Teacher Feature: Holger Lenz

by Erica Mundell

When a teacher is going to be gone for a period of time he usually just cancels class. However, for Dr. Rick Weber’s German classes here at Transylvania, there will be a substitute professor.

Holger Lenz is not your ordinary substitute. Not only is Lenz certified to teach German, he is a native from Germany.

He described his home in Munich as a small New York City and said it is sometimes called the “secret capital of Germany.” As much as he loved home, however, he had to leave. He decided to come to America for his education and for the experience of a foreign country.

Lenz and his family have known Dr. Weber and his family for 15 years. Through a connection Dr. Weber had with the Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Kentucky, Lenz was able to come to America and attend UK for graduate school in August 2005.

Lenz enjoyed his time at UK and found it to be a great experience. “School is so different here than in Germany, mostly because of the tradition that goes with it. Education is highly valued there,” Lenz said. “Because of that, the teachers command a lot more respect, and they aren’t as approachable for students. Here it is much more laid back and comfortable, which is great. There is more communication between teachers and students.” He received his Masters Degree in German Studies in May 2007.

While he was living here in America, Lenz met his wife. They attended the same church and knew each other for two years.

“When my two years here was almost up, I was worried because I thought, ‘I really like this girl. I’d like to take her with me!’ And there was such a short time to tell her I felt that way,” Lenz said. But he did, and they kept up a long-distance relationship for nine months. Finally, they were married on December 21, 2007 in Germany. They flew back to America for the reception, and now live in Germany together.

Now, Lenz is finishing up his education in Germany at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich to be a teacher, though he is not sure where yet. While Dr. Weber is in Germany for a week, Lenz will be filling in. He is not officially a substitute teacher, but he says it is all about the experience.

“Transy has a good reputation, and Rick is renowned in his field. This will be good for my resume, but it will also help me get my foot in the door of teaching. A small liberal arts college is better for experience. It’s great,” Lenz said. “I am very thankful for this opportunity.”


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