Today included a lot of walking, a lot of raining, and a lot of talking to the locals… or maybe I should say trying to talk to the locals. We left the hotel at 8:30am and took the tram to the University of Augsburg. There we met German students with whom we will be working on company presentations with. My assigned company is Hirschvogel, a company involved in forging car parts from steel or aluminum. The German students in my group are Katerina, Elena, and Katherine. They are smart, sarcastic, and very good at speaking English. We worked on our first presentation and at 11am, we presented it to the group. It was very easy and simply introduced Hirschvogel to the group so that before we visit the company on Wednesday we will have a basic understanding of what the company does.
After presentations, we went to the “Mensa.” Mensa is the word for cafeteria in German. Mensa is so much better than dining hall at Pitt. So much better. I ate schnitzel for lunch and it was really good.
After Mensa we were split into groups and sent off to do a scavenger hunt. It started at the university but ended in the city. It rained the whole time but I didn’t care. I like the rain. The questions we had to answer made us talk to locals, take creative pictures around old buildings and statues, and to figure out facts about Augsburg. I was the designated spokesperson for our team. Since I took one semester of German at Pitt, that means I know the language well, right? Wrong. I possibly emberassed myself a couple of times trying to speak in german. After I attempted to say something incomprehensible in German, the locals told me that they speak English too. Okay. Word of advice: when being forced to interact with locals the first question is always, “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” The scavenger hunt was really fun and my team ended up being the first team finished. I can easily navigate my way through Augsburg now. We also won overall too, which means that we got the most questions right out of all of the teams. Our prize was a box of German candy. The box was from the university and said “Bildungshunger?” on it which means “Are you hungry for education?” which we thought was funny.
The scavenger hunt ended at a Riegele Brauhaus, a place that makes and sells traditional German beer. When we arrived, we were given free samples of Riegele non-alcoholic beer. We hung out and talked at the Brauhaus until 6pm. Then we went to eat dinner. We went to an Italian resauraunt, Dragone, for dinner and it was really good. I got fanta and a dish of spaghetti with a white wine sauce and seafood. The fanta in Germany is so much better than in the U.S. It has a lot less sugar in it but it tastes better. The fanta in the U.S. is artificial in comparison.
Other observations: I couldn’t find one person that didn’t speak English. The German students are really nice and most speak more than two languages. They all speak English very well. Also, Germans are impatient. Don’t walk across the road if the walk sign is not on. If the sign turns red while you are walking across the road, get out of the road asap. They will get mad if you are in the road when you’re not supposed to be.