Day 6: Faurecia and Politics

Today we visited the company Faurecia near the University of Augsburg. They build interior and exhaust systems for vehicles. However, we mostly saw their research and development aspects of the company. This involved a lot of test procedures to see how each component would react to certain experiments. To be completely honest, this tour did not interest me as much as the others because it had more to do with research than with actual process flow. But nevertheless, it is still good to be exposed to all different types of engineering.

After the tour they gave us a presentation about the company. It was interesting about how much the industry is changing and how they plan to address the changes since it will directly affect them. As all the other companies did as well, Faurecia preached zero emissions as a future goal. However, they lacked a true plan for how to achieve that. One of their main points to get to zero emissions was that they are working on lighter weight parts for cars. But how would this completely eliminate emissions in the future? It seems to me like they are relying more on the backup plans that they put in place such as the shipping industry which they are now also making parts for. Some other notes from the presentation are rather interesting: Apparently you can pronounce their name any way you want to and will be correct, they talked to us for 15 minutes about an internship program that we were not eligible for (masters student / European citizenship required), and they fed us pretzels with butter which were awesome.

After the company visit, we got lunch with some German students at the cafeteria in the university. Their cafeteria is much better than Market Central at Pitt. I won’t hate too much on Market Central here but let’s just say the Augsburg cafeteria has more options, is brighter, yummier, cleaner, and… doesn’t have any health violations. Honestly, a lot of the food here has been better than America in general. It’s probably because it is new to me and exciting but everything that I have eaten has been high quality. I’m definitely a fan of the food here.

Next we went to a lecture on German politics. The political structure in Germany is similar in some ways to America but it also very different in other ways. They have a similar sort of senate and house structure with their Bundestag and Bundesrat set up. However, there is a stark difference in the type of party system that each country has. America has the two party system while Germany has many different parties. While each may have its own advantage, it seems to me like the Germany structure makes more sense. I mean, why should you have to decide between only two parties who are split on multiple issues? I don’t know though, politics isn’t really my thing and obviously this presentation was probably a little biased since it’s in Germany. I’ll stick with engineering, but this was a very informative lecture.

Later in the day, after going back to the hotel and relaxing, I got dinner with some others at Vapiano’s. It was an Italian restaurant that had some good pasta. The pizza was a little disappointing, which you can see on Frank’s one bite review. All in all though, today was good and relaxing which was much needed.

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