Today was the day! I finally started my long-awaited study abroad trip to Germany as part of the renown Plus 3 program. Our flight arrived today in Munich at about 10:00 am. We started the day by taking our bus from the airport where there were some absolutely breath-taking sites of houses, fields, and flowers. Sites that someone like me would never see when driving on Interstate 95 in New Jersey. Later, we finally reached our hotel after our tedious commute. As soon as I got into my hotel room, I made the executive decision to take a nap before my orientation started. The nap I decided to take was definitely a great decision because there was an even longer day to come. After my exhilarating nap, we had our student orientation where we met Sonja and Marius, who both are in charge of the University of Augsburg students that we will soon be collaborating with for our presentations on companies such as Audi and Continental. One of the most satisfying things that came out of the orientation was that I found out we had an additional 120 euros to spend on the trip. Receiving this money works perfectly for me because this money will probably go towards me buying souvenirs for my friends and hopefully I will be able to buy an awesome Mother’s Day gift for my mom while on this trip.
Moreover, our group began to venture out into the city of Augsburg where we walked through the main plaza of Augsburg in the shadow of the Augsburg town hall and the clock tower. While walking around Augsburg, Dr. Feick was continually testing us to see how much information we retained from our meetings from the spring semester and gave us even more intriguing information about the city of Augsburg. The only thing I would have to say about this tour of Augsburg was that it was not that exciting I as I thought it was going to be because not many of the citizens of Augsburg were outside because the town on Sundays is the day where everyone is supposed to go to church and then spend the rest of the day with their families. Whereas in Pittsburgh, Sundays tend to have much more activity due to the popular sports culture that takes place. On our adventure in Augsburg, we entered the Dom, or in other words the Cathedral in Augsburg. This massive place of worship had so many beautiful statues, sculptures, and stained-glass windows. The stained-glass windows of the church were most definitely my favorite because they seemed to give off such a different glow compared to other stained-glass windows I have seen before.
Later in the day, we toured the Fuggerei. The Fuggurei is so essential when talking about the history of Augsburg because Jakob Fugger was once the richest man in all of Augsburg and possibly the world. The Fuggerei is Augsburg’s affordable housing available to the less fortunate citizens of the city that started all the way back in the 1400-1500s. What is most astounding about the Fuggerei today is that the price of living there now is only 88 cents per year, and with 88 cents per year you seem to get a pretty high-quality apartment, although the dimensions of the houses are quite small and enclosed. One thing I did not know while touring the Fuggerei was that there were, in fact, some of the University of Augsburg students touring the Fuggerei with us. I thought that they were just another small group touring with us because there were not enough our tour guides available. I did not know about this until we had dinner with them after our tour of the Fuggerei.
In discussing the dinner we had with the University of Augsburg students, I had an amazing time. The dinner was at a restaurant called Kong von Flandern. I sat with Freddy, an Augsburg student, who amazingly enough spent one year in the United States on a student exchange program in Wisconsin. With Freddy, there was no language barrier and we were able to discuss a lot of the differences between German and American culture. For dinner, I decided to fully immerse myself in German culture and decided to order the most German-sounding thing on the menu. The dish was called dunkelbierbraten, it was a pork dish served with red cabbage and a potato dumpling. The dunkelbierbraten and dumpling were amazing and were definitely part of the heavy German diet that I learned about with Dr. Feick and Arielle. Freddy convinced me to finally try the red cabbage, but unfortunately, I was not a big fan of it. To conclude my long first day of the Plus 3 Germany program, I went to bed exhausted but excited, thinking about what more awesome things were to come on this cultural learning experience.