Käsespätzle is a dish that is only found in southern Germany. It translates to “cheese noodles.” The German egg noodles with gobs of Swiss cheese and caramelized onions baked together is a favorite of Fresno State alumna Edith Gonzalez. Fortunately for her, she was accepted into a master’s program at the Technical University of Munich, which is in southern Germany, so there is a lot of Käsespätzle in her future!
Growing up with parents who migrated to the United States in the 1980s, Edith Gonzalez learned English at school while learning Spanish at home.
“At an early age, I became interested in foreign languages and politics, but unfortunately in high school, language programs were cut because of insufficient funding,” Gonzalez said.
After arriving at Fresno State, she was eager to explore another language. She enrolled as a Political Science major with a minor in German.
“I decided to learn German since foreign politics and the European Union are highly impacted by German leadership,” Gonzalez said.
She quickly fell in love with the language and incorporated German classes into every semester at Fresno State. After taking German for a year, she went to a study abroad information session and soon found herself preparing for a semester in Germany in the Fall of 2018.
“I applied for scholarships and grants. I was awarded the Richard H. Freimuth Memorial Grant, which awarded me $6,500 to cover my rent, tuition, and round-trip plane ticket,” said Gonzalez. “I was awarded other grants as well for being a first-generation student and for my good academic standing on behalf of Fresno State and USAC.”
During her semester in Lüneburg, Gonzalez spent her weekends exploring Germany and other countries in Europe, including Spain, Scotland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Austria. Wherever she went, she would often seek out nearby hills to hike or towers to climb to see the long view and take in the area’s beauty. Looking over a city or a rural landscape gave her time to ponder, to take in the moment.
“Being away from my family for that long, I felt like I finally grew into myself,” Gonzalez explained. “These special places revealed that to me.”
Through her study abroad experience, Gonzalez said she learned to set goals for herself, be more disciplined, improve her time management skills and be more adaptable. The experience also motivated her to get straight A’s so she could confidently apply to her dream M.A. program at the Technical University of Munich.
While she has not been able to travel back to Germany for her studies, she is in her second semester at the Technical University of Munich in the Politics and Technology program.
Gonzalez credits her German minor with motivating her to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree. Combining political science with German has opened unique career options which may not have otherwise been available.
Beyond college, she hopes to get work experience in the European Union working for a nongovernmental organization dealing with environmental sustainability. Eventually, she hopes to return to the United States to work on environmental policy. But, she adds, she is open to changing those plans depending on what new experiences await.