Nach der Reise – After the Tour

Before going to Germany, I had never been to Europe. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and couldn’t imagine just how much fun I was about to have. Not even the classes we all took before leaving was enough to mentally prepare myself. Upon arriving in Berlin I was immediately taken aback. Everything looked the same: same sun, same sky, same earth beneath my feet… but it hadn’t hit me that we were thousands of miles away from home, across an entire ocean. I enjoyed having to walk everywhere, or take public transit, because it was spiritually fulfilling for myself. Each city tour I attended was a treat in itself, as not only did we learn about the history of that particular city, but we got to take in its beauty with our own eyes. Berlin was old and worn, but held itself with dignity and had refined night-life. Hamburg was the big city, and I can easily relate it to New York City. Braunschweig was where the students went to study, and the entire city looked as if it was run by those same students; very raw and unfinished, but the development hasn’t stopped. Leipzig was “New Hamburg” in that it was becoming a big city but it had retained a lot of its old infrastructure. Leipzig was my favorite city because of this happy medium it had attained. Finally, Frankfurt was, in my opinion, a tourist city. It put on a face for the people not native to the area, and there wasn’t much else to explore that we hadn’t already seen from another city. Overall, with the city and company tours, I have learned way more than I ever expected. The food was also delicious and plentiful, with no complaints from me. I can only give positive feedback about this trip and I can’t wait to return.

Michael Hitchiner


 

To sum it up, this trip solidified my decision to keep following my career path and continue with international business.
When I first arrived in Germany I couldn’t have been more nervous and uncomfortable. I am in a foreign country with 24 other people who I did not know. Luckily I was able to find common interests with a lot of them and created several good friendships. This made the trip a whole lot more enjoyable and allowed me to have a lot more fun.
I loved the architecture and the history of Germany. There were so many beautiful buildings and it seemed that each and every one of them have their own story. My favorite place we went to while visiting was Leipzig. Not only did I love the cobble stone streets but the architecture was amazing. I was also able to capture a fantastic Instagram picture in front of Bach! Leipzig allowed me to get all of my shopping done in one place too. Another thing I loved about Leipzig was going to the oldest coffee shop. It was honestly the best coffee I have ever had, so Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts will never be the same.

The food in Germany was always fantastic. I don’t think there was one day that I didn’t eat Schnitzel or Dönner. Dönner is probably one of my favorite cheap foods ever and I could eat one every day if I could. Although the foods for lunch and dinner were amazing. I did not enjoy german breakfasts. I have never eaten so much bread in my life then what I had at breakfast in Germany. I can’t really complain though because after all, I was in Germany.
Overall, this trip showed me all the great things about germany. I was able to learn and understand a lot more German. I experienced so much of the german culture as well, and made several new friends that I can now hangout with back at URI. The decision to go on this trip was the best decision I have ever made.

Matthew Perugini


 

After arriving home from my trip to Germany, I have had time to reflect on the time that I spent there.  While it was something I certainly did not expect the culture of the Country was much more different to ours then I might have expected.  The first thing that I noticed, was that unlike normal stereotypes of German people, they are very willing to help someone out if asked.  It was also surprising how virtually everyone was able to speak English and would switch to speaking it (flawlessly) as soon as they realized that you had an American accent or stumbled over a word in German.

Along with the average citizens of the country being able to realize the student life in the country was also very surprising to me.  Unlike here in the US, students in Germany are much more independent.  With classes being optional and no homework given ones entire grade in a class is put on a final exam.  Students do not even register for the classes they want to take but rather just show up to lectures, and if they feel that they learned all the material from the class will register for the exam at the end of the semester.  This method of schooling gives much more responsibility to the students and rewards the ones who are able to stay focused by allowing them more time to do any extra activities that they may want.  Along with schooling, the nightlife in Germany is also very different.  With the streets being empty at 10pm, only to find people leaving their apartments to start the night at 1 in the morning.

Going on this trip for the J-Term was an excellent experience for me and one that I would recommend,  especially to those who are enrolled in the German IEP Program.  The ability to visit and get a taste of the culture of the country that you will be studying in for a year is an invaluable resource, and one that will greatly help prepare you for your year abroad.

