Reflection Blog – A Trip I’ll Never Forget

Looking back at the two weeks I spent in Germany, I couldn’t be any happier with how it went.

The company visits were amazing. From seeing molten metal being molded into different components at Hirschvogel, a completely electronic assembly line complete with robot helpers at Continental, and cars being assembled in front of us at Audi, the things I learned and saw at these visits will stick with me forever. Being a mechanical engineering major, a lot of these trips were especially impactful for me because it made me question my major.

While at Continental, I was so amazed with their processes and robots all working together alongside their workers that I could imagine myself working in a setting exactly like it. Then at Audi, watching the amount of synchronization that took place as a car chassis came up through the floor to meet the body of the same model, I was hoping that someday I would be able to have a part in something so smooth and thought out. I would likely be best suited to do these kinds of things with an industrial engineering degree, and because of that, I was questioning if I made the right decision. After letting it sink in a little more (and visiting Porsche and Mercedes), I decided that mechanical engineering was right for me, but that I would love to pursue an industrial engineering minor, which I am now planning on doing.

Working with my presentation group was also a fantastic experience. I couldn’t ask for a better group, and I think we all did a great job. James, Sahana, Justin, Maren, Sophie, and Luisa were all so much fun to work with, and I am so glad I had the chance to work with them.

The Hirschvogel group.

Moving on with that, meeting and hanging out with all of the other University of Augsburg students was fantastic too. We met so many amazing people, and I hope I’ll get the chance to see some of them again someday.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank Dr. Feick and Arielle for being outstanding and so helpful on the trip. I truly can’t having anyone else being able to manage 20 college students as well as they both did, while still aiding us all in having some of the best two weeks of our lives.

I figured I would end the blogs by recapping a few of my favorite things from the trip, and then of course, I will give my car of the trip.

Favorite Location: The Alpsee
This was a close one between the Alpsee and the Alps, but I had to go with the Alpsee. I could have spent days just looking at this lake. It truly was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I have always loved lakes and rivers and things like that, and the Alpsee was by far the most amazing one I have ever seen. The ducks, the mountains, the clear water, and the reflections all came together to make just sitting alongside the lake an amazing experience. If I ever come back to Germany (which I hope to one day), I will definitely set an entire day aside to explore the trails around the Alpsee.

The Alpsee

Favorite Company Visit: Audi
It had to be Audi. Continental was an amazing visit and it was so cool to see all those different systems working together and the robots running around the floor, but Audi was in another league. Watching the integration of the different parts of the production of the vehicles was so neat to see, and I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that went into making that entire assembly line work as well as it did. I don’t know if I have ever seen something as awe inspiring as the chassis of an RS5 come out of the floor as the body of an RS5 is riding on a track right above our heads, all on the same assembly line as normal A5’s and A4’s. It’s probably a good thing they didn’t let us take photos during the tour, because my phone would have run out of storage.

The Sun shining through the flags at Audi.

Favorite Time I Thought I Was Going to Die: Walking up the Münster
Even though walking up the Münster was probably the most scared I have ever been in my life, if I was given the chance to stop myself from climbing up, I wouldn’t. It was an experience that I’m glad I had the opportunity to undergo. I faced my fears, and I got to see one of the most outstanding views I have ever seen.

The absolutely massive Münster from the side. You can see some of the flying buttresses used to support those massive ceilings.

Favorite Photos of the Trip:
This was originally just supposed to be one photo, but I couldn’t hold myself to just one. These are just some of my favorites. There were a ton that I would have loved to add too, but I didn’t want to make this blog a mile long.

The sensation of looking at these mountains is impossible to capture in a picture, but the closest you can get is with a panorama.
I just thought this picture of the Porsche Museum was really cool, just being able to see the point against the blue sky, some cars in the reflections off the underside, and the 911 sculpture in the distance.
I’ve always like this picture down one of the alleyways of the Fuggerei where you can see the ivy on the buildings, and a single bike alongside the close wall in the distance.
Taking this picture felt like it was a setup because of how well the blue of the shutters matched the blue of the motorcycle.
This one is kinda a cop-out, but there was one display at the Mercedes-Benz museum with one of their older Formula One engines on display. It was in a glass case with black fabric all around it, and when you looked right up against the glass, it looked like the engine was just floating there. For this picture, all I had to do was put the phone right up against the glass and take the shot.
A view of the New Town Hall from Peterskirche. I loved how you were able to see the intricacy of the Town Hall, as well as some of the skyline of Munich, all combined with the beautiful sky in the background.

Takeaway of the Trip: The Friends I Made
Whoever decided who was admitted onto the Plus3 Germany trip, they did an amazing job. The 19 others that were on the trip with me were some of the nicest and most wonderful people I have ever met. I plan on staying in touch with everyone for as long as I can, as everyone I was with for these two weeks became some of my best friends from freshman year at Pitt. It might sound a little corny, but most of what I’ll probably take away from this trip are the experiences I had with my peers.

The engineers of the trip from top to bottom and left to right: Brett Saunders, Sahana Mallela, Ryan Earle, Michelle Wang, Frank Czura, Joe Wright, Jeff Buscher, Ravi Ganhi, Maya Roman, and me.
The business students of the trip from top to bottom and left to right: Jess Landolfi, James Boston, Steph Ott, Alex Miller, Lauren Bauer, Nick Erni, Esme Bikales, Reid Becker, Justin Chudzik, and Eamonn Flynn.

Car of the Trip: Porsche 918 Spyder

There were a lot of cars I considered for “Car of the Trip”, like the Audi RS6, the Mercedes-Benz AMG G550 4×4 Squared, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, the Audi RS4 Avant, the Audi R8, and a number of other ones, but ultimately, it had to be the 918. There has never been a car in my life that had me as excited as I was when I rounded the corner and saw the 918 on display at the museum. I just had an uncontrollable smile on my face that I couldn’t wipe away. The Porsche 918 is my ultimate dream car, and if I ever win the lottery, that’s the car that I would be driving around. With the feat of engineering that it represents, as well as the competition between some of the best automakers in the world, its presence is unlike any car I’ve ever been next to.

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