German Club founder pursues international business aspirations

Anika Wottreng.
Anika Wottreng plans to pursue international business with the desire to one day work and live in Germany.

For 22-year-old WSU senior Anika Wottreng home has been a revolving door.

Born in Japan, she spent four years there, the next five years in Germany, followed by one year in Michigan, three years in California, and finally settling in the greater Seattle area—until it was time to head to Pullman for college.

While the place she rests her head at night may fluctuate, Germany is the center point of her story. With a German father who is in international business, Wottreng spent her formative years in Germany.

Wottreng chose WSU for one major reason: community.

“The community feel and the supportive surroundings and networking opportunities. [WSU] just has that academic and community support,” she said.

Pullman was not too big, but not small, either: perfect for her. Pullman also stood out in another way, especially as someone who grew up outside of the country.

“I looked around and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m at an American college.’ Like, this is the typical American college you see in movies, and I was like, ‘That’s what I want. I want the typical American experience,’” Wottreng said.

Once arriving on campus, it was important to Wottreng that she remain connected to her roots in Germany while studying. But as an international business and management information systems double major, she didn’t have time available in her class schedule to take German as a class, she had to look for alternative methods to stay connected.

She heard there was a German Club on campus, only to find out it was no longer active. She stepped up to lead a German conversation table, and met Hana Reinhardt, a senior wildlife ecology and conservation sciences major, who spent time studying abroad in Germany. Reinhardt and Wottreng quickly hit it off, deciding they would lead the charge in bringing back the club.

Soon after meeting in 2021, Reinhardt said the two began to organize the re-founding of the German Club. Eventually, they got the club off the ground and have led it together for the last three seasons. Their friendship blossomed to the point where they have been roommates for the past year and a half.

“Anika is the most genuine and kind person I have ever met. She immediately welcomed me and we soon became great friends,” Reinhardt said. “We would Zoom and play online video games or just hang out after the Stammtisch [German conversation table]. We really bonded over our love for Germany and the experiences we both had when we lived there.”

Over their three years leading the club, the two have put together multiple events and grown their friendship to even greater heights. Reinhardt said that Anika welcomes everyone in with the kindest smile and most enthusiastic welcome. From her perspective, she genuinely makes everyone feel like they matter because to her, they do.

German Club faculty advisor Joshua Benzo has witnessed the duo’s dedication to the club, growing it from 15–20 attendees at the early meetings to near triple digits—a testament to their hard work finding new ways to engage members.

“Anika is energetic and not afraid to dream big or to look for ways to fund bigger events. Furthermore, she was completely comfortable making the club her own responsibility, even at the start” Benzo said.

Wottreng said restarting the German Club has been by far her favorite memory of her time in Pullman. A self-described intentional person, she said she is proud of the work she and Reinhardt have accomplished. Both hope to see the club continue to thrive long after they both graduate.

With experiences ranging from being a project coordinator intern with the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to a WSU Boeing Scholar team project manager, Wottreng said she is casting a wide net as she looks for a job post-graduation. Still, her goal is to one day get back to Germany and work there full-time, a goal she may realize easily since she holds dual citizenship in the United States and Germany.

“I would love to move to Germany because that’s always been like a life goal of mine, to go back to Germany,” she said.

Studying international business and having already lived in several countries—including a semester studying abroad in France—has taught Wottreng one thing about herself: she is adaptable.

“I’ve not just traveled, I’ve moved. One thing I’ve come to learn is that I’m really adaptable as long as I keep an adaptable mind,” she said. “I’ve gotten used to staying rational, even when I’m stressed in a foreign situation and that is something that has really helped me a lot.”

By Brandon Willman, The Daily Evergreen