Monthly Archive for May, 2012

Europe Day 14 – Lucerne to Geneva

submitted by Bree Surges

The group woke up this morning cheery and excited to have another opportunity to explore Switzerland. After an hour bus ride, we arrived in Lucerne and bought our tickets to the Swiss Museum of Transport. The museum was packed with a large variety of automobiles, trains, planes and much more. This museum wasn’t a typical museum; it was filled with interactive games, interesting facts, video clips, and other fun activities. Some of us got the chance to test drive vehicles, while others rode Segways around a designated area.

After the Museum of Transport, we had an hour of free time to travel around Lucerne. One of our favorite things we saw was the Chapel Bridge. For a little background information, the Chapel Bridge is said to be one of the oldest wood bridges in Europe. The bridge was originally built as a protection for the city during the 14th century. In 1993, the bridge burned down and was later rebuilt. As we walked through the bridge, we were able to see about a hundred pictures of the 12th century city life and Swiss history. Flowers were planted around edges of the bridge and made the area even lovelier. The bridge was gorgeous and the area around the bridge was picturesque.

Jake, Taylor, Craig, Bree and Mark standing in front of the Chapel Bridge.

After exploring the area, we hopped on a tour boat that traveled around the lake. The view from the boat was fantastic. Snow-covered mountains surrounded the beautiful water. At the same time, colorful, unique houses were scattered on the shoreline.

The outstanding view from out boat tour.

Later that night, we traveled for about four hours to the city of Geneva. We got the chance to see amazing Swiss countryside and a beautiful sunset unfold before us as we traveled the Swiss highways. We arrived at Hotel Eden and found it to be among the most hospitable of all our stays. As a bonus, many of us found we had private rooms and baths. We looked forward to a good night’s rest for the next day.

Beautiful view on our drive to Geneva

Europe Day 13 – Swiss Countryside

submitted by Taylor Roth

Our second day in Switzerland started promptly at 7:45 a.m. with an hour and 45 minute bus ride to mountain Hoher Kasten. The Appenzell Alps overlooks the Rhine in Eastern Switzerland. We took a cable railway from Brulisau all the way to the top of the mountain. The entrance of the cable car read, “Die Mobiliar.” Not very welcoming to those who had a fear of heights! The top of the mountain was graced with the most beautiful scenery and its famous restaurant. We were able to explore the Alps and take many unforgettable photos. The air was so clean and brisk with extraordinary views anywhere we looked. We managed to do some minor hiking to get to different places on the mountain for even more photos.

Our next destination was Rapperswil, Switzerland that is located on the eastern shore of Lake Zurich. We were able to enjoy free time to see the medieval Castle of Rapperswil. Since 1870, the castle has been home to the Polish National Museum. A majority of our group decided to try a sandwich called Döner Kebab, which consists of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or mixed meats roasted. The sandwich was as big as our heads and everyone seemed to be a big fan.

Fresh water in large fountains can be found frequently throughout Switzerland. People are able to fill up water bottles directly from the fountain with fresh water. This is definitely a step up compared to the typical water fountain or “bubbler” we find in America.

We continued our day with a visit to one of the famous Swiss Lindt & Sprungli shops in Altendorf, Switzerland. Lindt & Sprungli is recognized as the leader in the market for premium quality chocolate, offering a large selection of products in more than 100 countries around the world. The chocolate selections were endless from tiramisu chocolate to pistachio chocolate. Almost everyone walked out with a bag of goodies for friends and family back home.

After everyone indulged in chocolate, we visited Appenzeller Schaukaserei in Stein, Switzerland. Appenzeller Schaukaserei is known for its spiciest Swiss cheeses. About 9,000 tons of Appenzeller cheese is produced each year! We learned about the production process of the cheeses and how the cheese acquires its zesty flavors. The three main types of cheese include Classic, Surchoix and Extra. The differences are due to different degrees of ripeness and longer storage producing a more spicy taste. We also learned that Appenzeller cheese is made and ripened with 1,100 farms, 65 cheese dairies and 8 cheese-mongers. Almost 2/3 of production is exported to the European region and 3% of the Appenzeller cheese is enjoyed by areas ranging from America to the Far East.

