Genger in front of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.

By Jeff Willadsen, WSU Global Campus Senior Writer

Washington State University Global Campus truly is global. Just ask Madison Genger.

Genger is an assistant teacher in Hamburg, Germany, teaching English to German kindergarteners. While teaching, she is earning her bachelor’s in humanities 100% online through WSU Global Campus.

“The experience overall has been great. Having the opportunity to finish my degree from the states and live abroad is amazing,” Genger said.

Genger, a native of Ferndale, Wash., has been living in Germany for two years. Her first job in Hamburg was as an au-pair, a domestic assistant to a German family. As an au-pair, one of Genger’s duties was to speak English with the family’s two children. This led to the opportunity to teach English in a more formal setting.

For her current job at the kindergarten, Genger works with children from ages six month to three years old.

“My favorite part about my job is the kids,” she said. “They are so young, and they don’t even realize they are learning two languages. It’s amazing to watch them grow.”

Genger also has had a passion for music since she was a young child. After graduating high school, she attended The Young Americans, a performing arts college based out of Corona, Calif., where she got her first experience with international travel, including to Europe and Japan, performing and hosting three-day performing arts workshops for kids.

She graduated with an Associate of Arts in Performance and a love for teaching kids, especially in music and the performing arts.

According to Genger, this dual passion for music and working with children is a big part of why she selected WSU Global Campus to earn her bachelor’s degree.  

“I chose WSU Global Campus because they offered exactly what I was looking for. I always wanted a humanities degree, but once I saw I was able to pick multiple focuses within the degree I was really sold. That was very appealing, especially when I saw the music option,” Genger said. “With this degree I hope to keep working with children and possibly with music as well.”

The flexibility of Global Campus was also a huge factor in her choice to become an online student.

“As an online student, I can earn my degree from anywhere in the world. I can travel anywhere I want and take my laptop with me and study anywhere I want. That really stood out to me,” Genger said.

While earning a degree online had its convenience, Genger encountered some challenges from living abroad. 

 “One challenge that I have faced so far as an online student is time zones.  Being in Germany, I am nine hours ahead of pacific daylight time,” she said. “When it comes to assignment due dates, I have to remember to turn it in a day ahead, so I don’t miss the deadline.”

Genger said that support from the Global Campus staff has been key in her ability to overcome the challenges of learning overseas and achieve success.

“Everyone that I have worked with from the WSU Global Campus staff has been helpful especially since I am living abroad,” Genger said. “They have helped me with all my questions and issues that I have run into.”

Another reason Genger chose WSU is that Cougar pride runs in the family.

“My older brother also graduated from WSU Pullman, so since then, my entire family has been big fans of WSU,” Genger said. “I also wanted to take pride in being a Coug!”

Genger plans to work in Germany for another year before graduating from WSU in 2020. She then plans on returning to the United States to pursue a career working with children and music.