Being back home for a few weeks after our trip to Germany has really allowed me to reflect and soak in all of the amazing experiences I had there, as well as the differences between day-to-day life here in America and in Germany.
Prior to applying to and preparing for this trip, I had never heard of Augsburg, Germany. But, after living in the city for two weeks, I got familiar with its culture, history, and central parts. I am incredibly grateful for being able to have had this experience, as I gained a lot of beneficial skills from living in a relatively large city in a different country for a short amount of time. For example, I was able to learn the basics of navigating the well-connected public transportation system, and learned customs that helped me when interacting with Augsburg natives.
The academic portion of this trip was incredibly interesting and unique. Firstly, it was interesting to interact with students from the University of Augsburg, as it gave me insight into what the college experience is for students in Germany, as well as how the students in their culture work. Additionally, being able to experience the work environments of the four companies we visited (Hoerbiger, Grob, Faurecia, and Audi) was fascinating. It was interesting to see how each of the companies are being impacted by, and are adjusting to, the shift of the automobile industry from internal combustion engines to electric mobility in real-time. Putting together a professional presentation on my company (Grob) with a group of other Pitt and University of Augsburg students was also a very useful experience to have had, as it will serve as helpful background when working on other professional presentations in my future career.
When looking back on all of the incredible places we visited, it is extremely difficult for me to pick a favorite experience I had. I found everything so interesting and awe-inspiring. From Walhalla to Munich, Neuschwanstein to Regensburg, or Dachau to Oberammergau, I had incredibly impactful experiences at each stop along the way. And, being able to finish out the trip with a Harry Styles concert was definitely amazing!
In all, this trip was life-changing. It allowed me to decompress from the stress of the end of the semester in one of the best ways I could imagine. I met so many great people, both from Pitt and Germans, and I can see the Pitt students reuniting at some point during the upcoming semester to catch up!
I will certainly never forget this experience. Thanks for following along!
– Juliana Alvelo-Davies