Working and living in Minnesota

NEW ULM – When Sabrina Svechla arrived in New Ulm on Aug. 12, the weather was sunny and warm. Now, as her stay in New Ulm nears its end she must borrow a warm jacket from her host family to stave off the chill.

Svechla, the current Hans Joohs Exchange intern visiting New Ulm, reflected on her experiences and the memories she will take home with her to Germany.

“This town seems a lot more German than we are!” she said Thursday. “A lot of people can talk in German, and it surprised me that a lot of the older people I met learned German first and English later.”

Svechla was also surprised at the number of festivals and traditions that New Ulm has, which help maintain that German tradition.

One goal of the Hans Joohs exchange program is to give young people a chance to work in their chosen profession and gain some experience.

Svechla is studying for her master’s degree in business and economics, majoring in marketing and sales. She spent her time at the August Schell Brewery, helping with the marketing program on a daily basis, and trying her hand at other areas of the brewing business.

Svechla was initially surprised with the wide selection of Schell’s products.

“I thought beer was beer, and all beer was about the same,” said Svechla. She’s not a big beer drinker, she said.

“I prefer cocktails, they’re sweeter,” she said. “People kept telling me I couldn’t be a real German if I didn’t like beer.”

The Marti family, owners of the brewery, had a welcoming party for her to meet all the staff on her second day, and part of the job was a sampling of the many Schell’s products.

“They had 10 beers on tap, and they kept bringing out bottles and cans of others,” Svechla said. “I didn’t swallow much, I still had to drive home.”

She also experienced a lot of Minnesota living. She took a trip with her host family to Grand Rapids where she learned about going to “the lake.”

“I was surprised to see all the homes built right on the lake shore,” she said. “In Germany they wouldn’t allow that.”

She also got a chance to see lake living on a grand scale on a tour of Lake Minnetonka.

She saw three of Minnesota’s four professional sports teams play. She attended the openers for the Vikings and the Wild, and on Wednesday the opener for the Timberwolves. It was an exciting game, she said, and the Wolves managed to pull out a victory, something the other two teams couldn’t do.

Svechla will leave New Ulm on Sunday to meet her parents in Miami. They will spend some time in Florida, in Miami, Key West and St. Petersburg before flying back to Munich, where school and work await.

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