United States Military Academy, West Point, and Back Twice!

24 May 2019

Second Lieutenant Finn Kobza studied at the United States Military Academy in West Point from January to July 2018. There he had to "line up daily, be in uniform and often on duty on Saturday mornings", said the army officer. But that wasn't all. Kobza made friends for life, got to know a foreign country and its culture and made priceless experiences.

As a rule, a Bachelor’s degree is an integral part of the education of military officers. Some of the students spend part of it at a foreign university. We visited an officer of the Universität der Bundeswehr München and were told about his experiences in West Point.

With good performance studying abroad is open to you

“Your grades must be good enough, and, in addition to character suitability, linguistic skills are required," explains Kobza, who studies Social and Political Sciences at the Universität der Bundeswehr München (UniBw M) from 2014 until 2018. For the second time he was in West Point, which is about an hour and a half's drive north of New York.

The native of Schleswig-Holstein was last at the American Military Academy in 2016 for over four months. "It's good to see for yourself how the U.S. Army trains." For the American officer candidates West Point is at the same time the officer school, which imparts sound military knowledge to the young people.

Other countries, other priorities

According to Kobza a day in West Point usually looks like this: 7 o'clock line up, lessons starting from 7.30 o'clock. At 12 noon the 4000 students eat lunch at the same time. From 13:00 to 16:00 the lessons continue, followed by team sports. Because, as Kobza explains, "team sports is mandatory". From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. dinner is on the agenda. Afterwards housework and self-study. All in all a demanding workload and above all not in his mother tongue: "The language is a challenge, because the courses require a lot of reading," says the officer.

"Compared to our university, West Point is also thematically very militarily oriented," says Kobza and adds: "Contents such as military history, military policy or the so-called 'Officership' course on the values of an officer are on the curriculum. The teaching staff at West Point also consists mainly of officers. As Kobza explains, the focus at UniBw M is on upbringing to independence and adult education. West Point focuses more on the traditional aspect and guided learning.

Twice West Point and two scientific papers

"I wrote my bachelor's and master's theses about the Vietnam War," says Kobza. That's why his stay abroad in the USA was thematically a very good fit for the young soldier. "I was even able to conduct an expert interview with a veteran - something very special," he says proudly.

With the help of the international office into the wide world

The University's International Office makes stays abroad possible. "For me, spending time in West Point was a privilege," says Kobza. Of course, a selection of the best is also made here. Because the places available are rare and are distributed between the two Bundeswehr universities in Hamburg and Munich depending on the program.

The International Office is responsible for all questions related to study abroad, such as registration with the partner university or the necessary visa. The international office also provided advice and assistance on questions concerning the recognition of academic achievements: "What I missed in Germany, I was able to make up in the USA and so collect the missing credit points for my degree at the Universität der Bundeswehr München”.

A formative time with priceless experiences

"All in all, I really liked the camaraderie I experienced," explains the Master's graduate. Due to the multiple occupancy in the accommodations, everything from getting up to teaching to joint training is done within the company framework. "That's the way to grow incredibly close," Kobza confirms. In addition, there is the special hospitality of the Americans. The young man explains explains that he has found a second home in the USA.

"The stays abroad were by far the most formative time of my studies," says the 24-year-old. He made friends for life, improved his language skills and got to know a new culture. Kobza could recommend a stay abroad to all students.

He's already got his master in his pocket. Now Second Lieutenant Kobza is continuing his officer training in Germany. Initially three months at the Army Officers' School in Dresden. Afterwards the army officer will spend another 15 months at the infantry school in Hammelburg. His experiences from his time at West Point will always accompany him: "It was a great pleasure and honour for me to represent Germany and the Bundeswehr at West Point".

(Source: https://bit.ly/2G3nMsm)