PhD Student: April Moeller
April Moeller hails from the United States. She is a former Master student in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology at LMU and current PhD candidate at the Munich Center of the Learning Sciences, International Doctoral School REASON (Elite Network of Bavaria).
We asked her a few questions to better understand her motivation, the preparation process for doing research at LMU and her life in Munich.
Planning and Preparation
Why did you decide to study in Germany? There were a number of reasons for my decision to study in Germany for my Master’s degree. The biggest of those reasons was cost. I looked into Master’s programs in the U.S. but wanted to avoid taking out student loans. In addition to the low cost of studying in Germany, I wanted to live abroad and Munich is a wonderful place to live.
Why did you choose LMU Munich? LMU is a well-known and respected university both within Munich and internationally. They also have a great psychology department. I was also drawn to LMU by the program I chose. The Neuro-Cognitive Psychology (NCP) Master program was a small class of 16 and very international. The courses were taught in English, but we also had the opportunity to take German language classes or additional content courses in German if our grasp of the language was good enough. Living in Munich was also a big draw – it’s a beautiful city with a lot going on and a great location if you like outdoorsy activities like hiking in the Alps, swimming in the lakes, skiing, grilling in the parks, etc.
How did you learn about study abroad opportunities and the Neuro-Cognitive Psychology Master program at LMU? Initially I went to the study abroad office at my university but had more success simply by searching the internet for Master’s programs in psychology in Germany.
Why did you choose to continue your PhD at LMU after completing your Master’s degree? I really enjoyed my experience of studying and living in Munich and looked for opportunities to stay here. Additionally, once I had decided to continue with a PhD it made sense for me to look into three-year programs here rather than start over with a five-year program in the U.S. as is generally the case.
Life in Munich / in Germany
How is life as a student at LMU Munich? The NCP program was a small class of 16 and located a little north of the main campus, so most of my student interactions were with those other 15 students. But because we were a small class and together for two years, we became very close both as a class and as friends. Also, because NCP was a designed program, most of our courses were already determined, which also meant our schedules were mostly the same. We were located right at the Englischer Garten, so we often had study sessions or lunch breaks in the park or got ice cream from a Gelateria around the corner.
What do you like doing in Munich / in Germany? When the weather is nice in Munich, the entire city goes outside. I love this mentality and going out to a Biergarten or to the Park or to the riverside on a nice sunny day and simply appreciating the good weather. I like to bike along the river to the zoo or take the train for an hour out to the mountains to hike on the weekends.
What has been – as you see it – your “most German” experience so far? My most German experience is going to the grocery store a few times a week with my little rolling grocery cart. Coming from a city in Virginia where you had to drive everywhere, even though the grocery store was within walking distance, because there were no sidewalks to get there, I really like just walking to the grocery store. I also love the public transportation, which I use every day to get me to and from work and anywhere else I need to go. I don’t miss owning a car at all!
Tips and Advice
What advice do you have for students who consider studying at LMU / in Germany? Start learning German! Although English has been the official language of both my study programs, having a grasp of the German language has helped me so much! It opens doors to other classes, to research positions that require German. And while you can get around the city fine with English, your experience will be so different when people notice that you’re making an effort to learn and use the local language
Have you already gained work experience during your studies in Munich (e.g. internship)? Do you already have professional plans after finishing your degree? I worked as a research assistant in a few different positions during my Master’s. I’m currently employed by the university as part of my PhD program which requires me to teach some classes during my studies. I don’t have definite plans for after the PhD, but I’m open to staying in Germany, going back to the U.S., or moving elsewhere, where ever opportunities arise.