After the tour and a short informative video, we were able to try whey, which is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. Whey contains lactose, vitamins, protein, and minerals, along with traces of omega 3 fatty acids. e were also able to try cheese that was freshly off the press and had not matured or flavored. The texture was squishy and had a squeaky, bland taste to it. It was definitely an experience to try it. Afterwards, we were able to try all the different kinds of Appenzeller cheese. The Appenzeller Surchoix cheese seemed to be a popular choice among the group with its rich spicy flavor. Luckily despite many questions about refrigeration and U.S. customs, some of the group were able to purchase cheese which we hope to share back home.

After a fun-filled, action-packed day, some of the group explored the nightlife of Zurich.

Europe Day 12 – Zurich

submitted by Mara Geurts

After a bittersweet goodbye, we left Heidelberg, Germany early this morning and by the afternoon we had arrived in Switzerland. The bus ride was beautiful with the Swiss Alps as the backdrop to some quaint little villages spotting the countryside. Shortly after entering Switzerland, we arrived in Zürich where we checked into our rooms at the Xtra Hotel and then set off on our adventures for the day. The first mission was to obtain the local currency, the Swiss Franc. To my surprise, most businesses in Switzerland will accept the Euro as well as the Swiss Franc as payment.

The next stop was the old town where we visited one of the cathedrals in Zürich. Grossmunster Cathedral was unique because of its modern stained glass windows. One in particular, “The Scapegoat”, caught my attention because of its strange design. After reading about the window art further, I found that it actually symbolized a very traditional Christian belief. All of the windows had a story to tell and they did so in a very unique and sometimes puzzling fashion.

A short walk away was Zürichsee Lake where the group soaked up some sun and took a relaxing stroll. The combination of crystal clear water, sailboats, and homes planted among the mountain tops made me appreciate the true natural beauty of Switzerland. Something I found very fascinating was the fact public transportation includes boat rides across the lake. Because of this, the lake serves an important purpose in the local economy.

Also important to the Swiss economy is the famous financial district (also known as Paradeplatz) and the high fashion shops on Bahnhofstrasse. Two of the most famous banks we saw in Zürich were UBS and Credit Suisse.

After having a glimpse at the banks, we “window shopped” at stores including Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Prada, and Burberry. Our tour guide explained that Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most expensive streets in the world.

Overall, this was an impressive way to start off our tour of Switzerland. I would love it if one day I could come back to Zürich and afford to do more than peer through those windows.

Europe Day 11 – Mannheim-Heidelberg

submitted by Craig Jones and Mark Nordwig

Today we took a day trip to Mannheim to visit the Mercedes-Benz city and coach bus factory. This is very fitting because in 1886 in Mannheim, Carl Benz created the first gasoline-powered vehicle, in other words the first car. The plant we visited, dating from 1908, manufactures around 2,000 buses per year, as well as approximately 193,000 engines per year. Our tour guide, Hans, a retired engineer from the plant, explained the processes that turn a bunch of steel rods and sheets into a Mercedes-Benz bus just like the one we took to Mannheim. The process is extremely labor intensive as all the welding is done by hand. There is only one automated line in the plant and that only made components. There were several differences in the work structure of the German factory compared to factories in the U.S. The Germans worked in teams of around 10 people, and they are not paid hourly. Instead, they are paid based on their team’s total production. In addition to that, teams are given much more decision-making power, such as replacing people out sick or not replacing them.

After the tour, we ate at the plant cafeteria. This was not your average cafeteria food. Our line included soup, salad, meat, vegetables, and potatoes. Another line included similar dishes but of a vegetarian variety. All of the food we ate was very delicious.

After eating lunch, we were given free time to explore the city of Heidelberg some more. Some of us chose to do laundry, but some of us wanted to go to the Konigstuhl or, in English, the King’s Throne. This was an overlook at the top of the hill that the castle was located on. From this view we could see the entire old town of Heidelberg, which dates to the 1600’s after it was rebuilt following the French invasion. The French left, practicing a scorched earth policy, leaving only a few original buildings standing. This truly was an amazing view.

After leaving the Konigstuhl, a group of us walked down to a park along the opposite bank of the Neckar River. From here we were able to take a picture, which we all described as something you would make into a post card. In this park there were many people sketching and painting the same scene. As we sat and relaxed, the sun started to set. Suddenly, they lit up the castle, the bridge, and all of the cathedrals making the scene even more spectacular. Afterwards, we all returned to the Hotel for a good night’s sleep before leaving for Zurich.

