Category Archives: NEWS

International Friendship Club

By Jorge Cantu

Horizon Reporter

Germans, Koreans, Japanese, Africans, and Americans all come in with smiles to the Tuesday meetings in room LDC 215 A for the International Friendship Club.

“Students don’t realize that anyone can join, and it is encouraged because it is such a fun program,” Ulli Schraml said.Mt. Baker Hiking

Schraml is the head of this club, which includes all of the international students, as well as any other Whatcom students who may want to join. There are about 20 active members who attend the meetings.

The International Friendship Club is a government funded program to help students from other countries get involved with Whatcom and other students.

“We host trips almost every other week, and usually they cost about $5,” Schraml said.

The trips include going to cities like Seattle and Vancouver, and activities can be kayaking, hiking, snow shoeing, ice skating,  and attending sports events.Kayaking

“We just went to the Huskies’  game last weekend, and we used to go to basketball games when the Sonics were around,” Schraml said. The club also attend Mariners games.  Schraml tries to get them to do things they wouldn’t normally do.

Schraml stressed that any student can sign up to go on any trip, and the cost is usually a lot cheaper than if a student were to go alone without the school.

The biggest event they hold is ‘International Night’ which is a talent show for performances by the international students (as well as any other Whatcom student). It is in the Spring Quarter and the date is still being determined. Every student is encouraged to bring food, and gets in for free if they do.

“It is a giant potluck,” Schraml said. Space is getting limited in the auditorium though due to the increasing number of people attending every year. Last year about 250-300 people attended International Night.

The International Friendship Club is only increasing every year, and everybody is encouraged to join.

“We have over 26 countries represented here at Whatcom this year, and it is a great way to meet people all over the world,” Schraml said

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Who is Ulli Schraml?

By Jorge Cantu

Horizon Reporter

At an early age one of Ulli Schraml’s friends told him “You’re an American soul trapped in a German’s body.” Always having a strong connection with some American friends while living in Germany, Schraml, as of 1996, is now over-seas here in Bellingham. He is the head of International Affairs here at Whatcom and also teaches a history class.

Born in Augsburg, Germany, Schraml was determined to join the military straight out of high school, and at age 17, he joined the German military. He was part of the tank batallion there, as well as working in personnel. He did this for four years until his contract was done.

“I then worked in the economy, working different regular jobs for about five years,” he said. The Cold War called for more Germans in the air force, and Schraml answered the call.

“Joining and serving in the air force was the most interesting of my military experience,” he said. “It is unusual for a German to serve both in the military and the air force.”

He always wanted to fly, but his eyes were too poor for flying, so he went to work as a non-commissioned officer for an American unit in Augsburg, Germany.  Although he did get to fly as a co-pilot a couple of times, Schraml mainly worked as part of the ground personnel.

He was in the air force for nine years,  where he was honored as air force sargeant  of the year by the USO (United Services Organization). He made several connections through his work with the American Unit in Germany, and one of his friends lived in Bellingham.

“I visited Bellingham several times before moving here,” said Schraml.

Always wanting to teach history and English, the Germany military provided money for him to go to school. Having a contact in Bellingham, he moved here in 1996, and attended Whatcom, then transferred to Western Washington University.  He obtained a degree in history, and later went on to get his masters in history too.

“I always wanted to teach history,” Schraml said. Although he taught English and training skills in the military, he taught his first class at the college in the summer of 2009.

When making the move to Bellingham in 1996, Schraml made a good contact immediately at Whatcom with Linda Cooper who works here at Whatcom. With his background, he has worked in the International Programs office for more than 12 years as a coordinator for various things, including Study Abroad and Special Programs.

He did not leave his military career, though. Every summer Schraml has been serving in the German air force unit in Washington, D.C. “It’s a military unit, but it’s more like helping German officers take courses in America and get used to the U.S. and find housing and stuff for their family,” Schraml said.

Now settled here at Whatcom, he teaches a Western Civilization class and is the head of the Study Abroad Program, the International Friendship Club, and all International Affairs.

“I love Bellingham, and I love Whatcom Community College,” Schraml stated

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