Program Leader: Professor Daniela Kostruba

Description: Hard Drive:Users:marydocter:Desktop:FullSizeRender.jpgThe WIM 2017 resident director is Professor Daniela Kostruba. Here is what she'd like to share about herself:

I'm delighted to be leading WIM 2017, living and learning alongside Westmont students in Queretaro, a beautiful city with a rich Mexican culture. I am no stranger to student extracurricular activities, having organized and led German student groups staying with host families in London for two summers.

When I was 18 I took a year to travel around the world before starting my study of German Literature and Linguistic at the University of Heidelberg and one of my best memories is staying with a host family for 8 weeks in Antigua, Guatemala. There I fell in love with the Hispanic culture, particularly the wide variety of music, visual arts, architecture, religious expression, history and food(!).  Because of this great experience in Antigua I applied for a teaching position in a German school in Guatemala city after grad school. I was offered that position in Guatemala, but I also got another great offer for a position teaching in Germany. With only one day to decide, I took the position in Germany and since then I have longed for the opportunity to work and live in that fascinating Hispanic culture.

With my family I have traveled extensively in Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico. I’ve enjoyed my trips tremendously, but there is a big difference between being a tourist, traveling from one place to the other, and really living in a place for a longer period of time, building up relationships and getting immersed in a new culture. 

Three years ago, when Dr. Elias was leading WIM, I visited Queretaro because my 15 year old daughter attended a private high school there for one semester. She was so fortunate to find a very nice host family who took her in like their own daughter. She became not only fluent in Spanish but, what is even more important, she has made unforgettable friends and developed into a more diversified person, as much intrigued by and fascinated with the Mexican culture as I am. I was never worried having her in Queretaro, Mexico because it is such a safe town. My experience and hers exemplifies what an enriching time the Westmont students will have. It's so much more than just learning a language! I can't wait to share this wonderful experience with you together with my husband, Leo, and my 14 year old son, Jascha.

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