JP Carlin


Hallo ich heiße Sam Noymer. I very much enjoyed the J-term trip to Deutschland and strongly recommend that others go on this trip in the future, I might want to go again on the next J-term. Traveling to Deutschland was an amazing experience because everything is so different from what I was used to in the United States. I got to try so many new things like the delicious food of Deutschland or how fantastic the transportation system is, allowing us to travel anywhere even the most remote factories. Before we left I was a little worried that I didn’t know enough Deutsch, but when I got there I found out that I knew a lot  more German than I realized. Although almost everyone in Deutschland speaks English I found myself not trying to use English and even though I would struggle through sentences the everyone was willing to help me improve my Deutsch. Overall this trip helped me improve my Deutsch and was an extraordinary experience.
Samuel Noymer

In September, I will begin a year of living in Germany. Before this trip, I felt pretty good about speaking German. This trip showed me how much work I still must do before I leave to feel completely comfortable with speaking German. It was a very good motivator to cause me to study much more than I may have been doing. The trip also comforted me in a way, because I now have proof that I can survive in a German-speaking country without anything terrible happening. I was also able to learn some German customs and idioms, so I will not embarrass myself completely when I get there.
I was also very glad to visit the companies. To be honest, I had not put much thought into where I wanted to intern before the trip and this trip made me consider where I do or do not want to spend 6 months working. It was also rewarding to visit the museums and think about where I may want to visit in my free time in Germany.
Overall I found the trip very rewarding. Before, I hadn’t quite realized the gravity of the fact that I will be spending at least a year of my life in Germany. Now I am making plans and beginning to prepare myself. I almost wish I had gone earlier than the year before I leave, so that my plans could have been prepared for farther in advance.
Erika Steen

 Like many of the other students on this trip, this wasn’t only my first time in Germany, this was was my first time leaving the United States. The URI Germany J-Term is an adventure. While the focus is on the opportunities for engineering students, there is something for everyone on this trip. Exploring the Bundestag gave me a new insight into the politics of another country, and also exposed me to an alternative viewpoint of the the events of the Second World War. Seeing “Common Ground” at the Gorki Theatre in Berlin introduced me to a more nuanced version of the events of the Bosnian War. The Frankfurt Opera, although difficult to understand, was magnificent. Of course, the wide variety of company visits we took gave me insight into what careers I may want to pursue with my engineering degree. University tours in Braunschweig and Darmstadt gave me a feel for what student life abroad might be like. I am going to miss the new foods that I tried like döner and currywurst. My first time abroad was wonderful. I think all URI students should take a J-term trip abroad, and I can’t wait for my year abroad with the International Engineering Program.

Patrick Curtis


 

 

Deutschland, Deutschland, where for art thou Deutschland?! Is what I will be saying until I finally step aboard the plane that will take me back to that wondrous place. I have to say that this trip has been an exceptional experience and I would also say to anyone reading this, it would behoove you to enroll in the next trip if possible for you. The memories made, the experiences had, and the knowledge gained in such a short amount of time are a precious and will last a life time. Having never been abroad before Deutschland was the perfect way to start an era of traveling. The packed schedule seemed really daunting at first, however I came to love it because I was only a few taps away from knowing what we were doing next. The company visits were incredibly informative, as an engineering student, to obtain insight as to how companies work. Dow Chemicals was the best portrayer of who they are and how they work as a company in my opinion. As for my favorite visit, BMW was the winner by a landslide with the tour of their automated assembly line with the robots making the new i3. Considering we went to six cities in two weeks, there was not a sufficient amount of time to really get to know each one. However, each city gave off a completely different vibe from the last. I thoroughly enjoyed Berlin, Braunschweig, and Leipzig. The other three cities were great, but my flow was not in synch with theirs.

One of, if not my favorite part of the trip, was the food. Please do not get me started on Currywurst, Döner (Dürüm), Spezi, Radler, and so many other delectable treats. The entrees and beverages of the German people are flavorful and attention-grabbing to say the least, and you must try them when you go. Curry 36 will be your best option for Currywurst no doubt. As for the culture, I had never seen to an opera before let alone two, but both Tosca and Lucia DiLammermoor were well done and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the opera scene. Common Ground at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin was an astonishingly great play. Although I only understood about 20% of it I was enthralled the entire time. The minimalist set, and how believable the actors made me feel that they had actually been a part of the atrocities they were portraying. As for the universities we visited I am very thankful that I have an idea of where I will be going and that I know I will feel at home there. TU Braunschweig has definitely won me over with its botanical gardens and city-town feel, but that doesn’t mean that TU Darmstadt doesn’t have anything to offer. This trip allowed me a sneak preview of what is to come in two years when I venture into my year abroad, and this was just a taste. I am forever thankful for the IEP program, specifically Dr. Sigrid Berka, for the help which allowed me to attend this J-Term, and for my first time ever overseas. Deutschland here’s to you because I’ll be seeing you quite soon…PROST!

