6F - New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 8, 1999
HIT THE ROAD (and the books, too)
By Jacob Wheeler something foreign in the United States. Only
Daily Staff Writer the Baechle, the small, peaceful streams run-
FREIBURG, Germany - Here at the ning along many pedestrian lanes, keep
Greiffenegg Biergarten, perched atop flowing normally. The Strassenbahn passes
Schlossberg, the highest vantage point in by and Europe resumes its normal, relaxed
greater Freiburg, the American college stu- pace.
dents sit on picnic tables gulping their half- The American students have missed their
liter Hefe-weizens and munch on warm streetcar but it's no problem. Another one
Brezels (breaded German pretzels) because will be coming along in 10 minutes. The
the hot, Southern German sun reminds them only things on their minds now are making it
thatit's still too early in the day to drink to the grocery store before it closes for a
beer. mid-day break (stores in Europe always
It's 11:30 a.m. on a Monday in mid-spring close for an hour or two in the early after-
and, back home in the United States, that's noon to give the workers a lunch break) and
also too early in the week to drink alcohol: planning the next long weekend trip
the pleasure of the refreshing wheat beer to Prague or Barcelona. A week-
would be overshadowed by chemistry assign- end is not a long time for a
ments or frantic preparations for the out- vacation, but almost any loca-
spokenly tough Michigan midterms. tion in Europe is reachable
But for Americans studying ' within a day because of the
abroad in Europe, weekly home- continent's reliable train
work assignments are no obsta- system.
cle. They know that the German ' These students are experi-
university system stesses one exam encing what some would call
or term paper due at the end of the year-long vacations. The diffi-
semester, and sometimes one oral class cult points of culture shock are
presentation - but no busywork that locks over for them: The grueling jet
students in the Graduate library until 4 a.m. lag upon arrival, the frustrating
five nights a week. language barrier before they were
Time isn't the enemy of these Michigan confident enough to speak German with
students enjoying a year-abroad program in a native strangers in town, the bureaucracy of
historically Medieval town at the base of the picking classes at a new university in a new
Black Forest. country and, of course, the dwindling service
Time is a concern, though. In super-pune- hours at grocery stores.
tual Europe, time could be the fifth of the Yet they're actually knocking off a year of
natural elements: earth, wind, fire, water ... college by studying - and traveling when
and time. This is apparent every 15 minutes time allows - through Europe, this conti-
when the numerous clock towers all over nental microcosm of different landscapes,
Freiburg chime to each others' melodies. The different languages and different cultures,
chime is a warning to those walking down a separated sometimes by only a few kilome-
peaceful cobblestone street: Watch out! Here ters.
comes a Strassenbahn (street car), and order Freiburg, for instance, lies about half an
is momentarily interrupted as bikers, pedes- hour away from Switzerland and 40 minutes
trians and pigeons jump out of the way of away from France. You can buy a bottle of
ocoming public transportation - French wine, a loaf of hearty German
see. Study ..
bread and a bar of Swiss chocolate for
under 10 Deutschmarks (about $5.50).
University students, as well as most
American college students, have many
opportunities to study abroad in Europe, or
almost anywhere else in the world. Year-
long programs are offered in conjunction
with an American university, as well as
some shorter, semester-long or even summer
programs. The general requirements for
Michigan students at the moment are simply
a minimum number of course semesters in
the given language, junior year standing and
a good academic record.
In Ann Arbor, the Office of International
Programs, located on State Street next to the
Michigan Union, facilitates all University
of Michigan-linked study abroad pro-
grams. OIP currently offers over 60 pro-
grams in every continent except
Antarctica (French wine isn't as easy to
find there, anyway). OIP Director
Carol Dickerman said the two most
popular sites for Michigan students
are Great Britain and Australia.
"English language countries are
the most popular destinations," she
said. This is in line with study-abroad
numbers at other universities as well."
Dickerman estimates that about 400 to
500 University students a year participate in
study-abroad programs administered by the
OIP. Most of them are LSA students.
