International flavor and good deeds dominated yesterday's meeting of the Patapsco Valley Chapter No. 3850 American Association of Retired Persons.
Three Towson State University exchange students compared their educations here and in Germany and shared their views of reunification.
Christina Golluecke and Michael Gerkmann, both from the University of Oldenberg, joined Andreas Grimm from Stuttgart for the presentation.
Grimm, a visual arts and graphic arts major at Towson State, has been in the United States since the summer of 1988. Golluecke, who has a bachelor's degree in English, came to the United States to learn more about the language and is taking mass communications courses at Towson. She said she would like write for a German fashion magazine upon her return.
Gerkmann is a business major who hopes his background and knowledge of English will land him a job in the European Common Market.
Gerkmann noted that German students are more involved in independent study. They attend classes, listen to lectures and have one final exam at the end of the semester. If a student fails, they must take the course again.
Germans are sent to different high schools, depending upon abilities and grade point average. College majors are chosen right out of high school, and students are expected to stick with their chosen field.
German students receive free college educations, Gerkmann said, while Grimm pointed out that the more money you have in the United States, the better the education available.
Golluecke was asked her impressions of the United States. "Big cars," she told the audience.
Gerkmann told the seniors how the unification of East and West Germany would affect his personal life. The business major felt his background and use of the English language would contribute to a future job in the European Common Market.
"It is very expensive to build Germany," he explained. "The factories are like the 1950s. It is impossible to sell goods in the current market."
It may take some time, he said, before a unified Germany can be competitive in the world market.
Grimm finished the talk by saying he was very happy to contribute to good relations between Germany and the United States through meetings with groups such as the AARP.
Charles Dorn, a member of the AARP chapter, said he found the students interesting and was impressed with their experiences.
"I was interested in the price of college as opposed to here," he said afterward the talk. "They also picked up on our junk food habits," he noted.
Before meeting with the students, the chapter gave checks totaling $2,000 to various organizations in the county. Money was raised at the chapters' annual May Fair.
Neal Kutchins, head of the chapter's benevolence committee, presented a $500 check to St. Christopher's Church in Linthicum, where the AARP chapter has its monthly meetings.