Student Profile: Daniel Kroth
Experiencing the Holiday Season Abroad

Student Profile: Lukas Kübek

Lukas enjoying German sayings in the Rathskeller

Being a Badger: A German AYF Exchange Student goes to Madison

Current AYFers and program alumni are sometimes surprised when they learn that the Academic Year in Freiburg is, in fact, part of a genuine exchange agreement. In return for AYF participants’ access to Albert-Ludwigs-Universität and all the wonderful support that comes with it, up to 10 Freiburg students per year are hosted by AYF partner schools in the American Midwest. To highlight the experiences of our “Freiburg outgoings”, we have asked Lukas about his impressions of and favorite activities in Madison. Here’s the report of this newly minted Badger! 

By Lukas Kübek (Freiburg University, AYF 21-22 at UW-Madison)

What has been your favorite place in Madison so far?

Lukas enjoying the German sayings in the Rathskeller

Without any doubt: the Memorial Union Terrace. It is just beautiful – even in comparison to summer evenings at the Dreisam in Freiburg. On the day I arrived, a friend invited me to come to the terrace. There was live music, we ate pizza, read the German writings on the wall in the Rathskeller and I immediately felt at home in the new city, even though just a few hours had passed after the flight.

What events have you enjoyed most while in Madison?

I liked the game days when the whole town turned red and white! The city center is flooded by young people and the resulting vibe is just incredible. Furthermore, I really appreciated that almost all students identify with their university and its sports teams, which is quite uncommon in Germany.

What has been your academic highlight?

In general, I enjoyed the close relationships with the professors who are genuinely interested in the progress you make. They remembered all the names, and office hours were always instructive for the assignments. Regarding specific courses, I had to carry out an empirical research project about the economic consequences of the COVID pandemic in a data science course, which was both challenging and interesting.

What have you learned about the relationship between Freiburg and Madison?

Thankfully, Ulli Struve provided me with several contacts to people who are interested in the German heritage of the city and the surrounding region. Among them was Charles J. James, the president of the Madison-Freiburg Sister City Committee. During a meeting in the Memorial Union, he provided me with fascinating insights about the German heritage in Madison. Moreover, I visited the so-called ‘Stammtisch’ organized by members of the German faculty, where I met someone who was born just a few villages away from my home village in Germany. Die Welt ist ein Dorf!  

How have you spent your leisure time?

Madison has a lot to offer – certainly more than one could experience in just a few months. Among the plentitude of options, my favorite activity has been running along the lake and participating in the Madison half marathon as well as the winter marathon in Dubuque, Iowa. The trails along the lakes are picturesque, especially in the fall when the leaves turn red. Both races that I participated in were a lot of fun, and the atmosphere (especially in Madison) was overwhelmingly positive.


Lukas shared his story by e-mail. We welcome your contribution to our communal story telling via the AYF Alumni Profiles Project page!