Southwest Tennessee Community College

October 8, 2004

For More Information, Contact: Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023


Release written by Pat O’Brien

Kathrin Guehrer arrived for her year at Southwest Tennessee Community College not too long after her host family moved here. “So, we’re all learning our way around together,” said host mom Debby Reist of Germantown. For Guehrer, one of the most charming first places she learned her way around was Wal-Mart.

During her first week – after arriving via Amtrak early one morning – she also registered at Southwest, made successful application for her internship employer, took her driver’s license test and found a ’98 Lumina to drive during her exchange year. Since then, said Guehrer, “It’s been study, travel and eat with my great American family – I love it!”

“I’m studying Hospitality Management at Southwest and will do my internship at the Fairfield Inn By Marriott-Wolfchase,” said Guehrer. “I’ll also be doing my work semester there.” In preparation for her career goal, hotel management, she is taking courses in the hotel-motel management concentration.

Guehrer’s prior preparation is impressive. She received a diploma from a hotel business school in Friedrichshafen, Germany and followed it with a four-year apprenticeship at the Ringhotel Krone Schnetzenhausen, a five-star hotel in Friedrichshafen. Guehrer’s ultimate goal is a management position in an international hotel operating company – preferably American because, she said, “They are the market leaders world wide.”

Already on Guehrer’s “everything American” schedule is a stint of volunteer gardening at the school her host sister Marissa, 5, attends; and riding passenger with a Meals on Wheels volunteer. The family went camping near Lynchburg, Tennessee, the first week of October. They are set to spend Christmas in Canada, and go to Daytona Beach during Bike Week. Guehrer’s had SCUBA lessons in the pool with host dad Norman, who said, “We hope to go diving in the Gulf when we go to Florida.” Guehrer loves skiing in the Alps and is looking forward to trying out American slopes.

Food is a favorite topic for host family Reist. Norman is a winemaker, and 11-year old Elliott claims the title of “chef,” having won a barbecue contest during his cooking exploits. So, American food is a major source of adventure for Guehrer. “I’ve had American macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and crab legs and liked all those,” said Guehrer. And she’s impressed by the many varieties and flavors of yogurt available here. So far, plantains are the only thing she really doesn’t care for. “Then, on the camping trip, we had S’mores and they are great!” Marshmallows are new for Guehrer, as they are not a common food in Germany. Guehrer contributed her own local recipe to the campfire cooking: “Hefeteeg – it’s a stokbrod (stick bread). Actually,” said Guehrer, “it’s bread baked on a stick over the campfire. Which,” she added, “My American family has decided to make part of their regular campfire menus.”

Guehrer is a participant in the US Congress and German Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, which facilitates exchange student experiences for young people world wide. Southwest is a longtime participant in the program, enrolling several exchange students each year.

Want to go to Germany as an exchange student?

American students 18 to 24 are eligible for the exchange student program for young professionals – an opportunity to spend a year learning, working and seeing Germany, with most of the costs paid. To find out if you qualify, and to start your application process, visit or contact Debbie Hunt at (901)333-4556 or for details. Application deadline is December 1, 2004 for the August 2005 to July 2006 exchange year.