Ashly Solano (Duke in Berlin, Duke German Club, Duke-Schondorf Exchange)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Why German? I have been asked that question countless times since I decided to major in German. I have never really had a good answer until now. My name is Ashly, I am a first generation college student from San Diego with a passion for international affairs, human rights, and language. I chose to study German because I am not only learning a new language; I am developing valuable communication skills, attaining valuable knowledge and growing as a human being.

Early on at Duke, it became clear that the German Department cares deeply about its students and encourages them to excel. Therefore, I decided to double major International Comparative Studies and German Literature and Culture. I also joined the German Club and by my junior year, I was elected President. The Duke German Club was a significant part of my undergraduate experience because I learned important lessons in leadership, dedication, and cooperation.

The summer after my sophomore year, I undertook an internship with DukeEngage Belfast, where I researched and wrote a report on the Bonfire Management Programme. Continuing with international engagement, in 2011, I participated in both the Duke Summer in Berlin and Duke in Berlin Fall programs. The six months I spent in Berlin were undoubtedly the best months of my undergraduate career. I took interesting classes on German culture, history, and economy; I traveled to over nine countries in Europe and attended remarkable cultural events. Berlin is historically and culturally rich city and I was able to experience it first hand at the Reichstag, the Berliner Ensemble, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the German Historical Museum among many other venues. I fell in love with Berlin because it is such a dynamic, diverse city with endless opportunities to learn.

In September I will start a fellowship at Landheim Schondorf and I cannot wait to embark on this new journey. In the future, I hope to work as a Foreign Service Officer and one day work for the UN Human Rights Council."