Troy Stephen Durand


 

Touring Germany as a language student and an engineer gave the trip some huge dynamics that I never received when I toured Spain and Portugal in high school as only a singer. After only a year and a half of non-stop German class, I was able to comprehend and communicate in German effectively, almost without thinking at times. Having that ability makes me smile ear to ear.

As an engineer, this trip informed me about several companies and helped me determine what I want to do in the future. DOW Chemicals, Lufthansa, Siemens, BMW, Volkswagen, and others gave us tours that made me question a lot about what I like as an engineer. They gave me alternative job ideas from companies I wouldn’t have imagined requiring many chemical engineering backgrounds. I could work for Lufthansa! Imagine the benefits of working with private jet designers!

I loved every minute of touring Germany. This trip is massive; you have to be prepared for all the walking, so travel light! If I were to change one thing about my trip, I would appreciate Berlin and Hamburg more. I felt like I didn’t do as much in those cities compared to the others, so I would definitely explore the city more at night. I can’t wait to come back for a whole year!

Joshua D’Ambra


 

Germany Study Tour in Review

This study tour was absolutely fantastic. I was a little anxious about travelling abroad for the first time and having to navigate new places in a different language, but the anxiety I felt mostly disappeared by the time we left the airport. I was surprised by how distinctly different each of the cities we visited were from one another. They each had their own unique look and subculture. While most of the students seemed to like Hamburg, I fell in love with Berlin, a city that is “poor but sexy.” It is a very young city with a very diverse music scene and I cannot wait to spend more time there when I go abroad next year.

The food was delicious. I was a little worried about maintaining a vegetarian diet in a country known for the many ways it prepares sausages, but the falafel Döner and Käsespätzle did not disappoint. The baked goods were consistently excellent in each city, and I was sure to pick up a ton of Ritter Sport chocolate for home.

I really enjoyed our school and company visits. Meeting students from the technical universities was really interesting and helped alleviate some the stress I had about living in Braunschweig and attending TUBS next year. It was somewhat of a relief to know the TUBS students had similar concerns and questions about attending URI. The company visits were extremely interesting, even when the focus was not in my discipline of engineering. In fact, I found the Dow Chemical presentation to be one of the most helpful of the company presentations because they talked a lot about the culture within the company and not just what the company did. I had hoped to get a little more of that with the other companies, since we have the opportunity to intern with them, but overall the visits were extremely interesting.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone planning on studying in Germany in the future, or even for anyone looking to travel and maybe get a few credits in the process. It really helps you get a feel for the culture of the country, as well as for the schools and companies that we work with. The constant exposure to German, such as at a restaurant or on the S-Bahn, really does help better your understanding of the language and I would encourage anyone trying to learn German to go on this trip. I had a really great time and I’m sure future tours will be just as exciting.

Taylor DiLeo


 

Looking back, so much has happened since we first started this adventure. That first day in the classroom when we all had to sit at a place with a chocolate in front of it and very few people spoke to each other, we were nervous, excited, and anxious about what was to come. For some, Germany was a recent memory and we couldn’t wait to go back. For others, this was their first time leaving the country. Some of us knew each other, others were new to German studies. By the end, we all became a tight group who are still friends beyond the borders. We tried foods we couldn’t even pronounce…sometimes it was a good decision….sometimes Ian had to be the human trash bin…(side note, thank you, Ian, for saving me from Buttermilk. I was very misled by the name.) I was actually extremely surprised at how heavily influenced the German culture is by Turkish culture. As others have said before me, one of the most popular dishes was Döner, a Turkish meat wrap. Also a very popular non-traditional German meal, is Currywurst, which was created in Berlin.
As for the cities themselves, they all went by so quickly, it’s often times hard to distinguish which city housed what. It would be wrong of me to say that this is due to the fact that the cities were very similar, so I believe it is mostly because we were mostly only able to explore the essence of the cities at night. Hamburg, Berlin, and Frankfurt were all very lively at night, but in their own special way. Berlin was mostly buzzing with people moving from one place to another, while Hamburg enjoyed people who wanted to dance and sing loudly at discos. While Frankfurt just seemed slightly restless, like a person who couldn’t sleep, so he wanders around, gazing at the glimmering lights of the city until weariness calls him homeward. For me, the most incredible city was Leipzig. Though secretive in nature, this city had hidden treasure troves of history, culture, and most of all music. Within St. Thomas’ Church, we stumbled upon the grave of one of the most famous composers ever to live, and a composer whose music I love dearly: Johann Sebastian Bach. Tears of joy rolled down my face when I finally laid my gaze upon his grave. I cannot describe how incredible it was for me to realize that I was standing before one of the greats and observing the very organ he played. I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to visit the resting place of one created that which has moved my soul on many occasions. Never before had I such a desire to cry out hymns written by him for this church to fill the emptiness within. One day, I hope to return there and echo his music throughout those halls once more as a tribute to this great man who was not appreciated during his time and was nearly forgotten by time.

