Tag Archives: Germany

Julian: Changing Hats from Mechanical Engineer to Professor Soccer Player

Name: Julian Ringhof

Country: Germany

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Language(s): German, English


FullSizeRender“Hi Toreros! My name is Julian Ringhof and I was a student-athlete and international student at USD and graduated in Mechanical Engineering in December. But for now I left the engineering world behind. Growing up in Germany I started playing soccer when I was four years old. My entire family has always been very passionate about sports and becoming a professional athlete had always been a dream of mine. However, knowing that an athletic career doesn’t last forever and could come to a sudden end because of injuries I didn’t want to chase that dream at cost of a good education. So after going to university in Germany for one year while playing soccer semi-professionally I decided to transfer to a school in the United States to become a student-athlete. The college sports system in the US presented a great opportunity of keeping the dream of potentially becoming a pro athlete alive while receiving a great education on an athletic scholarship. A compromise the European college system doesn’t provide.

Unfortunately my path to USD was a little longer and more complicated than it could have been. My first two years I went to a state school in Los Angeles. Even though I had a great time at Cal State LA it became clear to me that for both a better soccer program and a better academic institution I needed to transfer. Transferring as a student-athlete however, is a rather complicated. I don’t want to go into details but it was quite the risk to ask for a release from my old school and potentially losing my entire athletic scholarship in order to reach out for other schools. Just coming back from an ankle surgery and not being able to train at the time made the process of finding an athletic scholarship at a better school even more complicated. Luckily Seamus McFadden, the head coach of the soccer program at USD, took the chance and offered me a transfer to USD to become a Torero. All it took for me was one visit to the beautiful USD campus and I knew this was where I wanted to go.

IMG_2503What followed were the best two and a half years of my life. I assume most of you don’t take the opportunity of studying at USD for granted but believe me being able to compare it to a regular state school made me appreciate it even more. The family-like atmosphere among students, professors, coaches and administration is what makes USD such a unique experience. The sense of community on campus is something that most European universities and many commuter schools in the US such as my first school do not have.  This sense of community is why I call USD home and why friendships with teammates and classmates at USD will last a lifetime. It’s only been a few months since I graduated but I already miss being a student-athlete at USD.

But as sad as it is that this chapter is over now the career opportunities that I have thanks to USD is more than I could have dreamed of when I first decided to come to the US. At a USD career fair my senior year I was offered a job by Solar Turbines, an international subsidiary of Caterpillar and arguably one of the best engineering companies in San Diego. And the job I was offered was exactly what I wanted my first job to be like: travel around the world for engineering projects.

However, I ended up not taking the job. This is because I was able to make my dream come true and become a professional soccer player. Two weeks ago I signed a contract with the Rochester Rhinos in New York to play pro soccer in the United States. Still understanding that an athletic career is limited to a few years the only reason I’m taking this chance of playing in the second tier of American soccer is because I have a degree in engineering from USD in my back pocket, the best career safety valve I could imagine. I’m sure sooner or later I will return to the engineering world.IMG_1731

So what can I say; I don’t think this journey of coming to the US and transferring to USD as a student-athlete could have turned out any better. Yes, it was a lot of hard work and being on the soccer team while earning a degree in engineering required a lot of sacrifice. But thanks to my friends, family, professors, coaches, the great support of the International Office and maybe some good German efficiency and time management the last two and half years were incredibly fulfilling and pure joy. Thank you USD and GO TOREROS!”

-Julian Ringhof

Reflections from German Biochemistry Graduate and Researcher: Lea Kiefer

Name: Lea Kiefer

Country: Germany

Major: Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics

Languages Spoken: German and English

Lea Kiefer (1)

Hey! My name is Lea Kiefer and I used to be an international student at the University of San Diego up until recently (Dec 2014) when I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a math minor. I specifically picked USD for its great science department. The department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as well as the Biology department are very small and full of great professors. Undergraduate research is mandatory and is easily accessible to all students studying in the sciences. The professors are highly supportive when it comes to scientific work inside and outside the classroom. It is even possible that a professor will take you to a national conference to present your research or include you on a scientific article published in a prestigious magazine. The key, not just in the science department, is to get to know your professors early on. USD professors are generally willing to help you out and are great connections to have.

Besides the academic side of USD, I think it is important to get involved in student life on campus. A great organization to join is, of course, the International Student Organization (ISO). I joined ISO my freshmen year and got selected into the executive board at the end of that year. I have served on the board until I graduated and never regretted my time commitment to ISO. I found many of my best friends in ISO and it somewhat evolved into my family far away from home. Another great opportunity that USD bears is the Outdoor Adventures Club. They usually organize amazing camping and hiking trips to the various national parks close by. In addition, it is also important to join professional clubs and honors organizations to boost your resume.15993561985_c50764d742_z

Even though USD might not be one of the top schools in the country, it can definitely give you what most top schools cannot give an undergraduate student: lots of one-on-one time with your professors. So make use of that because it will give you an advantage over many other skilled applicants when you go on to graduate school or into the working field. If you decide to go to graduate school you should take the generalized tests necessary (GRE, GMAT) early on in the summer before your senior year. This will allow you enough time to find schools, apply and send the necessary documents. It is important to keep checking in with your faculty advisor while in the application process, since he or she will have a tremendous influence on your application through the letter of recommendation.

Overall, it is never too early to start thinking about future plans and the earlier you start the better prepared you are for what is about to come.

– Lea Kiefer