One cold and snowy winter’s eve, I drove my rental car into Bloomington, Indiana. I was exhausted, having just completed another university visit full of meetings with professors and students; I’m a pretty outgoing person, but even I had only so much energy to share.
As I made my way through a strange town, and past the university, I decided to give Professor Marks a call on his cell phone, to ask for further directions to his house, where he and others were waiting. The phone rang twice. I was a little nervous, as most students probably are under these circumstances. Suddenly I heard the cheerful, warm voice of Professor Marks. He was happy I made it (as was I!), and would wait for me outside.
As soon as I’d parked my car, he came up to me, and invited me into his house. I went up the stairs, entered the door, and in front of me I found a dozen or so friendly, smiling faces to welcome me. Within minutes we were joking around as though we were old friends reunited. All I could think was: “I’m home…”
Over the next three days, I visited numerous professors, a reading group, lecture, and even a world-class opera performance, of which there are many in IU’s famous Music School. I didn’t really know much about Indiana University, to be honest. I knew they had very good Comp. Lit. and German departments, and that I would like to work with Fritz Breithaupt. Coming from The Netherlands however, with a couple of years in Oregon, I really only knew about the ‘big name schools’. The kinds you see in movies about America, the Ivy Leagues, and places like UC Berkeley, NYU, University of Chicago. Had I not visited IU, I would likely have chosen one of those instead.