May 11, 2022 – University of Wisconsin-River Falls students and nine students from RheinMain University Media Conception & Production in Wiesbaden, Germany, were able to collaborate and share their love of video and film work from April 28 through May 3 for the Global Design and Media CoSpace International Traveling Classroom.
UWRF has had an agreement with RheinMain University since 2011 for student and faculty educational exchanges. This year was the first time in two years a group of students, staff and faculty from Germany have been able to visit UWRF because of COVID-19. However, student semester exchanges have been continual.
On May 3, students from Stage and Screen Arts Professor Erik Johnson’s Electronic Field Production class presented their collaborative storytelling videos about a robotics facility at the University of Minnesota featuring interviews with Professor Junaed Sattar and his graduate students that also included a UWRF alum Chelesy Edge. RheinMain students presented their research and experiences at the National Association of Broadcasting conference in Las Vegas where they learned about the latest equipment available for video and filmmaking.
Rory Goodell, a UWRF sophomore majoring in Stage and Screen Arts, said he enjoyed having the RheinMain students visit UWRF.
“It’s a breath of fresh air,” Goodell, of Minneapolis, said. “It’s a great experience to get to know other people from different parts of the world. A lot of the RheinMain students have had professional experience with film. Yet we are all here for the same reason to learn. There is a mutual understanding. It’s just a mutual understanding of expressing stories. At the same time, everyone has different viewpoints and styles.”
Logan Carlson, a first-year stage and screen arts student, said he enjoyed learning different perspectives from the RheinMain students.
“It was interesting to see the experiences they have and how they incorporate that into their film,” Carlson, of Woodbury, Minn., said. “They also get a chance to see our perspectives. It is just a great exchange. Filmmaking is a universal language that everyone can understand. It’s a way to share our passion for it.”
Justin Roessler, a final year student at RheinMain university where he is studying media conception and production, said he was excited to come back to the United States and visit Las Vegas and River Falls. Roessler lived in Boston from 2017-18.
“I always enjoy the culture of the people here in the U.S.,” he said. “UW-River Falls seems to have a very unique, very personal learning experience.”
Roessler did interview some UWRF students during mock interviews.
“It was fun to sit side by side and talk and see how they present themselves and deal with tricky questions,” he added.
Johnson said he enjoys seeing the students interact and share their work.
“Working with RheinMain faculty, staff and students has been a highlight of my career,” he added.
RheinMain requires students to study abroad, noting on the university website that intercultural skills are a plus for students to find work and encourages students to look beyond their horizons and learn about other cultures.
Roessler encouraged UWRF students to consider visiting Germany and experiencing RheinMain.
“I feel education is very different here in the U.S.,” he said. “Money is spent differently on education in Germany. It is spent on educational equipment and technology. I think students would really benefit from that. We have a unique campus and a unique department. Going to experience diverse cultures is something people should do.”
Marc Urban, a master’s degree student at RheinMain University, wanted the opportunity to visit Las Vegas and River Falls.
“I really like it here,” Urban said. “You have a nice sense of community here. There is quite a lot going on here. It’s been fun and there has been great hospitality. It’s been a great learning process. The best takeaway is getting to know new people.”