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Distinguished Alums: From the 'Issaquah Alps' to the real deal, alum Chris Turchin (BA 2000, cum laude) enjoys life and business in Germany

Submitted by Stephanie N. Welch on October 27, 2015 - 4:14pm
Chris Turchin photo
Alum Chris Turchin

Washington native and UW Alum, Chris Turchin, shares how degrees in Germanics and Business Admininstration took him from Issaquah, and UW Seattle, to life on the shores of Lake Constance (October 2015):

It all started with a language class my freshman year. I took it to impress a German girl, not with a plan to major in Germanics. Awarded the German Express stipend, I was able to spend a semester in Tübingen, and to experience first-hand how exciting political, cultural, and economic life was in Germany and the EU in the late 90s. Less than 10 years after German reunification, the European Currency Union was about to unite Europe in a very new way.

I returned to the UW as a Germanics major. While literature and linguistics were both passions – and still hobbies today—the Business German track helped me earn a Goethe Institute certificate and make important contacts in the department and at the Foster Business School, where I did a double degree. I graduated at the tail-end of the first dotcom boom, while IT talent was in high demand. My excellent UW education, good practical skills, and a little luck landed me (quite literally) in Stuttgart with an Internet start-up, less than two weeks after graduation. Almost 20 years later, I am living in Friedrichshafen, on the shores of Lake Constance, and CTO at Bertsch Innovation, a software company in the German Mittelstand. I have many good friends from UW Germanics to this day.

Every time I see a Zeppelin fly over the lake, I think about what a strange and wonderful trip it has been.

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