Felicia Baker


 

Before traveling to Germany, I was both excited and slightly nervous about leaving the United States. I was eager to experience and observe the differences between the American and European culture, yet slightly anxious about being so far away from home. The moment I entered the Lufthansa airline to Frankfurt, reality kicked in and excitement negated my previous sense of anxiety. Surrounded by German speakers, reading material, and in-flight entertainment, I was ambitious to experience life in Germany and practice my German communication skills in ordinary situations. When we finally arrived in Berlin, the excitement of being in Germany distracted me from the fatigue generated by the six-hour jet lag.

Throughout the journey, I recognized that homelessness in even the largest cities within Germany is less common when compared to major US cities such as Boston or New York. After touring companies such as BMW, Siemens, and Lufthansa, I noticed that Germany has a greater demand for semi-skilled manufacturing/assembly line positions when compared to the US, where finding a reliable job without a 4-year degree is less accessible. German chocolate (Ritter Sport in particular), changed my perception on chocolate. After trying German chocolate, the thought of eating a Hershey bar makes me nauseous. The Turkish sandwich “Döner kebab” which is popular throughout Germany is a quick, delicious way to get your carbs and protein on the go. Traveling to Germany enhanced my desire to continue my German studies. In any subject, learning out of a textbook may seem tedious. Spending two weeks in Germany allowed me to apply my knowledge of the German language in routine situations and inspired me to continue my German studies.

Colin Campbell


 

Traveling in Germany

I am pleased to have done this trip to Germany. We have been to several well-known Germany buildings like Berlin Wall, Reichstagsgebäude and so on, several famous companies like BMW, Volkswagen, DOW Chemicals, Hexagon and two engineering universities TU Braunschweig and Darmstadt. During the trip, we talked, discussed and laughed “weird things” that we saw in Germany. We also learned a lot on J-term and have new goals before getting bachelor degree. My goals are that I pass fundamental engineering test and study some computer science course. Because most companies hire employees who study not only engineering but also programming and some companies also require that employees can speak another language.

Germany is famous for engineering. Because many good engineering universities and companies are in Germany. In the trip, we visited BMW and saw the whole processes of making I3 and I8. During making I3 and I8, some processes are auto. For example putting Silica gel in door, compressing the interior and exterior door together. Workers in BMW can do at least two different parts processing and change work field every two hours so they don’t get bored. If you can do more parts processing, you will be paid more. BMW chose the best worker to make I8. And I also very enjoyed Hexagon. They can make the best measuring instruments in the world. If you want to work in Hexagon, you should know engineering and programming.

tools LiuLast thing that I want to mention is German daily life. If you want to live or survive in Germany, you should be familiar with public transportation and route. They have u-bahn, s-bahn, train, bus, bicycle and so on. You can go to anywhere with public transportation in Germany. The German public transportation is expensive but that is cheaper than taking private car. Because the gas is expensive in Germany. Sunday is off day. Almost all stores close on Sunday except restaurants. So don’t hope to go shopping or to travel on Sunday in Germany. I don’t know my opinion is correct or not. Every day the breakfast must have bread, cheese, sausage and drink. Probably because I lived in hostels, the breakfast is easy to make and save money for hostel. In today’s Germany, most people can speak fluent English. If you can speak German, you will be fine in Germany. If not, you are ok in Germany. So don’t be nervous and scared to visit German without speaking German.

