On our third day in Germany, we went on our first company tour to Faurecia. It was a really interesting experience. First, we met the communications coordinator of the company, who gave us an overview of the business side of the company. As an engineering student, I know very little about this aspect, but just from the Plus 3 course so far I have started to grasp the business concepts she was speaking of. The company has an interesting business plan with three main areas of interest: seating, car interiors, and exhaust systems. We focused on exhaust systems for the rest of the day, because the Augsburg location produces that aspect. We were then given a lecture by one of the engineers at the company about the research and development process of designing an exhaust system, and were able to tour the R&D buildings and the production plant. All of these were very interesting to me as an engineering student, and I was able to see some of the engineering and manufacturing concepts I have learned in the past in real life, such as “Just-In-Time production.”
After the Faurecia visit, we came back to town for a quick lunch and then set off on a Martin Luther tour to celebrate the 500th anniversary of his 95 Theses. On the tour, we visited many Lutheran and Catholic churches in Augsburg while our tour guide told us about Luther’s life and the reformation. My favorite moment of the tour was when we were read a letter that Luther wrote to his son while we were standing outside the location where one of the diets discussing Luther was held.
After the tour, we met a theology professor from the University of Augsburg who talked to us about her research at the university and her work with religious diversity. During the meeting, we had a discussion about our religions and our world views as Americans. It felt a little strange at first, because religion and politics is not often something we talk openly about to strangers at home. However, the professor made it feel like a scholarly discussion, and it was definitely interesting to hear her opinion on some of the issues in America.
As a whole, today was more thought provoking than our past days in Germany. We learned a lot at Faurecia, and had really interesting conversations about Luther and the state of religion in Germany and America. I really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to more company visits this week!