Miami University graduate Corinne Weisgerber outside the “Der Däiwel” bar in Fredericksburg, Texas. The bar is owned by two sisters from Luxembourg.
There’s a slight American twang in Corinne Weisgerber’s voice when she speaks Luxembourgish.
Weisgerber has lived in the States for over 20 years, ever since she left her native Luxembourg to study speech communication at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “I was planning on going there for a couple of years to get my degree and work as a reporter back in Europe, but that didn’t happen,” she says.
Weisgerber had realised that she wanted to go into research and teaching, so she stayed in the States to do a masters and later a PhD at Penn State University. An expert in social media and technology, she is currently associate professor of communication at Concordia University in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her husband.
As a high-school student, Weisgerber was chosen as one of a few Luxembourgers to do a six-week summer programme at Miami University. While there she found out that Miami was offering scholarships for Luxembourgers to study at the Ohio campus. Weisgerber’s first impression of the American university system was so positive that she applied for the scholarship; just a year later, in 1995, she arrived at Miami as an undergraduate.
“The campus was beautiful, with a friendly atmosphere and lots of clubs to get involved in. I was a part of Alpha Phi Omega, a fraternity that was active in various service projects throughout the year. Plus, there was a great dining hall downstairs from my dorm. I wish I still had this luxury now,” she jokes.
Different yet familiar
In her first years of living in the States, Weisgerber liked that everything was bigger than back in Luxembourg. “I got a kick out of going to the giant grocery stores,” she explains. “We would sometimes go shopping in the middle of the night, just for the fun of it.”
Other things, however, were not so different from home. She remembers walking into the university bookstore and running into one of her former high school teachers from Luxembourg. It turned out that his wife had also been studying at Miami through the relationship the university has with Luxembourg, and they had come back to visit the campus again.
Weisgerber has been back to Oxford once since graduating to see one of her good friends from Miami, who is now a professor at the university. “The campus has changed a bit,” she says. “It looks bigger now and the iconic water tower has gone.” She also tries to visit her home country twice a year, usually at Christmas and once in the summer.
Has she ever been tempted to move back to Luxembourg? “The last couple of years since the American elections haven’t been the easiest, but I finally got my US citizenship a year ago,” Weisgerber explains. “And the good thing about being a professor is that I have my summers off and get to return to Europe for a while then.”