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Alumni Spotlight: Madison Jefferis

Madison Jefferis is from Portland (Oregon, US) and graduated Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy in Schiller Heidelberg in June 2023. Later this year she will move to Boston, US to continue with her education in International Affairs with a specialization in International Communication.

How was your experience coming to the Schiller Heidelberg Campus and the local culture in general?

My experience coming to the Schiller Heidelberg Campus and adapting to the local culture has been incredibly rewarding. Despite some challenges in the transition, being part of a smaller private university provided me with ample opportunities for personal and academic growth. I am thrilled with my decision to join Schiller and have truly enjoyed my time here over the past three years.

How has your experience been coming to the Schiller Heidelberg Campus and immersing yourself in the local culture?

My experience immersing myself in the local culture has been an incredible journey of growth and learning. While I had some familiarity with Germany from my childhood, adjusting as an adult presented its challenges. Nevertheless, I am immensely grateful for my decision to join Schiller, a smaller private university that has offered me ample opportunities for personal and academic development over the past three years.

Did you have the chance to go to any other campuses?

I came here in August 2020 - it was in the middle of the pandemic. We were in a lockdown in Heidelberg for many months, so it didn't allow me to travel to other campuses, unfortunately. But the is fantastic! It was also one of the reasons that I chose Schiller because you could move to Germany and then also can go to other campuses.

How has Schiller impacted your career?

When I arrived here as a young individual, I came with an open mind, eager to embrace new experiences and meet people from diverse backgrounds. This campus provided the perfect setting for that growth. Had I remained in the small US suburb where I lived previously, I believe I would not be the person I am today. The decision to study at Schiller has truly shaped my future in significant ways.

Now, having been exposed to an international environment and having developed a deep interest in various global issues during my time at Schiller, I aspire to work for different international organizations that align with my passions and values.

What was your favorite experience as a Schiller Student?

Being a part of the student council at the Heidelberg Campus was undoubtedly one of my favorite experiences at Schiller. Collaborating with fellow students, who have now become close friends, we planned a wide array of events, like the memorable adventure to Berlin with around 20 students.

What made this experience even more special was the opportunity to work alongside Mrs. Sanja Stevic and the rest of the team. Together, we brainstormed and organized fun-filled activities that brought our community closer and fostered a sense of togetherness. These moments hold a special place in my heart, and the camaraderie we developed during those times has left a lasting impression on me.

Overall, my involvement in the student council allowed me to not only contribute positively to the Schiller community but also forge meaningful connections with my peers and mentors, making it truly one of the best memories I have of my time at the Heidelberg Campus.

Which professors at Schiller impacted you?

At Schiller, I had the privilege of being taught by a remarkable group of professors who left a lasting impact on my academic journey.

During the challenging period of online learning brought on by Covid-19, all the professors at Schiller were able to increase participation and engagement among students.

Among these influential educators, Dr. Verbole, my thesis advisor, stands out as one of my favorite professors. What set her apart was her real-world experience, which added immense value to the learning process. At Schiller, most of our professors possess current and practical experience in their respective fields. They strike a unique balance by dedicating time to teaching and then returning to their professional roles for a month or two. This approach, unlike what I observed in some typical American colleges, where professors might have a more theoretical background, offers us the benefit of gaining insights from the real world.

Why would you recommend studying at Schiller International University?

From an American perspective, I highly recommend studying at Schiller University, as it offers a truly distinctive and enriching educational experience. For individuals like me, who have a passion for exploring the world and seeking diverse opportunities, this university provides the perfect platform.

One of the key advantages is that you can obtain an American degree while studying at Schiller, which has been an invaluable asset for my future plans. Having this American degree in hand gives me the flexibility and credibility I need as I prepare to move back to the US.

Simultaneously, Schiller also offers the opportunity to earn a degree from the University of Roehampton, opening doors for me to pursue future opportunities in Europe, which is a part of my plan as well. This dual-degree approach gives me the best of both worlds and enables me to be versatile in my career options and global aspirations.

Overall, the unique combination of an American degree, a degree from a reputable European university, and the diverse experiences offered at Schiller makes it an exceptional choice for anyone seeking a truly international and well-rounded university education.


Interview by Heidelberg Marketing & Communications.

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