Published on Feb. 1, 2015
Imagine arriving in a foreign country with one piece of luggage, severe jet lag and no idea how to get to your destination. That was the reality for Andrew Allee, a biochemistry major at MU, when he arrived in Berlin for the RISE internship through the German Academic Exchange Service last summer.
Allee served as a research intern for the program which is knows as DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst), where he grew a special strain of bacteria from corn stalks to produce ethanol.
“I did learn a lot as a researcher, sometimes you just have to take a chance on something, use your best guess and try to make it work,” Allee says.
Allee also assisted researchers at the institute. In addition to professional development, he learned more about himself.
“I emerged from that much more an independent adult than when I went into it,” Allee says.
Without much German language skills, culture shock was definitely a challenge for Allee to overcome. Living with five African exchange students as roommates, he had to learn how to adjust to their culture and Germany’s hierarchical society.
Now Allee wants to increase awareness of the DAAD programs, leading him to apply for an ambassador position.
“We’re the state’s largest research university with lots of talented undergrads,” Allee says. “More people should apply for this.”
As a DAAD Young Ambassador, Allee serves as a liaison for prospective applicants. His role requires a lot of collaboration with departments all over campus. He has recruitment sessions planned on campus, is recruiting through the Fellowships Office and looking for ways to collaborate with the German department.
Allee’s long-term career goal is to use his background in bioenergy to empower developing third-world communities.