On the second day, I woke up around 7:40 am and got dressed. I then proceeded to get breakfast and walked down to Königsplatz where we got on a tram that took us to the University of Augsburg. When we arrived at the University, we met the German students who we would be we would be working with and got into our specified groups. We were then given 1 ½ hours to work on a PowerPoint presentation on our specified companies that we would later have to present to the class. As we introduced ourselves to the German students, I realized how different our names were. I barely was able to pronounce them let alone remember them. Creating the project was very difficult because the computers and keyboards were German. The ‘z’ & the ‘y’ were switched, the ‘=’ was not in the normal position. Besides the positioning of letters and symbols, simple things such as copying and pasting posed a challenge since I didn’t know what words meant copy or paste.
After the allotted time was up, I was stressed the presentation wasn’t going to be good enough, but I believe we had successfully worked together and pulled through. I was shocked at how much I was able to learn in such a short time. After the presentations were over, we visited the Mensa which the university’s cafeteria. Not only was the food delectable, they had a wide variety of different foods, from Mediterranean to Asian. I had chicken with a sauce that was like gravy, and a bowl of pasta with red sauce on it. I also had mezzo mix up which is cola mixed with Fanta. I thought it was iced tea at first but after tasting it, it was a delicious soda.
During the meal, I was talking to the German students about how the school systems differ. We were out of college and in the summer, while they were still in the middle of the semester. Another difference is the grading systems. They do not have to go to class, while we are graded on going to class for attendance. Their professors are also more inclined to read from the book, so the students do that on their own time in their dorm. They only have one grade which is their final. Their finals are also spread out and not all in one week at the end of the semester. After the delicious meal, we met the master students that will be traveling to Pittsburgh later in the year.
With them we began a scavenger hunt that expanded across Augsburg. We started at the Mensa with the first question. It was about the name of their stadium. and one thing I noticed, and thought was interesting, was how just like in America, the stadiums are sponsored by big name companies. This does make sense when you think about it, but I didn’t expect it outside of the US.. Throughout the scavenger hunt, we were very determined to win, and there was a bit of culture shock as well. We took great group photos combined with communicating with the locals. Speaking of culture shock, we had to pay to go to the restroom. We never had to do that in America, and it seemed incredibly weird. I decided to forgo the trip to the restroom and return to the group. After talking it over with Flo, one of the master students, we decided it was because they needed the money to fund the facility.
Flo played a large part in acquainting me with Augsburg history. He taught me a lot about German culture, including but not limited to Jacob Fugger, German architecture, and the relationship between cars and homes. I learned that Jacob was so rich that he was afraid he was not going to make it into heaven. To be socially responsible, Fugger donated land to build a housing area for families and people in need. These individuals could live in this housing for less than 1 euro a year. but had to sign a contract requiring them to pray for Jacob and the Fugger family 4 times a day. It is still in effect to this day. I also learned that in Augsburg people are more likely to spend their money on a good car rather than a good home. The one thing I still can’t get over is how lovely everything looks. From old architecture, flowing fountains to the beautiful churches, Augsburg is one of the prettiest cities I’ve been in.
I’ve yet to see something like these in the United States.
After the scavenger hunt, we went to Riegele, a restaurant nearby where we taste tested non-alcoholic beer. In the Riegele, there was bathroom that left me speechless. It was by far the coolest restroom I have ever been in. There a tree in the middle of the room and attached to that tree there were urinals. There were also funny quotes on the walls. The theme seemed to be centered around a forest vibe, and I have never seen anything like it before. Like I said before, we taste tested 3 kinds of non-alcoholic beer and they were intriguing. We had wheat, IPA, and a normal beer. The IPA was my favorite because it was fruity. I never thought the taste would be so different but yet the same by just subtracting the alcohol. While we were there, we quizzed the master students on their own German knowledge by making them take last year’s German quiz. For the most part, they held their own and knew the answers, but there were a few questions where they were completely lost.
We then went to dinner at an Italian place called Dragone, and it was spectacular. For the most part we all ordered pizza, but there were some difficulties with the ordering process. The menus were all in German. This made me feel so disconnected because I was not able to understand a majority of the menu. This made me realize how lucky I was that the German students accommodated us by speaking in English and helping us along the way. I also realized that since they also speak English, being in America is not a problem for them at all because they are able to perfectly understand everything. After we ordered, we soon discovered how different the language of Germany is from our own. Some people ordered pepperoni pizza, but in Germany the meaning for the word pepperoni is pepper. They were surprised to see their pizza covered in hot peppers instead of salami. Some even gave their peppers away because they couldn’t stand the heat. I personally had prosciutto and it was marvelous.
After dinner we went back to the hotel where we began to relax after a long a day full of twists and turns. Even though we all experienced a bit of culture shock, we were all very excited to experience more. We even went out later that night and had wide varieties of chocolate ice cream. We also went to a place to play pool .