Europe Day 10 – Heidelberg

submitted by Amy Griedl, Tyra McFarland, and Yuri Burrows

Our day started with a trip to the Heidelberg Castle. After a steep climb up a hill, the entry welcomes one with a set of horizontally placed gun emplacements. The gun holes face a hill an enemy would have to climb before getting to the castle. Upon entry into the court, there is an overwhelming, spectacular view of the living quarters and adjacent buildings. They are decorated with facades from the construction of the masons starting in the sixteenth century through the present day maintenance crews. We walked through the three levels in which the king’s family live. The designs on the doors and windows were amazing and very detailed. Lastly on the tour we viewed the wine vault. This is where they stored enough wine to host parties of over 400 guests in the banquet hall. Overall, the castle was an experience of a lifetime!

Our group then ventured up Konigstahl Mountain to get a picturesque view of Heidelberg from Princess Elizabeth’s garden. According to our tour guide from the castle tour, Princess Elizabeth found her view of the cannons which protected her new castle home to be quite displeasing. After some complaint she was granted a beautiful garden to look out on, which today looks much more like a park than a garden. While we’re sure in its day, the garden was stunning, it could not have been more stunning than our view of the city. With the ruins of a centuries old castle on our left, tress and vineyard covered mountains on the right and the colorful architecture of Heidelberg nestled in between, we could have stood in amazement for days. Once we pried ourselves away from the spectacular Heidelberg panorama, some of the group set out for the top of Konigsstahl, or “King’s Chair” Mountain.

Though we’d like to impress you with a story of a valiant climb to the top, we must admit that we took a tram. The incline to the top was 40% and the tram was built in a stair step fashion to accommodate the steep incline. Once we arrived, the view took our breath away.

We were 249.8 meters above sea level and there is no way any photo could do the view justice. We then set off to enjoy a nature trail filled with beautiful sculpture, art and wild life. Our 2 kilometer walk ended with a visit to a park under a covered shelter area that we thankfully found just before the rain began to pour down. We sat and enjoyed each other’s company atop a mountain in Germany while the rain poured but the sun still shining bright. How much better could it get?

In the evening we all met for dinner at a place called Schnookelock. Our meal was amazing and made even better by good conversation and a live pianist who entertained us with some good American classics. The waiter brought 3 huge platters covered with bratwurst, pork roast and schnitzel. Then came bowls of potatoes, dumpling noodles and sour kraut. Everyone laughed and chatted together and enjoyed their meal. Some headed back to the hotel, some stayed at the restaurant and some found other places to explore, but we all ended our night on a high note!

During our stay in Heidelberg we quickly came to realize how friendly and polite people are in this town of roughly 150,000 people. Today, when we ran to the bus station but still missed the bus we meant to take (number 32), an incredibly friendly pensioner asked us where we were headed. We told him we were on the way to Bismarckplatz and he was quick to tell us that the next train (number 5) would get us there in a matter of a few minutes. Since the sign at the train station said we had 7 minutes until out train would arrive, the friendly retiree shared with us his adventures in the United States in the late 70th, “during President Carter’s time”.

There are many more example of encounters with locals like the one with the friendly old man. A lot of them occur on trains and buses which we have been taking to get to a number of destinations around Heidelberg. Bismarckplatz is our most common destination, as it leads to Altstadt. Altstadt is a busy shopping area that’s packed with centuries’ old architecture, incredible facades, clothing stores, restaurants, and pubs. It’s hard to imagine that this area has been in place since the 1200’s and had withstood the “scorched earth” retreat of the French troops from the Germans in the 1693.

Europe Day 9 – Council of Europe and Culture in Strasbourg

submitted by  Callie Prothero

Early this morning, we departed on our two-hour journey to Strasbourg, France. Our agenda today consisted of the Council of Europe and immersing ourselves in the French culture. At the Council of Europe, we learned the distinction between the Council of Europe (47 countries) and the European Union (with only 27 participating countries.)  After a brief tour of the debating chamber, we listened to a presentation on the role of the  Council of Europe. While the European Union is primarily an economic union, the Council of Europe is concerned with furthering human rights among the 47-European members. We also learned that the flag of the Council of Europe is based on the number 12 (12 stars) as this has historically been perceived as “the perfect number.”  The number 12  is at the core of the building’s architecture with twelve beams at the center of the large meeting room.

After our visit to the Council of Europe, we ventured into downtown Strasbourg to immerse ourselves in the French culture. Because this was our only day in France, we wanted to experience as much as we could quickly. Some students ventured to the cathedral in downtown Strasbourg. They climbed the stairs to the top, and discovered a beautiful view of Strasbourg.

