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What We Learned in Fulda, Germany

It is time to say goodbye, the time to depart is drawing nye. From New Years Eve, to our classmate from Kiev. Our trip to Berlin was first class, to learning to drink from an upside down glass. We ate till we were full, with good food from Seoul. Now we thank each of you, while we were here at Fulda U. And as we depart, you will still be in our heart.

-Professor Mark Manske

After spending fourteen days in Germany with over twenty students from six different countries we learned a lot to say the least. Just to show how much we did take away from this trip, we wanted to make a little list. Here it goes.

1. We gained insights from international students

2. The importance of reconizing other cultures in a business setting

3. There are really no set speed limits in Germany

4. We got to become friends with people that we might not normally have the chance to get to know

5. One of the international students in our class, Roshanak, gave us a deeper understanding of her culture in Iran one day in class. Hearing firsthand about such a significantly different country was a once in a lifetime experience.

6. The MBA students in our class shared their current and past work experience

7. We were surprised by some of the similarities between German culture/land and some areas of the United States

8. Water costs money in Germany and is usually carbonated

9. We need to appreciate our freedom. The Dialog museum taught us this.

10. The buildings in Germany are somewhat new because everything got destroyed during World War II

 

Week Two in Fulda

Tour of the Stadtschloss City Palace

On Tuesday night the group took a tour of the Stadtschloss City Palace in Fulda. Before the tour we had a reception and speech by the mayor. After the speech we had about a one hour guided tour of the preserved area of the castle which was amazing.

Day Trip to Frankfurt

Class was done early on Wednesday to allow us to catch a train to Frankfurt. Traveling there only took about an hour and a half. Upon arrival the group was given roughly two hours of free time. Some went shopping while others got snacks.

When we all met back up near 3 p.m. we took a short trolley ride to the Dialog Museum. Unlike any other type of museum, the Dialog lets guests experience what it would be like to be completely blind. The museum has a series of about six completely dark rooms. Groups of five people at a time are taken through the different rooms by a guide who also cannot see in the darkness. The first room felt like a forest, the second was a music room and the third was a boat ride. After that we got to play soccer in the dark and then got to see what it would be like to walk in a city blind. Lastly, we had to order and pay at a restaurant in the complete blackness. This tour was unreal and it really gave us a new perspective and something to be thankful for.

International Cooking Class

Thursday night was another cooking class. This time instead of making German dishes we got to make dishes from all around the world. Before coming to Germany each of us was contacted by Gesa, the trip coordinator. She asked that we send one of our favorite recipes. Many of the recipes were picked and we got to make foods from America, South Korea, Mexico and the Ukraine. Each group of three to five people was responsible for making one dish. The person who submitted the recipe got to lead their group. After cooking for about two hours we all got to enjoy the food once again.

Closing Party

Tonight (Friday) was the closing party for the winter international study session. We had to get dressed up to attend a speech by the president of Hochschule University as well as the dean of the business school. After the speeches each student who participated received a signed certificate. Dinner was then served and while we ate we got to watch a picture slideshow from the entire time that we’ve been in Germany which was really neat. When dinner ended our group took about a million pictures with everyone to get some last memories before we depart tomorrow.

The group outside the castle

The room of mirrors in the castle

Outside the Dialog Museum

The Euro sign in the middle of Frankfurt, near the Commerz Bank headquarters

The baked macaroni and cheese group

Preparing the soup from Ukraine

Preparing the Mexican dish

Posing with the EU, German, Mexican and American flags

Presenting the gifts to the trip coordinator, Gesa

Professor Manske reading his poem about our trip

Weekend in Berlin

Traveling to Berlin

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be able to visit Berlin for the weekend. As the capital of Germany, Berlin is home to over 3.45 million people and is filled with exciting things to see. Our journey started Friday morning (12/6) at around 8 a.m. We met at the Fulda train station and boarded the ICE (high speed train). It took about three and half hours to get there. After arriving in the city we had to take the Berlin S-Bahn as well as the Berlin U-Bahn to get to the Meininger City Hostel, where we would be staying for the weekend. Each room had it’s own bathroom and would hold four of us. We would get a complimentary breakfast and also be able to spend time in the coffee shop on the main floor.

Tour of the City

After getting settled in our hostel, we went on a guided walking tour of the city that lasted about two hours. It was very beneficial to be able to see all of the amazing sites as well as get a feel for the layout of Berlin. On the tour we visited where the Berlin wall used to be, the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenberg Gate, the Reichstag and Museum Island.

After the tour the entire group went out to dinner at an italian restaurant. Typically we have to search for restaurants that are pretty large so that they can accommodate all 23 of us. The group ordered pizza, pasta, bread and wine. It was delicious and everyone had a great time.

