By Tonia Ciancanelli

Managing Editor

As part of a cultural enhancement opportunity, Germany-native Roland Hoppe invites LBCC students to explore Berlin this Summer with a gratuitous trip.

Hoppe, who has been living with terminal pancreatic cancer since July 2012, remembers how Americans treated him upon immigrating to the States in 1961.

With no children of his own, Hoppe said, “Many young people don’t have an opportunity to travel abroad and they’re closed off to what’s happening in the rest of the world,” adding, “America was good to me and I want to give something back.”

Upon submitting the two-page application and $20 non-refundable check to the Roland Hoppe Foundation by March 15, selected applicants will undergo an interview screening process.

“We ask students to commit to the $20 processing fee to show they want it, that they’re serious,” Hoppe said.

Without limitations as to how many students may be granted this opportunity, Hoppe encourages applicants not to “diddle daddle” submitting their application.

“There is no next time. I don’t know what will happen with the foundation after I’m gone,” he urged.

Expecting selected students to be resourceful, he’s requiring them to find and book their own housing and round-trip flight to Berlin for their month-long voyage.  Airfare and a $250 weekly allowance will be compensated by the foundation.

The opportunity is open to all LBCC students and fluency in German is not required, however, Hoppe reiterated it would make catching the train and ordering dinner a lot easier.

With nearly 82 million people in Germany, Ingrid Wollank, foreign languages professor, said students making the pilgrimage would be exposed to a culture varying immensely from that in California, as Germany has the No. 1 economy in Europe.

“It’s a wise decision for students to learn another language and to study the language in that country. German is an important language in the business world. This opportunity is a god-send for students,” Wollank said.

LBCC was once known for its international study opportunities, but the programs were canceled due to budget cuts, Wollank said.

Janelle Scarritt, 19, a mechanical aerospace engineer major who is studying German in the advanced course, said she plans to apply for the trip to Berlin because Germany has a huge engineering market.

“The architecture and landmarks are a given, but I really want to experience all of the people. I want to walk around the corner and see what I find,” Scarritt said anticipating her potential trip.

Lorenzo Franks, 23, a liberal arts major, likes the idea that the trip is an individual journey.  Studying as a high school exchange student in Paris, Franks recalled looking like a tourist because all of the American students clustered together, only speaking English.

Franks said, “I don’t want a repeat of that trip. I want to get out and meet the locals, experience Berlin as someone who is living there, not just another tourist.”

Many of the first-year German students expressed no interest in applying for the trip because of prior Summer commitments or family obligations.

More information may be found by emailing Hoppe at Berlinkid10@gmail.com.