Sherry (Jordan) Johnson: “Schiller opened the door to the world to me. It sparked my curiosity and cultural tolerance”.
January 29, 2024
All Knowledge Areas
Alumni Spotlight: Sherry Johnson
In our 60 years of history, Schiller has been privileged to witness a remarkable array of alumni who have travelled through our campuses. These individuals have not only experienced, but also thrived under our unique experiential learning methodology and multicultural approach. Their professional achievements and personal growth are testaments to the values and skills imparted during their time at Schiller. They were pioneers, in a time when travel & study was not as common as it is today. And it was thanks to their success that Schiller thrived too. Throughout this year, we want to pay homage to those first Schiller students. Sherry Johnson is one of them.
In the academic year of 1975-76, Sherry (Jordan) Johnson, then a junior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, embraced the opportunity to participate in an exchange program at Schiller International University's Heidelberg campus. She successfully earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University, followed by pursuing a Master's in Social Work at Florida State University. Sherry's professional journey led her to significant roles within the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy, where she served as a Counseling & Advocacy Program Supervisor and Family Advocacy Program Manager. She has since retired from her distinguished career with the Department of Defense at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Sherry's inspiring story resonates with us, and we take great pride in having her as a valued alumna. She visited our Heidelberg campus recently, and we had a chat with her.
How did you discover Schiller International University?
I attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and they had an exchange program with Schiller. A friend told me that she was going to be attending, and when I got the information, I decided to attend too.
Can you share some of your fondest memories from your time at Schiller International University?
The location, Heidelberg, was amazing. The cultural experience was life changing. The ability to travel. I must say that at that point I never enjoyed history. I took a German history class that was absolutely amazing. The class changed my view, and interest, in history. Meeting students from different everywhere was amazing. The trip we took to Prague during the first semester was a life changing trip. The interactions I had there with some locals helped me to see myself in a different light.
How would you describe the spirit and culture of Schiller during your years on campus?
I found everyone to be helpful and supportive. My transition was seamless.
During your recent visit, what changes did you notice on the campus compared to your time as a student?
The campus is no longer located in the building on Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage. That was the biggest difference. There was a spirit and ambiance about that beautiful building. Also, the location was walkable to the Hauptstrasse. The current location is more business-like.
How do you feel about the evolution of the university and its facilities?
I was happy to see that the University was still up and running. I believe that the ability for a student to travel abroad for study is a wonderful opportunity. While I appreciate the new facility, I am not thrilled by it, as stated above. I do, however, feel that it has everything a student needs to succeed. It is set up as a perfect learning environment.
Despite the changes, what aspects of Schiller do you think have remained the same?
The positive spirit of the staff. I felt this when I visited.
How has your education at Schiller played a role in your life since graduation?
I only attended Schiller for one year. I felt the quality of my education during that year was a great one. I was challenged and took classes that I otherwise would not have taken. Schiller opened the door to the world to me. It sparked my curiosity and cultural tolerance. It made me want to learn more about people and their cultures. Because of my time at Schiller, I went on pursue employment in Germany. I spent 6.5 years working in Germany with the US Army after I finished graduate school.
What do you consider to be the most valuable aspect of your Schiller experience?
The introduction to people from different cultures.
What advice would you give to current students to help them make the most of their Schiller experience?
Be open to self-examination and cultural differences. Travel if you can. Learn as much as you can.