6 May 2019
After waking up this morning, I was more than ready to see what surprises Germany held for me that day. Today, I took a streetcar for the first time and it was really awesome! Streetcars are also called trams and they are like little trains but on the roads with cars. They have similar things here in America, especially in California where I used to live. As I looked around, it didn’t take long for me to learn that in Augsburg people cared more about their cars than their homes! This was pretty different from America and even other parts of Germany, where people would rather have nicer homes than nicer cars.
As we entered the University of Augsburg, I noticed that there was a lot of modern architecture in the university. The buildings were not very high and I noticed that it remained pretty consistent with the rest of the German architecture I had seen. The inside of the buildings were very aesthetically pleasing and clean looking, and even though it did not seem necessarily “rich”, it was still very beautifully crafted and impressed me.
At the university, we met our group of German students. All the German students were working on the same major of global business management and they were all at least one or two years older than us. Quite interestingly, most of the students were from Augsburg, and the furthest away someone lived was about 2 hours away. In America, there are some universities that are considered to be more local, where the students are mainly from within the state, but many other universities have kids from out-of-state and places much farther away. In Germany, it is also more common for students to take some time off before starting at universities, and even some of my own group members had done that.
With our teams, we had to create powerpoint presentations on the companies that our teams were assigned to in a short amount of time – in about an hour of time. We had to present those to the class immediately afterwards, meaning we had to appropriately budget our time for research, creating the presentation, and practicing it. This happened to be quite the experience as it was some of our group members’ first time using powerpoint and doing a presentation – one of our group members said he had been at Uni for 3 years and this was his first time presenting something. The differences in German and American education sparked a brief conversation among us, as we discussed what we liked about each others’ systems and the level of practical application each one covered (American education was less heavy on facts and information, and German education was less heavy on applying the knowledge they learnt). Additionally, the computers were in German, so understanding all the functions and words did not prove to be easy at all… especially typing on the different keyboards. Working together and pooling our talents together, however, allowed us to successfully finish and present our presentation on SGL Carbon.
After the presentations, we visited Mensa, which was their dining hall. It was truly amazing and there was a wide varieties of food available for us! All the food options were on the south side, and the food was early and clearly labelled which made life a lot more easier. Unlike the other minor food ordering mishaps I had previously encountered, I completely avoided that situation in here! The west, north, and east sides had plenty of tables and seats for us to eat at. The food was delicious and the German students seemed to love their dining hall unlike most American students at universities here!
Then we met with the masters students who would be coming to America (to Pittsburgh!) in the fall and participated in a huge Scavenger Hunt of Augsburg. We had initially explored the city with Dr. Feick, who gave us a personal tour and showed us the city square, the town hall, the cathedral, and a few other major attractions, but this time we did a more detailed tour with a guide, competing with another group of our program. We first explored sports in Augsburg, and visited the large stadium. We learnt that sports in Augsburg is similar to those in America in that large companies act as sponsors in exchange for a ton of publicity and name of stadium. Then we went to the cathedral and recreated a statue in front of the cathedral (my group won that by far). We then visited the town hall and spire next to it, and learnt about the famous architecture who designed it. We then visited another majestic town hall that was really impressive, I just couldn’t imagine what it would be like to pray in such a touristy attraction. After all, there were tons of people who came in and out, taking pictures and admiring the aesthetics rather than the religious purposes – our own group guilty of this. Really made me consider what it would be like to live in a tourist attraction and use the same facilities that others do for sightseeing for the actual function they were made to serve. We ended the scavenger hunt with some beer tasting! Don’t worry, it was alcohol free as we were still on program. We visited a really nice brewery and could just smell the beer being made.
We ended the day by having dinner at Dragone. The food was absolutely amazing here! I was definitely not expecting to have authentic Italian food in Germany, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It was a whole other experience. I got pizza and when it was served to me, it was not precut. I had to wonder for a couple minutes how I was going to eat it! I also learnt that there is no such thing as personal pizza in Germany/Europe – we were literally given a full sized Pizza and I’m not really sure how I finished it (but I did!).
Overall, it was an awesome day and I’m really loving my stay here at Germany already! Most of the program went to a nearby place to our hotel to get some ice cream – Jeff and I got the same flavor of vanilla, but some others got chocolate. My blog ends here, but I’ll see you tomorrow 🙂