Lucas Bittigkoffer, a junior Mechanical Engineering major, traveled nearly 4,000 miles from home to attend school at Manhattan College. He chose MC primarily because of its location, where the lure of the city drew him to a place quite different than the one where he grew up.
Lucas’ hometown is Bauschlott, a small village in the southern part of Germany, with a population of about 5,000 people. Because of its small size, “everybody knows almost every person,” Lucas said. While Lucas now finds himself living among the 8 million people who call New York City home, his time in Germany forged some of his greatest friendships.
“My best friends are from the village,” he said, where small-town life keeps people together even after high school.
While Lucas has adjusted well to the different pace that characterizes NYC, he has noticed a lot of differences between here and home.
“Everything is working [in Germany], usually people are really nice and helpful, [and] there are not as many restrictions and laws,” Lucas said. “[It’s] much freer home than here.”
Still, a lot of the things that Lucas expected when coming to school in the United States have actually been true of his experience here. He looked forward to “meeting some nice new friends and improving [my] English, training with a team and doing a lot of stuff in the city.”
Back home in Germany, a perfect day for Lucas would include driving on the Autobahn, especially because it’s only five minutes from his house. And while his speed is “kind of limited,” partly because his car does not go 200 km per hour (about 120 mph), it is still an exhilarating ride. Back home, his day might also include enjoying the nature that surrounds his home, and even going for a run. For Lucas, his favorite place in Germany is his home, but for someone visiting, there is a lot to see and take in.
The list of cities within Germany that Lucas would recommend visiting include Stuttgart, Munich, Karlsruhe and Berlin, while a short trip to Paris, France is something Lucas also suggests. He would encourage anyone visiting to take part in outdoor activities that include skiing, swimming, mountain biking, rafting, climbing or hiking, at places that include the Black Forest, Lake Constance and the area around the Rhine. Anyone visiting would also need to see the Alps. The area right before the Alps start, Allgäu, “is one of the most beautiful areas in Germany,” said Lucas. “I really like to be there with [the] lakes and mountains.”
While Lucas is happy with his decision to attend MC, he will also acknowledge that sometimes, he does miss home. When asked what he misses most he replied, “home-cooked food [and] my bed…it’s better at home.”
Despite sometimes missing his home in Germany, Lucas has made a home for himself here. One of his fondest memories of college is his first Thanksgiving. Despite being with his friend’s family, Lucas thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. There was “a lot of food, family, and although it was not my family, a lot of fun and nice conversations.”