Before I began the reflection, I want to type out my gratitude. First I want to thank Dr. Feick and Mrs. Dawkins for conducting the trip. Next, I want to thank every company during the trip that allowed us to tour their factory and help give us necessary information that was needed for our analysis of the automobile industry. Finally, I want to thank the Gilman Scholarship program for helping fund this trip for me, without them this wouldn’t be possible. I encourage any incoming Pitt student to take advantage of Plus3 as well as apply to the Gilman Scholarship program.
A lot of this trip to Germany can be described the word “new”. This was my first time on a plane, my first time leaving the United States, and my first time in a foreign country. From experiencing cities that are over 800 years old to being amazed at the tram system, everything was new to me. I knew coming into this program that everything I would be experiencing would be new. Even though I came into the program knowing this, I was still blown away by certain things.
First I want to start off with the cities that we visited in Germany. The main three ones that I want to focus on is Augsburg, Munich, and Regensburg. Each one of these cities have a such rich and deep history to them. From Augsburg being a trade capitol during the Roman Empire to Munich being the capital of the kingdom of Bavaria, I really appreciated the history of these places. What I really loved with the history of Germany was their transformation before, during, and after WW2. There was an alley in Munich where they painted the stones gold to honor citizens that would walk that way to avoid saluting the Nazi flag. Augsburg was bombed during WW2 so a lot of buildings had to be rebuilt and places like the Fuguria had bomb shelters for the bombing. Germany has such a complex, but deep history within the past century. Some of the imagery of Augsburg during WW2 makes you think of how easy it is for a nation to become a dictatorship overnight.
Moving away from the history side of Germany, the cities were still really beautiful. This was definitely my favorite part of the trip. Being able to explore these cities that were completely different than American cities was amazing. These cities were more like large villages because that is how the architecture was at the time. American cities were able to boom during the industrial revolution and so that is why the cities that we have so many skyscrapers. However in Germany, the main city centers have already been built for centuries, so any skyscrapers would have to be built outside these cities.
If I am being honest, I was coming into this trip with no knowledge about the automobile industry. So when we started the company visits, I wasn’t that excited to do them. However, seeing these companies that were supplies, such as Grob and Hoebriger, make these supplies and sell them to OEMs, like Audi, was extremely cool. Seeing the car industry start off with these suppliers and then see them being finished at places like Audi is honestly the best way to learn about supply chain management. These company visits were the hidden gem of this trip as I didn’t expect them to be good, however they turned out to be amazing.
Germany will now always hold a special place in my heart. As this was the first foreign country that I ever visited, I am extremely happy that this was the first country that I visited.