I never thought it would be more difficult getting home from Germany than it was getting here. It took Peter and I a total of about 24 hours to travel from our beloved Ibis hotel to the Newark airport.
After we left the company of Dr. Feick and Ms. Spirk, we rode the bus to the airport and all took a fairly painless flight to Charlotte. It was here that we each said our goodbyes, not before buying some overpriced Shake Shack for lunch. The plane to Newark was delayed about 3 hours due to weather conditions, and by the time we boarded, and there was almost another two hours of delays before we could even take off! By the time Peter and I finally landed in Newark, we couldn’t get off the plane for about another hour, as the pilot didn’t have a gate to unload us at.
Although my journey home was exhausting, it made my arrival home all the more rewarding. Not five minutes after I got back home, I sank into my bed and turned on my fan on, a very important detail, and remained there for about a week as I recovered from jet-lag. I’ve been back for about 2 weeks now, and I recently started my internship with ArmorPoxy, an epoxy flooring company, as well as a virtual calculus 3 class.
Since leaving Germany, I probably miss speaking the language more than anything. I’ll miss saying “danke schön,” “gesundheit,” and “entschuldigung” to everybody without receiving a weird look. German is just so much fun to speak, and I liked repeating certain words and trying my best to put on a German accent. At the start of the trip, I was uncomfortable even ordering döner kebab, and over time I adjusted to speaking some basic German phrases. By the end of the trip, I felt like I had culturally evolved.
I’d like to thank everybody for making this great trip possible. First of all to Dr. Feick, Ms. Stephanie Spirk, and Korbinian Knoll, for planning our itinerary so thoroughly and for being great people to work with! I’d also like to thank my fellow Plus 3 students and Maxi, for being consistently friendly and fun to spend this time with. We may have barely talked during our pre-departure classes in Pittsburgh, but it only took one night of seeing Dr. Strange at the AMC Waterfront for all of us to hit it off immediately, and our awesome group dynamic stayed that way for the entire trip.
It was also great to get engineering experience beyond my strictly science and math-based classes. It may take me another year to start my co-op program, where I hope to get a job in a chemical engineering field. Our company visits offered me a look at some engineering practices in action, from the creation of almost fully-autonomous assembly lines at BMW, to leaning how Faurecia is innovating hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Throughout the program, I also gained a myriad of communication skills, through working with students at the University of Augsburg. It was sometimes difficult to communicate our ideas and what we wanted for our presentation. In the end, we got the hang of it, and I’m proud of our resulting work, and glad I got the opportunity to work with students from across the sea.
Plus 3 was such a distinct and meaningful experience for me, and I’m so glad I could be a part of it this summer. I will never forget the memories and relationships I formed through the course of this trip.
This has been the Krauss Khronicles.