Pushing down a cart of assorted vegetables, almond milk, and a few unripe bananas, Chris Vogt wandered the aisles of Aldi for weekly groceries. The German supermarket chain reminds him of home.
“It starts with the surface of the floor, it’s the same, what do you call those things?” “Pattern” was the word he was looking for. He pointed out Winternacht gingerbread, Storck chocolate, German style Sauerkraut and Seltzer water (which is not German, but he just loves it).
A student at Stuttgart Media University, in Germany, Vogt is required to spend a semester abroad. Now he takes classes in Public Relations at Newhouse, continuing his studies in communications. He had worked at a radio station prior to Syracuse and when I realized I had lost most of the recordings of our conversation, he understood the need for quotes from audio and the importance of recording quality, and was kind enough to re-answer some of my questions.
When Vogt first arrived in mid-August, he visited the beer garden in downtown Syracuse. “Biergarten,” he emphasized, pronouncing the German word with a hard “t.”
“The funny thing is that you really see that it’s the way an American would imagine a beer garden,” he said. Vogt thinks the place isn’t quite the same as the ones in Germany, where there are specific kinds of tables and benches, and the biergartens occupy an outdoor space.
Being away from home, he reflected that it has made him appreciate and value friendships more. Two of his best friends will visit him in America in December, and to him, it’s a huge difference for them to say “I would love to come and visit you” over “really, actually doing it.”
Having only one semester to spend in America, Vogt tries to balance having fun and experiencing the culture with achieving his own goals. He wants to gain new perspectives, new ideas at Syracuse that can help him move forward in career and in life in Germany.
He said that he’s waiting on some kind of epiphany that hasn’t struck him yet, an epiphany that he should have after studying abroad on his own for months. He is hoping he might realize it after he goes back to Stuttgart: maybe feel different and approach things differently from the way he used to.
But Vogt doesn’t want to be a person that goes to another place for a long time, and then afterwards complains about being back in his old life. It’s important, he said, to be an optimist and feel like he can achieve more than he can right now with new perspectives into the media industry. But for now, he misses his city and will tour the west coast before finally reuniting with family and the familiarity of home.
There is an entire world of stories on the Syracuse University campus just waiting to be explored. In “Eye on ‘Cuse,” sophomore Jiaman (Maggie) Peng captures a new narrative every week.