Day 2: Racing the Clock… and Each Other

Monday, May 7

Today we went to the University of Augsburg and met the German students who would be working with us in our company groups. Our first task was to create an initial presentation to introduce the rest of the students to our company. From that point, we had 90 minutes to prepare something!

As a person who normally crumbles emotionally under the pressure of time constraints, I was surprised at how well our presentation came together. Contrary to my initial impressions of the program, more than half of the Americans and all of the Germans are studying business, meaning that engineers are in the minority. As the only engineers of the BMW group, Josh and I worked on the more technological aspects of the company, such as an overview of their latest car models and products. (Because I did all the typing, Josh agreed to do all the presenting. I think I got the better end of the deal!).

After we gave the presentations, we were given coupons to get food from the university Mensa. It took us a while to figure out how to get there, and our group kept chipping away in different directions until I finally plucked up the courage to ask a German student for help and she pointed us in the right direction.

After eating, we met up with four German students who will be studying in Pittsburgh in the fall and they took us on a tour of the campus. Afterwards, we split into two teams for a scavenger hunt around the city itself. I broke in my German by asking a few locals for help at certain points, which helped to rebuild confidence in my speaking ability after not being in Germany for two years!

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After the scavenger hunt, we got ice cream at an Eiscafé. Grant, Josh and I shared a Schwarzwald-Becher, which is like a black forest cherry sundae. However, I did not expect so much Kirschwasser to be added, so the flavor was difficult to enjoy at a certain point. But all in all it was pretty good!

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Once we finished up there, we walked to a Biergarten where we were all given three different non-alcoholic samples of German beer to try. This would be the part where I discovered that I am not and never will be a beer person. Bitter wheat water is not on my list of favorite flavors!

While the Americans were doing this, the German group leaders were tallying up the points that each of the teams had gotten in the scavenger hunt. Amazingly, it was a tie at 28 points! So we had a tiebreaker. Each team had to write down a number of what they thought was the capacity of the WWK Stadium, which we had seen earlier in the day. The answer was 30,660. The guesses were 40,000 and 27,000, and our team won! The prize was a box of candy and Frigeo-Ahoj Brause Pulver, which is a special kind of powder used to flavor and give fizz to water. The other team at least was given German Gummibären!

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So we took pictures with our groups and then left to go to dinner at Dragone, an Italian restaurant. I got a Margherita pizza, which is akin to the plain pizza in America, except it has a few spices on top. It was very good! At the end as we were leaving, the owner of the restaurant greeted me happily in Italian and I didn’t know how to respond. Then I think he asked “Italian?” in Italian and I shook my head and told him apologetically in German that I only spoke English and German. I kind of just awkwardly slunk out after that. But it was interesting to encounter a language barrier in a foreign country that was not the native language!

Step count: 21,660

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