But OIP is not necessarily satisfied with
such a small percentage (less than ten per-
cents of the total LSA student body) study-
"I don't think that any study-abroad office
would say that it is satisfied with the number
of students unless it can somehow get every
student abroad at some point in his/her
undergraduate career," Dickerman stated.
"The biggest obstacles now to students
considering studying abroad are financial
and academic." Dickerman said, pointing out
that meeting academic requirements may be
more difficult abroad.
Some of the more competitive programs
at the University, like the Business School or
the College of Engineering, make it tough to
study abroad for an entire year and still grad-
uate in four, deterring many prospective par-
University of Wisconsin in Madison and the
current resident director of the Wisconsin-
led Academic Year in Freiburg program - in
which Michigan 'students take part - dis-
courages shorter programs compared to
"The major trend over the past decade has
been half-year programs (one semester)
because students are often not willing or
financially able to spend an. entire year
abroad. Only about 14 percent of all study-
abroad programs now are full-year programs
and ours is indeed an 11-month program."
Howell argued that it takes a while for
students to get used to a new culture and a
new school system.
"We want our students to experience first-
hand the life of a German university student.
In order to achieve that the students have to
be here for an entire year because it's only
after the first semester that they really begin
... or travel? For many University student
the choice is a tough one when studying
abroad. Fortunately, there's enough time
In a semester - or a full year, to do both
Photo iustration by RICK FREEMAN/Daily H
to see how things work
and their lingustic skills are
developed enough to participate
fully in German seminars. Students say home.
almost without exception after the first Challenges like weighing your own C
semester that they're just barely getting into and bringing your own bags to a Gefr
it." grocery store or getting hold of the landlord
Howell - an American -- teams with who only has "office hours" for a half ser
native German Sabine Habermalz , facili- every two weeks can be trying.
tate the AYF program, But none of this year's AYF students have
They lead American students through the abandoned ship and flown home to the
paperwork, help them pick courses, find familiarity of North America. In fact. some
places for them to live and introduce them to have actually made plans to stay in Germany
all the difficulties which students face in a through the summer and into next fall
foreign land. Their cross-ocean nationality either because they've found jobs or th.ey'
creates a bridge which makes it easier for fallen in love with locals.
AYF students to settle into the German cul- Lauren Pierzchalski, currently a senioi
ture for a year. Wisconsin, didn't land a job here and, she
"With the AYF program you have an hasn't tied the knot with any Germans.. But
office, you're never alone, you have com- she is satisfied with her study abroad experf
plete liberties, but you also have the help if ence through AY, as well as the traveling
you want it," Habermalz said. "The cord that she's done through Europe during her vaca-
exists between students and their parents tions.
study abroad." can leave for a whole year and be away from
Habermalz, who once studied abroad her- their family. But the positives of studying
self in Madison (the home of the University abroad definetely outweigh the negatives,
of Wisconsin is a sister city of Freiburg's) I've done more in my-short year here ti
glows when she describes the character most people have done in a lifetime. It's al
transformations which students go through so convenient, anybody who wants to go to
when they study abroad. France from the States has to buy a p110
"I've seen the way students change during ticket ... I just hop on a train."
a year abroad. When they first arrive they're Pierzchalski proudly pulls out three full
shy, they're tired. As the year goes on they photo albums which she's compiled onrips
start to pick up things: widening their hori- from Munich to Barcelona, to Lisbon, to
zons, improving their German. They didn't Amsterdam, to Rome, to Venice. She s
know what they were capable of. been nearly everywhere in Western
"When you transfer yourself to anoth- Europe and yet she's fulfill
er culture and then back again you grow ayear of college at the saW.
up not gradually, but in leaps." time.
Studying abroad certainly presents A couple term papers still
difficulties. Small differences between loom on the horizon, but tonight
the United States and Europe can force she's going across the Rhine Rivg
shy, meek students to their knees in to France with a German friend, fos
tears during the first weeks away from dinner and red wine.
'U' wants discoveries out ofInstitute ifirstfive years
Continued from Page IF
study complex biological systems
and will be tied to teaching biotech-
nology, biomedical engineering, evo-
lution and human behavior and
But the initiative will additionally
seek to establish a better understand-
ing of the relationship of develop-
ments in the life sciences to human
values and person-environmental
Omenn said these discoveries
should be able to be used in "imme-
diate clinical practice."
