Concordia St. Paul News

November 16, 2018

International Student Spotlight: Jonas Schenderlein

CSP senior Jonas Schenderlein is in the final year of his business management degree in addition to a double minor in accounting in finance. Originally from Jena, Germany, Schenderlein began his studies in the United States in Blountville, Tennessee. We spoke with him about what has made his CSP experience so impactful, the camaraderie and relationships he’s established as part of the Golden Bear football team, and his aspirations as he approaches graduation.

Q: What were your most important factors to consider when you were researching universities?

CSP student Jonas Schenderlein

CSP senior Jonas Schenderlein is set to graduate with a degree in business management as well as a double minor in accounting and finance. In addition, he is a kicker for CSP’s football team with aspirations to play professional football.

A: I basically went through the recruiting process with football. What made me decide to come here were the cities. I liked the environment. It’s a nice campus, not too big and not too small. I came here as a junior in high school as an exchange student in Tennessee with the same host family that my sister stayed with. I started playing football and liked the whole system and being connected to sports. I started picking up on it and my host family encouraged me to stay another year. I transferred to a private Christian university to give it a shot. It worked out for college!

Q: What do you think creates a quality academic experience?

A: It’s really nice that you have the [small] classroom sizes. I feel like you get swallowed up by the number at other colleges. It helps me out with the relationships with professors especially. There is so much help around campus with faculty – in any field. I’ve been able to create so many relationships instead of being one of thousands. That helped me a lot.

Q: Share a favorite moment from your time at CSP.

A: I have a lot of football moments. Homecoming is always a cool experience with the fair and everything. It’s like having the school spirit come out with the excitement around campus. Another favorite was my second season when we won the first games and played Duluth at home which was a night game. We lost at the last minute, but I thought it was one of my favorite games and a cool experience. It was a different spirit around campus.

Q: CSP’s campus is in an urban, diverse location. In what ways did these campus attributes help prepare you for your career?

A: It impacted me in the way that connected to more people. I have a lot of job opportunities and can visit companies. You can go to the job fairs and connect with people way more. You can enjoy sports, too. I went to a Minnesota Wild game, Minnesota Vikings game, and have gone to the Minnesota United games frequently which keeps me connected to home since I love soccer. Through soccer here, I gain that back a little bit. I’m less homesick because there is always something to do.

Q: Have you participated in any volunteer opportunities or internships during your time at CSP?

A: I’m thinking about staying after college and doing the OPT – it’s a program for international students to do another year and work. I’ve been talking to accounting firms to try to get into a finance/sales internship this summer. I want to do internships for a year and see where I can go with that.

Q: You mentioned you’re interested in following the stock market. How does that translate into your experience in the classroom?

A: I’m actually a part of Investment Club with Professor Hampton. I’m Vice President. It’s fun and a good experience. What we do is invest in real stocks. They give us money to invest in the real stock market – and our value is already up! We started a year and a half ago. It’s a connection and cool that you have the real experience.

Q: Have you encountered any challenges during your time at CSP? How have you overcome them?

A: I never really struggled with grades, but in the beginning, it was not easy to catch up with the higher level language of college. I think I got guided through pretty well. I caught on to people really quickly. I had friends from the get-go and it wasn’t easy to get used to it with practice all of the time during class and work. It’s a lot of stress. Coming to the United States earlier also helped. My host family helped me. They taught me the way of living and tips and tricks about living in the U.S. I struggled a lot with the language at first. I was homesick during Christmas and New Years at first, too. But, I got to know people and caught up and it gets easier and easier.

Q: What are your next steps?

A: It’s basically a path and it goes different ways and I just need to choose which way to go. I’m thinking about staying here a bit longer for internships – either see if I can get a job opportunity and get a work visa. Another option would be to go back to Germany to get my master’s. I might have to take a couple of courses to get my bachelor’s certified in Germany. The dream, of course, is to play professional football and be a kicker. That’s my goal and my dream.

Q: Do you feel prepared for your next steps?

A: I think I am. CSP’s professors taught me that it’s always important what you learn. You should take something with you after college. It’s more important to grow as a person here. In the end, a degree is important, but so is your character. If you can grow as a person, that’s the most important thing you can take.

Schenderlein was recently a guest on the CSP Bears podcast where he talks more about growing up in Germany, his transition to the United States, and his professional football aspirations. Check it out here.