Meet our students

Studied in Munich: Brett Gooden

 Brett Gooden graduated with his Bachelor’s in Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011. He moved to Munich from Taiwan in 2016 to pursue his Master’s degree in American Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität.


Why did you choose to study abroad in Germany, and why did you choose LMU Munich? I chose Germany because I had met several Germans while living in Taiwan and the United States and had always been impressed with German people themselves. After several years of full-time work I was ready to further my education and the international educational environment, affordable tuition prices and generally high regard for the country after how they handled the 2015 migrant crisis I was sold that Germany was where I was going next. I applied to and was accepted into schools in Berlin as well but ultimately chose LMU Munich because the quality of the school was consistently rated amongst the best in the country and I believed Munich would be a more authentic “German experience.”

How did you learn about study and research opportunities for international students at LMU Munich? The DAAD website was an incredibly helpful resource for me early on and I must have annoyed our program department head with weekly emails for about a month before finally figuring everything out. Her responses were super prompt and helpful throughout the whole process!


How would you describe student life at LMU Munich? Perfect, really. It was only tough for the initial weeks but within a semester I felt like I knew at least half of the people in my program. Post-class coffee or further debate over topics in the seminar were not uncommon. A few of my professors would even invite us for dinner and drinks after lectures some evenings! I enjoyed my time as a student in Munich a whole lot more than I had even planned before coming here and that’s saying something considering how high my expectations were!

What did you find the most rewarding and challenging about your time in Germany? The most challenging aspect has definitely been adjusting to the lack of general sociableness of a lot of Germans. In the places I’ve lived people have always had no problem sharing a conversation with a complete stranger they met on the plane for hours and then saying goodbye and never seeing them again. Adjusting to a life without much small talk has taught me to be a bit less roundabout probably…maybe. The most rewarding part of coming here has been being required notarizations for your certifications to prove you got some perfect grade on a spelling test you took in 3rd Grade and somehow managing to graduate without ripping all of my own hair out as a result. Coming out on the other side of that has been a nice ego boost for me, knowing I can adult properly.

What was, as you remember it, your most “German” experience? Definitely the time I placed my half-full coffee on a ledge to rest for a minute while I grabbed a pen out of my bag to write something down and having it picked up less than 5 seconds later by a disgruntled German man that was randomly walking past thinking I was littering it there and was too lazy to throw it away myself.

Tips and Advice

What advice do you have for prospective students considering studying abroad in Munich/Germany? Have several copies of absolutely everything you’ve ever done in your life and have it officially notarized by fifty different institutions in every language in human history.

Have you already gained work experience during your studies in Munich? Do you already have professional plans after finishing your degree?  Yes, some of the classes offered in our program have been helpful in setting me up for future success and my professional plans are going to be in research, museum work or diplomacy.

Joanna Pope