At the May regents meeting, Allen
Lichter, dean of the Medical School,
said discoveries made at the LSI will
further medical science.
"If we have the people organized
in the right fashion, we will be able
to reveal the secrets of life," he said,
adding that "we are at a truly histor-
ical place in medical science."
In May 1998, Bollinger formed a
commission to study how the
Univeristy could improve the quality
of life science research and educa-
"We seek to place the University at
the forefront of this important field,"
according to the 'Life Science
Commission's report released in
In the report, the Commission said
that "Michigan is currently good, but
not outstanding in the life sciences,
and the Commission's goal is to put
Michigan in a position of leadership
commensurate with its standing in
other scholarly arenas."
Members of the Commission gave
a presentation to the regents in
March, outling the guiding principles
for the initiative.
At the May regents meeting held at
the Fair Lane Estate on the
University's Dearborn Campus,
architects Denise Scott Brown and
Robert Venturi of the Philadelphia-
based firm Venturi, Scott Brown and
Associates presented initial designs
for the LSI.
The plans revealed a proposed
multi-building LSI complex, to rise
along Washtenaw Avenue across
from Palmer Field, linking the
Central and Medical campuses.
Along with the proposed state-of-
the-art facility, the regents expressed
their excitement for the possible
research breakthroughs to come.
When the regents approved the
proposals, many believed it was a
defining moment for the University.
Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-
Ann Arbor) called the proposal "one
of the most important" items the
board had ever voted on.
"This is a great and defining
moment for the University," said
Regent Laurence Deitch (D-
Like other life science proposals at
other colleges and universities, the
University's LSI will bring students
and faculty from different areas and
"If you go to other institutions
around the country, the story is going
to be interdisciplinary," Krenz said.
Although Krenz said many other
colleges and universities that are pur-
suing the life sciences in a similar
manner, there are a few things that
will set the University's LSI apart
from the rest.
"We have both a medical school
and an engineering school ... we
have a lot of schools of health ... the
wide variety of disicplines is one of
our big strengths," Krenz said. "It's
unique in diversity and in its
University Provost Nancy Cantor
said one of the LSI's gretest benefits
will be its role as place where
University students and faculty can
come together to exchange their
ideas, broadening the educational
horizon of everyone at the
"It will serve as a gathering place
for departments across campus ...
and will serve as a centerpiece" for
the University, Cantor said.
While some collegiate life science
proposals focus only on research,
Krenz said the LSI will incorporate
both graduate and undergradute 'edu-
cation into it's research capacities.
An undergraduate living-learning
program focusing on the life sci-
ences is to be established at Couzens
Residence Hall, located across street
from where the LSI complex is to
"It would be irresponsible of us
not to build in undergraduate educa-
tion," Krenz said.
Although the core of the LSI will
focus on the study of structural and
chemical biology, cognitive neuro-
science, genomics and complex
genetics, Krenz said that all
University departments and colleges
tied to the LSI will benefit.
"Part of the mission is to be sure
that there are links to the core," he
Filling a gap
The Life Science Institute will fill
a gap in the University's curriculum
and reasearch as well as a physical
The LSI complex will rise in the
"Cat Hole," a depression behind
North Hall and the School of
Dentistry, currently a parking lot and
service area for the University Power
Because of the site's awkward ter-
rain, "... it's the last piece of major
real estate left on Central Campus,"
University Chief Financial Officer
Robert Kasdin said. "This plan cre-
ates a space where there is currently
Directly linking the Central and
Medical campuses for the first time,
the LSI will erase the "Cat Hole" a
barrier that has prevented the physi-
cal cohesion of the campus for the
past 100 years, Kasdin said.
The LSI's plan includes an elevat-
ed walkway, plaza and bridge over
Washtenaw Avenue that ends near
Couzens Residence Hall.