Yanchen liu


 

Looking back on this study tour, I can truly say that I am glad I went. Although I had been on this study tour two years ago, I had an entirely new, fun experience this time around. I was able to explore two new cities, Leipzig and Frankfurt, and visit many new companies. It was interesting to see former East Germany, where the history is still so evident in little things like the signs on one of the trains being written in German, French, Italian, and Russian. I also loved seeing Germany in the snow, because it made everything look a little more magical. The trip itself also made me more confident in my German skills because I was able to understand a lot more of the conversations that I heard in passing on the trains, as well as most of the Volkswagen Autostadt Tour which was given in German. I am now even more excited to go back to Germany for my year abroad. September can’t come soon enough!

Elizabeth Stevens


 

This being my first time out of the country, I have to admit I was a bit anxious about the trip as I had no idea what to expect.  I obviously knew the activities planned, but I knew little about the types of cultural differences I would find throughout our tour of Germany. To be honest, there were many differences, but many were not as extreme as one would find between two places in the US, it being such a broad and diverse country. I found the hostels to be very interesting as I have never seen anything like them here in America. I was surprised by how nice many of them were, especially the one that we stayed at in Hamburg. They certainly seem to be a great means for traveling throughout Europe without breaking the bank.

As far as the company visits went, I found it very interesting to see the types of work many engineering companies do. Many times as engineering students it is tough for us to envision what exactly we will be working on after graduation, but the tours of the various companies gave me a lot of insight into the available fields for engineers. Also, it was very interesting to see how German theater differs from American, which we saw at the famous Maxim Gorki Theater. We also later visited an opera, which was certainly eye-opening for me. I had never been to one before, let alone one with only German subtitles. In addition, I liked going to see the universities that we may study at, both in Braunschweig and in Darmstadt. I was impressed by the research labs that they had available to students, especially at TU BS. Overall I had a great time on the trip, and I found it to be very informative about the culture and opportunities available in Germany.

Christian DiCecco


 

I have been preparing to live in Germany for the past three years. Before the trip, I had never been to Germany and had only been in Europe for a short time. I did not know much about the culture differences between Germany and the United States and did not really think I would be surprised when I was there. In general, the cultures are very similar, but the little differences are amusing. One’s conduct in public differs between the two countries. In America, it is typical to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the train or to have a laugh with friends. On the U- or S-Bahn in Germany, there is a quieter feel because it is seen as rude to disrupt another person’s commute. It is also not the best idea to walk in the bike lane. In America we have road rage, but the Germans have biker rage; don’t get in their way.
In terms of learning the language, arriving there was a bit stressful. I realized that taking German for five semesters still did not feel like enough to prepare me for living in a German speaking society. This uneasiness soon went away as being fully immersed in a language is the best way to learn. By the end of the trip, I was able to understand most of what was said to me and got so excited that I just answered in english. It will take a bit longer to learn to construct sentences in German with ease, but being there definitely improved my German skills as a whole. IEP and the J-term trip could not have been better choices for me, and I can’t wait to spend a year living in Germany!

Germany was a trip of several firsts for me. This was my first time going to Europe and my first time being away from home for two weeks. Honestly, I was terrified. As the plane landed in Frankfurt, I became a little less nervous. The plane ride was the equivalent to tearing off a Band-Aid. The worst part was already over.

Steve O’Brien


 

Before I came to Germany my nerves and anxiety were starting to build up and make me question if I wanted to go in the fall any more. As the trip went by, I realized Germany was a perfect fit for me. It felt safe and comfortable. I could easily see it becoming my home away from home. Navigating around the city became less stressful every day, and I fell in love with the quaint city of Braunschweig.

After becoming familiar with the city, and growing more familiar with the culture, I have officially started the countdown to being there next fall. The J-term trip has taught me there is so much more to see and experience outside of my comfort zone. Taylor Swift once said “To me ‘fearless’ is living in spite of those things that scare you to death,”. This quote inspired me to push myself outside my comfort zone, and I can honestly say the J-Term trip to Germany has influenced my decision for next year, and changed my life.

