Ulf Janicke: Keelite of the Month October 2015

ERASMUS Exchange to Keele 1989-1990

ERASMUS Reunion 2015 Let's raise a toast to the Power of Study Abroad and International Exchange!

Ulf and his wife Eva and their Keele ERASMUS friends came to Keele in 1989 and 1990. They returned to Keele in June 2015 - an astonishing achievement after 25 years for so many people from so many countries to reunite at Keele where they first met - and many of them married one another, too!

Ulf Janicke 2015 So Ulf is our Keelite of the Month but the honour is shared with the entire "Health Centre Gang!" - Clara Barreneche, Andrea Bechtold-Zwiener, Emeram Binder, Elena Cacava, Susana Camas Rodríguez, Alicia Capilla Lanagrán, Sandrine Costa, Blandine De Campeau, Jérôme Dravet, Anabel Drese, José García Aguarod, Isabelle Guisset, Ulf Janicke, Helle Laursen, Camila Para, Agnès Peyre de Fabrègues, Rosie Pinhorn, Pilar Tomás, Marie-Axelle van de Werve, Jeanett Vikkelsoe, Peter Warhus, Christine Warhus, Jens Zorn

Keelites of the month usually reply to a list of interview questions about their time at and after Keele. But a Keele education helps us to have a mind of our own, so Ulf decided to be different and to tell his Keele story - and what a story!  We hope you enjoy it.

(Photo right: A typical "Health Centre" shared lunch 1990)

Lunchtime "It is a sunny morning in late August and I am sitting on a quiet terrace in the back country of Málaga.

How did that happen ? Keele, of course!

In 1989, I was aiming for a semester away from the University of Konstanz in South Germany where I was studying Theoretical Physics. At that time, my old school friend Georg Meyer was doing his PhD at Keele and lured me to go there for one year. What a year it turned out to be.

Finals Party by Music School Not tied down by an exchange programme, I subscribed for some Physics courses and was allowed to do a practicum at the Department of Communication and Neuroscience where Georg was working. But plenty of time I was in the Clock House instead, practicing Cello in order to play in the University Orchestra. Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Howells! Rehearsals in the Walter Moberly Hall (yes, at that time still a Hall) and plenty of small Lunch Time Concerts.

(Photo right: Finalists' Party by the Music Department 1990)

Most evenings I spend with the “Health Centre Gang” – a sub-group of Erasmus students from Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Germany and other countries staying and celebrating in the former Health Centre (nomen est omen, really). Among the Erasmus students was Eva from Málaga who for one trimester was studying English Literature.

In March 1990 Eva’s time at Keele was over, in June so was mine. But we kept in close contact and 1992 Eva moved to Lake Konstanz. 1995 we got married (actually, quite a few Erasmus students of that Keelian year became a couple later on). While in the first years English was our common language, we caught up with the other’s mother language and English turned into the more neutral terrain that a couple needs from time to time. 

It is now a quarter of a century since the year at Keele and we still live together at Lake Konstanz. Eva is working as a Spanish teacher at Salem School and at Konstanz University, I am self-employed working on Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling, our 11 year old daughter Elena is at School and plays the Violin.

On the Thames In June we had a great reunion of former Erasmus and “Health Centre Gang” students at Keele, see the photo. Some of us have seen each other for the first time after 25 years. Many things changed at Keele, but the spirit among us and at Keele was just like before. And undoubtedly, our memories of Keele will continue to support our life also for the next 25 years.

Eva and Elena just woke up. Another holiday under the Mediterranean sun. Thank you, Keele."


Photo left: On the Thames 1990: Susana, Eva and Ulf.