Other students spent their time walking around and experiencing the culture from a street view. They dined at French restaurants, and tried some French pastries. The downtown is filled with small restaurants and shops.

At the end of the night, we headed back to Heidelberg, Germany, where students went out to experience the night life. We spent the night enjoying ourselves and bonding as a group.

Europe Day 7 – Hamburg

submitted by Jake Gross and Kate Thompson

After a successful day of traveling in Cloppenburg and Bremen we were ready for another day of adventure. We were off to explore Hamburg. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany after Berlin, and the least densely million-person metropolis in the world. It is also known for being Germany’s largest port and one of the 10 largest ports in the world. One important tourist destination in Hamburg is St. Michaelis Kirche built in 1649. St. Michaelis is one of the most ornate protestant churches and allows tourists to climb to the top of the bell tower to see a panoramic view of the city.

We began our day with another extraordinary breakfast at the hotel where we enjoyed a magnificent meal and practiced a few German phrases we thought we had mastered. After breakfast, we made our way to the train station to get on our first train of the day. During our first transfer, we met a young lady named Daniella, who was very willing to answer any questions that we had about life in Germany.

One of the main questions that we had for Danielle was concerning the standoffish demeanor of most of the Germans that we had encountered. She explained that Germans do not often show their emotions, which leads Americans to perceive them as reserved and sometimes rude. Danielle also gave us some tips on food to try and places to visit with our free time in Hamburg. She also spoke very highly about the United States and told us that she spent time in Florida on a study abroad trip. As it turns out, Danielle is looking for another study abroad opportunity so we gave her our contact information and hope she’ll consider exploring UW Oshkosh for her final semester abroad. The time passed quickly talking to Danielle and before we knew it we had arrived in Hamburg and had to part ways.

Upon arriving at the train station everyone grabbed a quick lunch and then boarded a hop-on hop-off double decker bus for our tour of the city. The bus took us by all of the essential stops in Hamburg allowing us to see as much as possible with our limited time in the city.

We learned many interesting details about Hamburg and the changes that the city has seen during its over 1000 years of history. For example, the downtown was heavily bombarded during WWII, so many of the building were constructed after the war, but many redbrick historic 19-century warehouses, city mansions, and historic landmarks have been restored and now house banks, insurance companies and other big businesses. To have the full Hamburg experience it was essential to cruise Germany’s “ Gateway to the World.”

As our bus tour made a stop to pick up more tourists near the water we decided to hop-off and take a boat tour of the port. As a group of over 25 Americans entered the boat, we realized that the English tour ship had sailed, and our tour would only be conducted in German. However, we were okay as we had our own personal encyclopedia, Craig Jones, who gave us a custom tour of the port and taught us many interesting facts about ocean cargo ships. Although it was a Sunday, the port was alive with recreational and commercial activity. While on our tour, we learned that the Port of Hamburg employs roughly 160,000 people to handle and transport the approximately 10 million cargo containers that travel through the port each year. We were astounded by the size of the port, the commercial cargo ships, and the Queen Mary II. The sophistication of the equipment to load and unload cargo from the ships leads one to think of a futuristic movie setting.

After docking and disembarking from the boat tour some students traveled back to the St. Michealis and St. Nikolai cathedrals to explore the interior and climb to the top of the bell towers. Others headed toward the Rathaus to get a closer view of the architecture and enjoy dinner at an outdoor café on the water. After a beautiful day in Hamburg we met as a group at the train station and began our trip back at for our last night in Osnabrueck. While our time in Hamburg was brief, we enjoyed our stay and hope to visit again.

Internship Spotlight: Leah Watson, CARE

Leah Watson, CARE Intern, (Far Right)

CARE’s Background

 CARE is an organization dedicated to raising awareness of how to have healthy relationships in a college setting and beyond. This means educating students about what abuse looks like, counseling survivors of abuse and working towards the eradication of the culture which allows this abuse to flourish.

A SWOT analysis for CARE will not look like a traditional for-profit SWOT because it doesn’t exist to make a profit. The strengths of CARE include the passion of the people who work there. It is unlikely a person would choose to work in a counseling center or a relationship education center if he or she didn’t deeply care about social justice, and this holds true with the interns and employees there. Other strengths include a student body that is willing to listen, as shown by the high turnout rates at our events as compared to similar events on other UW campuses.