The complex itself will include:
three new buildings, one for the
LSI and two for non-laboratory aca-
demics, one including a cafeteria.
a large parking structure below
a proposed seven-story laborato-
ry building, to be built north of the
site, across East Huron Street from
the Power Plant, between Zina
Pitcher Place and Glen Avenue.
The presentation of the initial site
plan by Venturi and Scott Brown was
accompanied by planning reports
that are part of Bollinger's Master
Plan - an initiative to look at plan-
ning in a broad ense, joining the
Ann Arbor campuses in a more phys-
ically cohesive manner.
These reports gave a comprehen-
sive look at the land and building
use of the University's property and
how it co-exists with the surrounding
city of Ann Arbor. Included in the
reports were maps showing every-
thing from the walking paths of first-
year students, to the use of campus
and off-campus entertainment facil-
ties to the clusters of laboratories
The reports showed how the Ann
Arbor campus began life clustered
around the Diag, but has spread
among multiple campuses in and
around the city.
Bollinger said that when he left the
Univeristy to become provost at
Dartmouth College, the University
had two major campuses, Central
But when he returned, Central
Campus had separated into smaller
areas including the Hill and the
Athletic and Medical campuses
Also some outlying University
offices had evolved into the
Briarwood and East campuses.
Any future University growth will
be guided by the Master Plan, so any
additional building will not only be
meaningful to its surroundings but to
those at the University who will use
the future facilities.
"As a discipline, architecture
seems to be more focused," Krenz
said. When designing buildings "you
need to adjust to people's behavior."
The price tag
The cost of the proposal is one of
the biggest initiatives the University
has committed itself financially.
"Any time you set aside $200 mil-
'lion, you are doing something big,"
About $150 million of that total
will come from the University
Health System, which includes the
University Hospitals, Medical
School and M-Care, the University's
health management organization.
Kasdin said the Central
Adminstration fund will foot the
remaining $50 million of the bill.
Although the $200-million price
tag may send some into sticker
shock, Kasdin said the proposal is
"within the University's financial
Although Kasdin said the figures
are "extremely preliminary," about
$110 million of the total allotment
will be put into the LSI endowment.
About $70 million of the total will be
used to construct the complex,
Kasdin said, leaving the remaining
$20 million for as of yet determined
The price tag for the Life Science
initiative ranks among the most
expensive University projects to
Although he could not say for cer-
tain whether the LSI would be the
costliest University expenditure,
Kasdin said the project compares to
the establishment of the Institute for
Social Research in the 1950s'and the
building of the University Hospitals
in the 1980s, which cost in the "hun-
dreds of millions of dollars."
But Kasdin and other administra-
tors contend this significant invest-
ment of University funding is well
worth it, considering the academic
and research benefits the University
reaps down the line.
"We're making a very important
committment," Kasdin said.
The University is not waiting nti
the LSI complex is completen ge
started in transforming life secene
research at the University.
"In the 1999-2000 academic:yea
we should have a director name
plans completed, and maybe eve
have some activities launc
Krenz said. "There is nothing s
ping us from having a sen'na
Once a director is named,th
search for faculty can begin.
Omenn said the LSI will not onil
utilize current faculty members; tft
will seek out 30 additional ones.
The Univerisity's LSI initiative-i
attracting interest from the nati'n
top students and researchers.
Sean Morrision, formally a t
doctoral fellow at Californi
Technical University, said part of the
rmason why he came to Ann Arbort
become part of the University-s LSI
(he will research stem-cell biology
because of the University's effortlto
break down interdepartmental barri-
ers and fostering of junior faculty.
"Everybody in the life sciences
who are going to be successful in the
future are the people who fsr
interdisciplinary work," Morrison
said. "Of all the universities.,,he
University of Michigan has done he
best job at bringing down iterde-
Omenn said that Morrison, noa an
assistant professor in internal medi-
cine, was one of the top students in
the nation - Morrison's choice- to
come to the Ann Arbor shows -the
attention the University's LSI is
receiving from around the natio*
In the meantime, bringing the-LSI
to reality remains one of the number
one priorities for the University
"The idea is to work quik'ly,"
Krenz said. "In two years, we hs4e to
have a building and faculty appoint-
"In five years, things should be
running at full speed."