Judith Freiin von Falkenhausen

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I have had a strong interest for American literature and culture since I first came to the US as a high school student at the age of sixteen. After my graduation from high school, I chose to focus on American Studies as a major at university and moved from my home town of Frankfurt am Main to Leipzig. Over the past years, I have been particularly drawn to American cultural history and contemporary American society. I devote a lot of time to study the question of American identity because I deem it crucial to the interdisciplinary focus of American Studies today. Besides, I like to look at the reasons underlying the vast differences between my home country, Germany, and my country of choice, the United States. In studying both American and German Studies towards a graduate degree, I hope to further deepen my understanding of these two contrasting nations. I have spent the entire past year as a foreign exchange student and teaching assistant for German at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where I also wrote my contribution to this journal. Over the summer, I have been working as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution's "Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage" in Washington, DC; my main task consisted of assisting in last year's production of the "Smithsonian Folklife Festival", which attracted over a million visitors to the National Mall. In my free time, I love to read (mostly novels and travel narratives), chat with friends, cook up exotic dishes, and take lots of photos with my digital camera. In addition, I am absolutely fascinated with languages; having grown up bilingually in German and French (my mother is Belgian and my father German), I am now studying Italian by myself. My greatest passion of all has always been traveling to foreign countries. Ultimately, I plan on enrolling in a PhD program in American Studies in the U.S. in order to further pursue my academic interests in the field.