Photo for Vala Schriefer

Vala Schriefer

BA in Humanities, the Arts, and Social Thought (2023)
Favorite quote and why? 

Journeys are the midwives of thought. --Alain de Botton 
I love to take walks and to travel. Movement is incredibly conducive to deep reflection.

Why Bard College Berlin? 

Bard College Berlin has the balance I was looking for: a small school in a big city. I wanted the feeling of a close-knit community, a place where you recognize faces as you pass them, as well as the resources of a vibrant city. The small discussion-based classes at BCB allow you to take the ideas from the classroom and immediately put them into practice by interacting with the city.  

How would you describe our community in a nutshell?

Multicultural, involved, inquisitive.

Your favorite place to study on campus?

The room in the library that has all the books on film and art and overlooks a quiet street.

Are you involved in any student clubs or organizations? 

I have participated in the film club and life drawing club. I also write for BCB’s blog

Your favorite thing to do in Berlin on weekends? 

Go to the movies or wander in the city. 

What surprised you the most about BCB? 

How little separation there is between students in different years. 

Favorite book you read in a class? 

Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production” for German film class.

Write briefly about one of your courses that left a lasting impression on you.

I am currently taking an art history course on German art of the twentieth century as well as a film course on German film. There is a wonderful crossover between the two courses in the ways we discuss German history as well as theories of understanding and analyzing art. Examining the country through art and film, these courses have given me a greater understanding of the forces and ideas that make up Germany and the German identity. They have been a wonderful crash course in German culture which I feel is essential to learn about when living in a new country. 

Plans after BCB? 

Wherever I’ll end up, I hope to be writing and making art.

What does a liberal arts education mean to you?

I have many interests and a liberal arts education allows me to explore different ideas without the ultimacy of an immediate specialty. I get to engage with my education in a multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary way, in the classroom and independently.