December Undergraduate Global Student of the Month
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Our Undergraduate Global Student of the Month is Vivienne Sander. A native of Wolfsburg, Germany, Vivienne is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Management with a minor in International Business.
Vivienne was born and raised in Germany. She came to the states in August 2016 as a high school foreign exchange student. The exchange brought her to Ringling, OK where she stayed with a host family for the academic year. Her time in Oklahoma impacted her life so much that after receiving her diploma for high school she applied to several universities in the U.S.
Vivienne notes how interesting her hometown is. Wolfsburg is the location for the headquarters of Volkswagen which directly impacts Vivienne’s family.
“Wolfsburg is a very important part of the car industry. This is why Wolfsburg is such a big attraction for tourists. Both my parents work for Volkswagen.”
Vivienne’s dad is an interior designer and her mom works in the pilot series.
“My dad always worked full-time and my mom part-time. Which is why the only brand of vehicles we have are VWs and we get new cars every 9 months. That is the advantage of having parents who work for Volkswagen.”
In Germany students are not required to attend classes their senior year of high school if they are participating in an internship. Vivienne took this route and started working with an American Football Team in Germany.
“That one year of experience was the best year I ever had. I learned that I love being a Sports Manager. This one year showed me what my future could look like if I work hard for it.”
We asked Vivienne what stands out most to her about her country and culture.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is punctuality. Punctuality is one of the most important things you learn in Germany. I really admire my parents for teaching me to always be on time. Being on time is something I will need for the rest of my life.”
Vivienne then notes one of the biggest differences in the German way of life to that of life here in the US is the speed of everyday life.
“When I first came to Oklahoma everyone was really welcoming. Even people I met in the grocery store stopped and asked me how I was doing. For me that was a cultural shock. In Germany everything is on high speed. People don’t have time to talk. They usually don’t take a couple of minutes of their day to ask complete strangers how they are doing. Also, the German culture is very direct which sometimes can be perceived like we are mad and some people do get offended by it. I have had to learn to be more mindful of how I say certain things around here.”
One of the best parts about Germany to Vivienne are the Christmas Markets. These markets are set up in most towns and cities.
“The towns decorate the main street with Christmas lights and attractions for little kids. They put little stores up where people can buy handmade crafts and Christmas candy.”
Imagine a little north pole village in every town!
Experience at OSU
Vivienne’s time in Oklahoma as a high school student led her to apply to Oklahoma State.
“I decided to study at OSU because I love the Oklahoman culture. Everyone is always ready to help you and makes you feel like you are a part of one big family. OSU has a great sports management program with amazing teachers and great opportunities to get to know many people in the industry.”
Vivienne is also part of the student Sports Management Club, holds an internship with the Athletic Department, and is a Spears Mentor assisting incoming students.
“I am the community executive for the Sports management club. This position gives me the opportunity to work with a team that has the same interest I do. Through the club I can share with others how great it is to be a part of the Cowboy family.”
After graduation Vivienne would like to pursue a career in Sports Management.
“I know for sure that I want to pursue a career in Sports Management and work with a team. I am very passionate about equestrian and soccer. I am planning to work in either the horse or the soccer industry after graduation. Even though I know what I want to do after graduation, I do not know where I want to be. I can see myself staying here and starting a career in the states, but I can also see myself going back to Germany and working there in the soccer industry. I know that I will have to make this decision at one point but for now I am only focusing on my degree and building a network for my future.”
Living abroad has given Vivienne characteristics and skills she will use for the rest of her life.
“I think being from a different country gives you the opportunity to look at things
from a different perspective. Living away from home is always a challenge and I had
to learn quickly that I needed to be open-minded and walk up to others if I needed
help because I am not able to call my family any time of the day.”
Vivienne enjoys riding horses, hiking with friends, and lazy nights hanging out with her friends. She started riding horses when she was five years old and has never really stopped.
“Horses are my passion and I can’t imagine life without them. The barn is my happy place, the place I go when I need to clear my head and not think. Being around horses and training them teaches you to have a lot of patience. A horse is a mirror of yourself they know when you are mad, sad, or even scared and will mimic your mood. My horse is my best friend.”
Vivienne still has a connection with her host family from high school and rides horses at their home almost every weekend. The time she gets to spend with her horse is when she can unwind and relax.
“I know when I get to the barn and brush him he does not care about what happened that week and he will just listen. I forget about everything when I am riding which I think is very important. Spending time with my horse gives me the opportunity to relax and mentally get ready for the exams and assignments that are waiting on me.”
Not only does Vivienne enjoy relaxing with her horse, but she also loves spending time with her friends hiking or just having a lazy night in.
“I have lazy girl nights where we go out and eat and then sit on the couch, laugh, and watch one movie after the next until we fall asleep.”
Vivienne we are glad to call you an OSU Cowgirl and our Undergraduate Global Student of the Month! Congratulations!