Day 3: Church Crawl

So it stopped raining, but it also got colder. I’ll take what I can get.

Today we started bright and early with a visit to Faurecia, an automotive supply company. They make car seats, interiors and displays, and exhaust systems, but the plant we visited today focuses specifically on clean mobility.

We started off with a presentation by their communications director, and she discussed Faurecia’s general business model, operations, and goals for the upcoming years. I was really interested to learn that their three “business groups” operate almost entirely independent of each other, and I’m definitely learning a lot about the business side of manufacturing.

Afterwards, we were given a presentation by a Faurecia engineer on how they develop, test, and produce their products. This presentation made a lot more sense to me, and I found it really interesting how much focus they put on finding flaws early; if they wait too long, the company has invested too much and stands to lose quite a bit of money. It reminds me of something my engineering professor often said last semester: Fail Fast.

We then embarked on a tour of the site’s testing facilities and production plant. The coolest room by far was the sound testing room, which was entirely sound-proof and is used to test an exhaust system’s sound quality. It’s not just about muffling the sound – it’s about getting the best possible roar. I had never thought about it like that before, but a Porsche definitely sounds cooler than a Toyota Camry (which is what I drive).

After Faurecia, we went back to the main plaza and got lunch. I ordered an iced coffee and was very surprised when I received a coffee-flavored milkshake. It was delicious, but not quite what I was expecting.

We then began our Martin Luther tour. This year is the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses, so Augsburg is preparing many Luther themed celebrations. We went on what essentially amounted to a church crawl of Augsburg. I didn’t realize just how many churches were in the city, and we were mostly only going to Protestant ones. My favorite was the Moritzkirche, which had recently been remodeled. I had never seen a Catholic Church so simple and elegant, and it definitely left a lasting impression on me.

The last stop of the tour was a discussion about religion with another university minister. They split us up based on religion, with Christians standing on one side of the room and non-Christians on the other. It was really uncomfortable, but apparently it’s way more commonplace to discuss religion so openly in Germany. At the very least, I’m glad I had the opportunity to feel uncomfortable – that’s kind of the whole point of studying abroad!

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