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Cody Gelbrich is no stranger to adversity. He’s had some tough breaks, but he manages to maintain a smile while chatting about his somewhat bumpy road to one of the top universities in Germany.

 

“I really struggled to get into university,” said Gelbrich, who now studies economics at Humboldt University of Berlin. “It was really hard for them to accept my diploma.”

 

Gelbrich and his family are originally from Germany, but moved to Dallas when he was young. After spending every summer in Berlin, he decided that he wanted to return to his homeland for university after he graduated from Dallas International School. He had no idea that he would have to wait years to get in. But he kept a positive attitude.

 

“I really learned that from nothing comes nothing,” Gelbrich said. “You can’t be negative, because nothing will come of it.”

 

While his transition from high school to college was anything but smooth, Gelbrich maintains that he lived a charmed life while studying at DIS.

 

“I went to [another high school] before DIS,” Gelbrich said. “I loved being at DIS so much more. I loved the IB program, because it was much more long-term and there were a lot less grades, which is exactly like in university.”

 

Gelbrich also enjoyed the global mindset that his classmates had at DIS, something that he said was lacking in his previous school.

 

“People here have great summer experiences,” Gelbrich said. “When I would come back to school, they would talk about how they went to Italy or France. At my other high school, they didn’t even know where some of those places were. It blew my mind.”

 

Gelbrich said that the main differences between DIS and Humboldt are the amount of grades and academic supervision.

 

“One of the biggest differences is the only thing I have at university is the exam at the end of the semester,” Gelbrich said. “It’s all or nothing—no projects and no essays. There’s not even any roll call. So I think going to DIS helped prepare me for that.”

 

Gelbrich would like to work for a German airline once graduates. His one piece of advice to DIS students? Never give up.

 

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes you as long as you get it done,” Gelbrich said, with a smile.

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