E-Veritas Sits Down With German Exchange Officers.
25337 OCdt Chris Manning – Public Information Officer (CWPIO)
There are many exchange programs that the Royal Military College of Canada. These programs contribute to the culturally rich and dynamic environment of the College. From experiences with other militaries, the officer cadets at RMC can learn much that will benefit them in their future careers. The interesting perspective that exchange officers possess allow us to rethink and re-evaluate how we view our own circumstances.
25337 OCdt Chris Manning on behalf of e-Veritas caught up with two German exchange officers, 2LT Franziska Czens and 2LT Philipp Mittel. The two exchange officers graciously shared some of their experiences, explained their program, and provided their perspectives on the College.
Can you describe your exchange program? How long is it and what does it include?
There are two different types of exchange. The German Armed Forces University Hamburg has permanent programs with universities for example in Australia, Canada or the USA but it is also possible to study as a free mover at foreign universities. At first, you have to apply for an exchange. This application includes a recommendation from your superior, a recommendation from a professor, the motivation for the exchange, and the transcript of records. Then, all applications are evaluated by a group of professors and officers.
When you are selected for an exchange there is a lot of administration and a medical fitness test involved. Normally, an exchange takes one trimester and takes place in the 7th or 10th trimester.
How is the Royal Military College different from your previous educational experience?
Franziska: The structure of the German officer training program is very different from the Canadian one. In our military, everyone must begin as a private and work their way up to the rank of Officer. Before attending university, there is a one year program of military officer training. During this one year period we complete our Basic Officer Training, complete a lot of physical fitness development, and learn the basics of interacting with people as an officer. As well, we learn language, politics and history in this year.
After that year is complete, we begin our academic studies. Our university resembles a civilian university when compared to the Royal Military College. We attend all of our classes in civilian attire, and the focus is solely on education. We take 12 courses each year, and at the end of our four years, we will have a Masters degree.
Can you describe your interaction with cadets at the college? How have you been made to feel welcome?
The cadets are really friendly and respect us; they also are interested in the German military and the training. We have been encouraged to get involved with college activities. We try to seek an interaction with the cadets. For example, we took part in the Obstacle course with the cadets of Pontiac squadron, which was a fun and interesting experience.
What do you find most interesting about the culture at RMC?
I have noticed that everything at RMC is very organized. The cadets have very structured schedules that include daily military activities, academics, sports, and other commitments. Cadets were surprised to hear that our Military College was less structured in terms of schedule.
What would you like to do/ where will you be going after you finish your exchange?
When I go back to Germany, I will write my Masters Thesis. After I have finished my degree, I will start my special military training for my trade.
From our interview, I was reminded of the numerous differences that exist between the many institutions with which we partake in exchange programs. The experience that can be shared between cadets and other officers in training is something for which we should be thankful. e-Veritas would like to thank 2LTs Czens and Mittel for graciously sharing their stories.