CARE’s biggest weakness as an organization is that it does not always know what to do with its momentum. While it can fill seats for an event, often students forget or are unaware in the first place that we exist because CARE doesn’t leverage success when it gets it.

The opportunities such an organization has are many, and revolve around the mission outlined above. It has the opportunity to change a society, starting with students here at UW-Oshkosh by educating them about healthy relationships.

The threats are more nebulous: with a mission statement as lofty as “changing society,” the people who benefit from society as it exists currently do not like to see such a thing happen. CARE itself can be threatened by a lack of funding, which is always a possibility when budgets are being cut for programs that seem unnecessary.

My Experience

Leah Watson, CARE Intern (Right)

 As one of two social media interns, my job is to keep the Facebook and Twitter pages updated with relevant posts about upcoming events and newsworthy happenings, such as Jaclyn Friedman coming to campus to speak. I also took the initiative to create a Tumblr page for CARE (at, which contains posts about healthy relationships, healthy sex and resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

This internship requires its interns to be very self-motivated; the vast majority of work takes place on your own time and will be either posted directly to one of CARE’s social media platforms, or submitted to your supervisor for perusal. A typical day for me involves trawling news websites for relevant events I can post about, reading a bit of one of the books our supervisor assigns us each week and planning for the final project, which involves tying in what I learned in my internship to my major.

Advice for Future Interns

Your boss is your best underutilized resource; don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you feel you’re under qualified, don’t! Your boss knew that he or she was hiring an intern and that many of your skills would come to you as a result of the internship.

If you have the chance, hold out for an internship that involves something you’re passionate about. The old saying “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is absolutely true. So if healthy relationships are important to you, why not stop by CARE?

Europe Day 8 – Osnabruck – Cologne – Heidelberg

submitted by Megan Van Groll and Sam Buschman

Today was primarily a travel day. We started with a delicious continental breakfast at the Remarque Hotel in Osnabruck. We then loaded our things onto a luxurious Mercedes Benz coach bus and started our three-hour journey to Cologne.

The main attraction in Cologne was the Kölner Dom Cathedral. This beautiful Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and has been Cologne’s most famous landmark for centuries, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day. Photos cannot do this cathedral justice – mostly because it is impossible to fit the entire cathedral into one shot! The cavernous ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows were a complete contrast with the seemingly dirty exterior. While we were there, a mass was starting so we got to hear the organ echoing through the cathedral.

After the group visited the Cathedral, we went our separate ways for a few hours. Our group enjoyed the shopping and dining Cologne has to offer. Many of the stores were unique to Europe, but shared similarities to stores in the United States. An example included Forever 18, which is comparable to Forever 21 in the United States. There were a lot of different options for shopping and eating, which made for a very eventful day.

Our group ate at a small café called Cappu Vino, which offered Italian cuisine. It was reasonably priced and delicious like many of the small cafés located in Germany. Others walked along the river and stopped for a meal there. We gathered on the steps outside the cathedral for one last photo before leaving the city.

Europe Day 6 – Cloppenburg and Bremen

Submitted by Luke Engel

The day started out with our first experience on local trains. Within an hour, we were in Cloppenburg, Germany, home to one of the oldest and largest open-air museums in Germany. As luck would have it, the museum was hosting an art festival, Das Blumenfest, so we wound our way around the displays situated within the clustering of 50 plus buildings from the 1700’s. Among the attractions were numerous food tents and shops with clothing, trinkets, soap, and most importantly food (fresh cheese and bread, German pastries and sausages and the like). Luke made a decision to go with the fresh strawberry, waffle, and ice cream and was not disappointed.

The festival was full of historic components including wheat grinders, windmills, and farm equipment.

It was interesting to see the ingenuity and resourcefulness that people used in construction over 350 years ago. We learned that it was common for Germans to have “sleep closets” which were literally long closets, big enough to house a single bed. During the day they could close the closet doors to hide the beds. A very efficient use of space!

From Cloppenburg we proceeded via train to Bremen. There we gathered in the town centre which is composed of several impressive buildings, monuments, and statues. We stopped at the 600 year-old town hall for photos and touched the famous Bremen musicians statue for good luck. You may remember the story of the town musicians of Bremen in which a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster, cast out due to age, set out to find a new life together and handily takeover a theives’ den.

Many took this opportunity to enjoy some authentic German fare and enjoy shopping in Bremen’s lively downtown. The evening concluded with an uneventful train ride from Bremen to Osnabruck, returning around 11 p.m. Local time.

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