Cat Cronin


 

Germany is beautiful. I appreciated this entire trip because it was catered to everything I needed to know and wanted to know about Germany. As an IEP student, I wanted to visit Germany before my year abroad to make sure I actually enjoyed the culture (I do!) and get experience before I’m on my own. As a sophomore, I was worried that I would not know enough German to truly enjoy this trip, but they plan this trip with the intention of first semester students going on it, so there’s no pressure to be fluent. However, I did get to practice my German at restaurants and most of the shops that I went into on my own, and that was definitely a confidence booster!

I’ve never been to Europe and it was just breathtaking to see all these buildings that are older than our own country. Once we got to Hamburg, I saw all the classic architecture that I always picture when I think of Germany, and it was so amazing. I also really enjoyed their public transportation. I love trains. It was so easy to get around and visit, and it was easy for me to get the hang of it all. Once we were at our second city, I felt confident enough in exploring on my own because the S and U-Bahn systems are very easy to navigate. Even though there were not a lot of Civil Engineering companies, it was amazing getting to see other engineering companies just to see the differences between all of them. We attended BMW (my absolute favorite visit!) and were able to see the robots putting the car parts together, and everyone was delighted by it. Germany is also extremely environmentally friendly and visiting the Bundestag (German parliament building) was fascinating just to simply hear about the amazingly cool ecofriendly technology they had in place.

Here are some tips in case you go!

  1. Pack appropriately. I went with the assumption that I would have no time to do laundry, which worked out, but my suitcase was massive. You will have time to do laundry, however it will cost around 8 euros. Pack with the assumption you can do laundry, and therefore pack smaller! I also packed tennis shoes/sneakers but due to all the snow, I never had a chance to use them so they just took up space! Also don’t forget all the warm layers. Laugh if you must, but my long johns and thermal shirts kept me warm while the rest of the group complained about the cold!
  2. Enjoy the free time. I’m not very much into night life, but my trip was enhanced because I would go out with a group of people to the bars and street life. It’s so much more enjoyable because bars are legal for our age group, and all the public transportation makes everything easy to get to! Try and experience all the things Germany has to offer – but don’t overdo it!
  3. Figure out your money beforehand. I was able to go to the Deutsche Bank ATM in the Frankfurt airport which was super easy because I had Bank of America but if you can go to Triple A before you leave and avoid all costs, do that!

Katie Bryan


 

How can one sum up this trip to J-Term in just a couple paragraphs? Quite simply, it cannot be done, but I can highlight some of the key portions of this trip. Germany and its culture are not easily described in a few words but it is something that must be experienced. From the street food called döner to the unique buildings around every corner, Germany and the cities that we visited are extremely unique and reflect the rich history and also the modernization of the country. One of the most well-known parts of German culture is the public transportation system. In Berlin for example, the system is beautiful in its complexity and flawless in its punctuality. This means that if you are just a couple seconds late, the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, or bus will be well on its way. This reflects the fast paced and organized life of the average German and if you need to get somewhere, these modes of transport are the perfect solution and work around the clock. Being a large group of Americans, we were a little culture shocked by this and had to be encouraged by our lovely chaperones to all get on and off the trains and buses as fast as possible, with only a few hiccups along the way.

As we progressed through these two weeks, in every place we visited, and with every day that passed, we were presented with a wealth of new information about the cities and companies associated with Germany. This was either done through beautiful city tours led by very helpful and informative tour guides, through museum visits that were either self-led or guided, or by visiting many different companies with well done and lengthy presentations about what they do and how we are, and can be, involved with them. These things, all working in unison served to spark my curiosity about the country we visited and I assume others would feel the same and I cannot wait to return for my year abroad to absorb even more information, adventure, and experiences to last a life time.

Thomas Vaughan


 

To sum it up in one sentence: I’m so glad I went on this j-term trip to Germany.

Having never been to Germany before, I didn’t really know what to expect from this trip. Indeed, in a manner of speaking, I wasn’t really expecting anything – I was open to just about any new experiences headed my way. And they were indeed headed my way – in abundance. Everything we did in Germany – from seeing Common Ground at the Gorki Theater, to touring Hexagon Metrology, even just to going out with a group of friends for some drinks – took on a sort of magical quality in my mind because of the novelty of the place in which we were doing it. Perhaps I romanticize too much, though.

