European Escapades: Day 4


“Sometimes the things we fear the most in life are the most beautiful”

~Oday Abushaban


Day 4 in Germany was super cool! We went and toured the company Hoerbiger and got to tour their factories and talk to every person specialized in a specific section of the company. It was exciting because everyone was knowledgeable in their field and all the other areas related to theirs, making their answers to questions thorough and well-informed. I remember one question I asked about whether customers prefer family-owned corporations over shareholder-owned corporations. One of the engineers was able to answer this business question exceptionally well. Not only that, but they had snacks, and one of them was a fresher version of the same dessert I ordered from McDonald’s on my first day! I think I have a new favorite dessert! I believe it’s a Danish pastry 1/2 filled with strawberry jam and 1/2 filled with a cream cheese icing. Besides the fabulous food, everyone at Hoerbiger was amicable, and it was evident that they had put a lot of work into creating an exciting and enlightening day for us.

I enjoyed going through all the offices and production line areas. It was fascinating to see people doing their work in their everyday environment. I was also really grateful that I was able to ask an engineer a question about whether he has ever felt like business decisions were clashing with his ethical and moral beliefs. Ethics is something that is stressed in the curriculum at Swanson. While I have asked many experienced individuals in the field, I had not gotten a satisfactory answer until today. The engineer was sincere and talked about an instance where he was helping to make parts for respirator machines. He said one of their customers who works with children wrote to him thanking him and saying that if it wasn’t for his well-engineered product, a recently born child could have died. He then discussed how he would only want to make the best product for that child.

Another thing that he discussed was that the product’s material has the be put under stress and then have a seven-day resting period before being put under pressure again. This process ensures that the material is durable and can withstand high-stress situations and environments. When I asked him if it was possible to reduce the resting time of the material, he stated that the quality of the product would severely decrease. He further elaborated that if he had complete control, he would want the resting period to be two weeks and that seven days was already a compromise with the higher-ups. I was highly appreciative of the well-thought-out and truthful answers I got to all my questions during the tour in Hoerbiger.

Furthermore, I appreciated that they split up our large group of 17 people into small groups of 5-6 people. It made asking many questions much more accessible and made the tour less packed and crowded. To be honest, I had never thought much about Hoerbiger before this tour, but the entire company visit made me gain a tremendous amount of respect for the company. If I ever work for a company, I want them to be like Hoerbiger. It was also really insightful to get an idea of different paths I could go down one day. After visiting Hoerbiger, we went to a small village called Oberammergau, which was beautiful. We took a ski lift to the mountains, where there was a gorgeous view of the city below.

View of Oberammergau

Semira and I decided to get lunch during our time there since we were super hungry, so I searched on google for different restaurants in the area. We ended up going to this fantastic Mexican restaurant called El Puente. Unfortunately, they were swamped, and we needed reservations. However, there were two spots at the bar open where we could get seated and order some good food. I ended up getting chicken fajitas, and Semira got a burrito. It was exciting to try cuisine in a different country. You could taste the German influence in the Mexican food but in a good way. The fajitas I got had more sauce, like a stew, and vegetables that I liked. Usually, fajitas in America only come with green Bell Peppers and onions, so it was nice to have corn, tomatoes, and other ingredients in the fajitas.

After dinner, Semira and I looked at some of the shops. I saw this super cute stuffed animal, but it was 40 €! I knew I was way too old to be spending 40 € on a stuffed animal, so I sadly walked away. After checking out a few shops, Semira and I headed back to the bus, where we then drove back to the hotel. Once we got to the hotel, I got ready for bed and went to sleep. Thank you for taking the time to read this! Until Next Time!

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