Freshmen Bea Weinpel: From Germany to Baldwin City


Josephine Moore

Freshman Bea Weinpel, from Germany, attends Baker University after spending a year in Kansas as an exchange student in high school.

Freshman Bea Weinpel is an international student from the town Isny im Allgäu in Southern Germany. While Weinpel is from Germany, this is not her first time in Kansas. She spent some time in Kansas during High School where she learned about Baker University. Weinpel felt as though she had a grip on how Kansas worked and what to expect.

“I was prepared when I came here, I was like ‘I know what’s going to happen when I go to the Midwest’,” Weinpel said. 

During her year in Kansas as an exchange student in high school, Weinpel met Anna McCullough, the Assistant Director for International and Transfer Recruitment at Baker University. McCullough’s duties include helping international students through the admissions process and answering any questions they have. Along with collecting any documents that the United States Government might need. After taking the campus tour and talking with Weinpel, McCullough had a great impression of Weinpel.

“She always seemed to me to be a very determined person in the sense of having really clear goals,” McCullough said.

Since they met in 2019, McCullough and Weinpel kept in contact over the years until Weinpel finished high school in Germany and was ready to come to Baker University. McCullough knew since their first meeting that Weinpel would fit right in at the school.

“Those are the kind of people we want at Baker, the people who are involved in all the different activities,” McCullough said. “I think that’s the advantage of being at a smaller school, you’re not allowed to get into your bubble. And there are fewer places to hide on a smaller campus.”

Since living in Kansas, Weinpel was already familiar with Baker University and thought that it was a great school to pursue pre-medicine. Weinpel’s major is currently undeclared but she is a part of the pre-med program and hopes one day to be a pediatric surgeon.

Weinpel came to Baker University at the start of the semester and has been using WhatsApp since then in order to keep in contact with her family. Weinpel adds that her family is planning to come to visit her soon and that her father is learning English through Duolingo before they visit. 

“My mom has already been here once and my dad doesn’t want to come before he can at least speak a little English. He calls to say ‘Bea I just learned colors’ and I’m so happy for that,” Weinpel said.

One culture shock that Weinpel has experienced, is the way that professors interact with their students here at Baker University.

“I love that you can just text your teachers or they’ll text you if you’re running late. It’s a really cool thing because I am not used to that,” Weinpel said. “That was the biggest culture shock, that your teachers actually want you to learn something.” 

Weinpel adds that she’s not used to the kindness professors show and how they go above and beyond to help the students, which was not normal in her German schools.

“People are nicer too. German people are really rude at least the ones from the south. You don’t even say hi to people you don’t know, like if you walk down the street and are just nice and smile at them, they will stare you down,” Weinpel said.

Along with her academic schedule, Weinpel is active on campus and participates in many different programs. Weinpel is a part of the symphonic band and plays the flute. She also plays the piano, ukulele and guitar. Associate Professor and Director of Bands, Dr. Frank Perez is one of Weinpel’s professors and describes her as an excellent performer and multitalented. 

Not only does Perez believe she is a great performer, he believes that she brings positive and upbeat energy into the classroom, which he appreciates.

“One of the things that I appreciate about Bea is she’s always very inquisitive and insightful. She is a hard worker,” Perez said.

Perez also adds that with Weinpel being an international student, he enjoys her different outlook. 

“She brings some of the perspectives with her and she is always willing to share about her German heritage with the rest of us. So that is something I appreciate quite a bit too, is to be able to learn from her and from her heritage,” Perez said.

Weinpel is also in the concert choir and currently has a music scholarship. Weinpel also enjoys listening to music, playing music and writing her own songs. Her music depends on the mood that she is in for the day, ranging from rock music to a more slowed-down ballad.

“I do it as an outlet like for all the academics I’m doing so I’m like hey, give me something that I can just express myself in and be creative. It takes my mind off everything,” Weinpel said.

Not only is Weinpel in both band and choir but she also participates in theater and was most recently in Baker’s production of “Lucy Sweet Sullivan and the Petticoat Council.” 

Weinpel adds that she loves school and chose to come to the United States because of how competitive the medical schools are here. Weinpel doesn’t have a plan to move back to Germany after she’s finished with school even though she loves it there and it’s her home.

“Germany is nice to look at but, that’s pretty much it, so I was hoping to either stay here or maybe move to the United Kingdom or travel around,” Weinpel said.