to share her German heritage with the rest of us. So that’s something that I really appreciate too, is being able to learn from her and her heritage, ”said Perez.

Weinpel is also part of the concert choir and currently has a scholarship in music. Weinpel also enjoys listening to music, playing music, and writing his own songs. Her music depends on the mood she’s in for the day, ranging from rock music to a slower ballad.

“I do this as an outlet like all the academics I do, so I’m like hey, give me something that I can just express myself in and be creative in.” It makes me forget everything, ”Weinpel said.

Not only is Weinpel a part of the band and choir, but she also participates in theater and recently participated in Baker’s production of “Lucy Sweet Sullivan and the Petticoat Council”.

Weinpel adds that she loves school and chose to come to the United States because of the competitiveness of medical schools here. Weinpel has no plans to return to Germany after graduation, although she likes it there and it’s her home.

“Germany is nice to watch, but that’s about it, so I was hoping to stay here or maybe move to the UK or travel,” Weinpel said.

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