In many regards I feel this trip was important for me. First off, for improving my German – although I was already at a relatively high level in German courses at URI before going on this trip, I still lacked confidence in my speaking ability, and this trip gave me the opportunity to try the waters in that area and gain confidence – even if it was for something as menial as ordering currywurst in Berlin (I might pause here to inform everyone that currywurst, by the way, is delicious). In addition, being an IEP student intending on studying and interning in Germany, it was quite helpful to get a glimpse into various engineering firms and get a feel for what I will hopefully be doing two years from now. But, if I might reiterate, it was really the whole of the experience that I enjoyed – and I’m already looking forward to being back in Germany so I can enjoy it in a new light.

Mitchell Golde


 

Over the course of my life I have been on several study tours. Three have been in Italy, one in Spain, and one in Portugal. Because of these experiences, I feel confident in saying that this study tour was wholly excellent. I believe that striking a balance between education, culture, and free time is very difficult. But it was clear that a great deal of thought had gone into creating a balanced schedule that really made the trip exceptional.
I don’t really have any suggestions. Maybe like, later mornings. But that’s just me. And I think even that would take away from some of the cool stuff we were able to do.
I was pretty nervous about going to Germany this fall, but after the study tour I feel like I’ve really made all the correct choices up to this point. The study tour gave me a great introduction to Germany, and I found nothing lacking.

Luke Lasorsa


 

After enjoying a nice Texas french toast breakfast this morning and reflecting on the trip to Germany, I can finally conclude that Americans do breakfast better than the Germans. As great as the Brötchen is, by the fourth consecutive day, bread rolls, cheeses, and deli meats get lame. The rest of the food, however, was phenomenal. The Germans supplement their diets with a lot of pork due to the sad absence of red meat and beef, but when the pork is so good it almost doesn’t matter. From pork knuckle to schnitzel to the best sausages (and currywurst) on the planet, their is always a good option for protein at lunch and dinner. And the prices only make the meal that much more satisfying, as one can easily eat for 4 euros at lunch and 10 euros at dinner.

The culture of the people is perhaps the most interesting takeaway from the trip for me. It is stunning to see an entire country of people with so little patriotism, and a guide of ours at the Bundestag Gebäude (Parliament Building) gave the impression that they simply cannot forgive themselves for the atrocities of the second World War. On trains, everyone is silent and avoids eye contact at all costs, making us easily the stand out as a large American tourist group. I don’t wish to give the impression that they are not friendly or helpful, as they were all displayed incredibly hospitality. The businesses all greeted us with gifts, coffee, and snacks, and the people in shops were very patient with my bad German.

The language immersion and company visits were distinctly beneficial to my future in the IEP program as a mechanical engineer. I learned plenty of small phrases of words on the trip, including and not limited to: süß (cute), wie peinlich (how embarrassing), and mein Gesicht ist kalt (my face is cold). The trip was a great way to deep my feet in the water and find out that it’s actually pretty warm. After the trip, I am much more comfortable with the prospect of going abroad for a year, and strongly recommend the trip to everyone in the international programs at URI. I eagerly await the learning I’ll do abroad and the experiences I’ll have. Die Reise hat mir geholfen, zu entscheiden, welche Universität in Deutschland zu gehen. Ich denke, dass die Reise ist sehr wichtig für Studenten. It opened my eyes to intern and research opportunities and made me further excited to be involved in the German IEP program.

Zachary Iwuc


 

The Germany J-Term was an amazing experience. The opportunity to visit five different cities in Germany over the course of only two weeks is something that doesn’t come by very often, and I would do it again if I could!

I have already been to Germany, so I wasn’t on the tour to see the country, but it was amazing to watch everyone else discover the little differences, and learn some German lingo. By the end of the trip, I could speak full sentences in German to even 101 students, and they knew what I was saying. Even two weeks immersed in a language and culture can make a difference.

Since I had already done many “touristy” things in Germany, I was definitely focused on the company visits. As an International Business student going abroad next year, I was excited to see the places I was applying to work at, and found all of the tours very interesting, even if they were heavily engineering based. I would have appreciated it if we were introduced as an Engineering and Business study tour, as most companies didn’t know there were business students in the presentations until we made ourselves known. Overall, it was very eye-opening, and in some places unbelievable what companies can do. I personally really enjoyed Siemens, Lufthansa, and BMW, and will be looking to apply for positions there in the fall.

Even with a grueling schedule and being on the go every day, you see and learn so much, and I think the Germany J-Term is well worth it. I can’t wait to start my year there in September, and am glad I have seen some of the places I will be headed.

Kayla Lombardi


 

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