The day started out a little bit rough because of our 7:15 AM bus departure. Although it was not ideal to wake up at six in the morning, I was able to get a nice picture of the morning sky blooming over Augsburg.
After another great hotel breakfast, we made an hourlong journey through the countryside to make it to Hoerbiger. The German countryside differed a decent amount compared to the American countryside with more greenspace that was overgrown. I think that there was less of a buffer before the countryside as well, going straight from the city to rural areas whereas there may be suburban areas before the rural areas were reached in the United States. Just over an hour of time on the bus we made it to our first company visit with Hoerbiger. Because I am in the group assigned to do a presentation on Hoerbiger, I had to be much more focused than I would for the other visits. Taking notes and thinking of important questions to ask was not easy but it kept me engaged throughout the morning. It was fascinating to be able to see the application of a company’s philosophy with the structure of the offices. Each floor was practically identical, and there was a great emphasis on efficiency and community throughout the office aspect of the company. Being able to see the machines creating parts firsthand was eye-opening as well. I felt that it was very helpful to see a real application of industry and the team that was behind it.
We were able to visit the automotive branch of Hoerbiger as well, which gave another important application of industry. We discussed how the growing demand for electric vehicles will change the market of the company, which specializes in creating parts for valves for oil tanks and transmissions for fuel powered cars. Taking money from the large market share, low growth of gas-powered cars and investing into smaller startups with low market shares was a strategy laid out to keep up with upcoming changes. They are vastly important for creating transmissions in cars, however they must be prepared to adapt to new demands of electric transportation. There was a vast amount of information to be gathered from the employees of Hoerbiger and they did an excellent job to take time out of their day and prepare a schedule for us. I feel like I got information that I would not have been able to find on google and that is vital for eventually improving the outcome of the final presentation.
Once we were done at the company visit, we embarked on another adventure to the mountains in Oberammergau. It was fascinating to see a quaint, little town surrounded by the vast peaks of the Alps. Being able to witness the beauty of the mountains was a pleasure and we were even luckier to be taken up on a gondola to the peek of one of the mountains. What made it even better was the group as a whole, great people made the experience far better than without.
I took advantage of the two hours of free time give after our mountain expedition by shopping for gifts for my family back home. The Christmas shop in town had wonderful ornaments that will be perfect for future Christmas trees every winter. The handmade crafts gave the shop a homey feel that ensured I had to buy something.
After spending a decent chunk of Euros on some interesting gifts, I had the opportunity to try my first German bratwurst with sauerkraut. It turned out to be a great meal and I am beyond sure that the waiter was ecstatic to get tips from eight Americans. Each time we said keep the change, a bright smile popped up on his face.
Overall, it was a very drawn-out day but there were so many great moments to take in, and I will look back fondly on my visit to Oberammergau.