Day to Explore on Our Own

On Saturday we were able to spend the entire day doing whatever we wanted. We split up into smaller groups of about 5-7. Some decided to explore the shops around Berlin while others visited the many museums that the city has to offer.

Saturday night several of us had the opportunity to visit a bar called The Berliner Republik. This bar is extremely unique because beer and drink prices are determined by “the market”, or those ordering. Whenever more people started to order a specific drink or type of beer the price of it would rise. If not many people ordered a type of drink then the price would fall. Every few minutes the current price would refresh on television screens around the bar so that prices were known. The bar was definitely something different for all of us to try.

Tour of the Reichstag

Early Sunday morning, around 8 a.m., we all packed up our things and checked out of the hostel. Then we headed to the Reichstag (German parliament) where we had a 9 a.m. reserved tour. Everyone had to have their passports prepared to show security. After making it through the checks we met with the tour guide. He showed us through the parliament building and explained how parts of German history were incorporated into many aspects of the architecture. After the hour tour we got to go to the very top of the Reichstag to view the dome. The dome allowed us to see a 360 degree view of the entire city which was beautiful.

When the tour was complete the group went out for lunch. Then, we went back to the hostel to pick up our luggage and get ready to board the 2 p.m. train back to Fulda. Another three hour train ride got us safely back to the Fulda train station.

The train station when we arrived in Berlin

Our tour guide along with the some of the guys who were listening closely

A piece of the Berlin Wall

Riding the U-Bahn

The stock (drink) prices at the Berliner Republik

Some of the girls posing for a picture in the dome of the Reichstag (German parliament)

 

The First Week in Fulda

Hochschule Fulda: University of Applied Sciences

Last Monday morning we started our classes at Hochschule Fulda. The university campus is about a twenty minute walk or ten minute bus ride away from our hotel. Each day class starts at 8:30 a.m. The first session, taught by Professor Manske, goes until noon and centers around the cultures of the different students attending our class. We had students from Iran, Ukraine, Germany, Mexico and South Korea. It was a unique experience that many of the American students have never had.

After lunch at the university cafeteria, which is affordable and delicious, we have German class until 4 p.m. During this session we learn basic language words and phrases as well as the culture. We are split up into a more advanced class as well as a a beginners class. Last week the advanced class was able to take a field trip to a local beer market and a cafe to practice speaking German. The beginners class will be doing the same thing in the coming week. Overall, the first week of class was a success.

Salsa Dancing

Almost every night we have a planned activity so that we stay entertained. The activities are scheduled by our host university, Hochschule of Fulda. On Monday night we had a salsa dancing lesson. This would be the first of two and we had a great time. It lasted around two hours and took place on campus. The group had a bunch of laughs and will be able to use the moves after one more lesson at a local salsa club.

Cooking Lesson

On Tuesday night we got to experience the German style of cooking. Our group of about 25 was split up into smaller groups of five. We then got the recipes for three different dishes. They included schnitzel (breaded turkey or pork), flammkuchen (type of German pizza) and a Frankfurt green sauce with potatoes. Each student got to keep a copy of the German recipes to make at home. The dishes took about an hour to cook and then we got to taste our work. Everyone seemed to really enjoy eating what they had created.

Tour of Saint Boniface Cathedral

After class on Wednesday we got an hour long tour of the Saint Boniface Cathedral. It was beautiful and we learned how it fit in with Fulda history. Over 1,000 people can attend mass at the Cathedral each week.

Cannes Lions Film Festival
Thursday evening called for the group to dress up and attend the Cannes Lions Film Festival at the university. This event was put on by the business program and was a showing of the award winning Cannes Festival commercials. Commercials were mostly shown in English but were from several various countries. Drinks and appetizers were available during the two intermissions. During this time there was also a live band. Even though there were hundreds of students and faculty at the event, students from our group managed to win two out of the three prizes that were given out.

Building that we attend class in at the University of Hochschule, Fulda

Students hard at work preparing their German meal

Schnitzel and potatoes with a Frankfurt green sauce

Saint Boniface Cathedral

Alex and Nick showing off the prizes that they won at the Cannes Lions Film Festival

The entire group posing for a picture at the Cannes Lions Film Festival

 

 

Students on the Germany Study Tour

Students that are studying in Germany during January 2011 will be posting about their experiences frequently. They are traveling right now and will post once they get settled in Fulda, Germany.

Please check back.

Point Alpha

Today after class we took about a 40 minute bus ride to see Point Alpha. Point Alpha was an American post on the border between East and West Germany. It was established during the cold War as it was the point at which the Soviets would likely invade West Germany. It would have taken them less than an hour to get to Frankfurt!

This is the American observation tower.


The view from the observation tower, showing how close an East German town was. Residence in these border towns was heavily restricted.

The observation tower, from the former East German side. You can see how close it is. Notice the fence; it is not actually at the border but about 30 yards within the former East Germany. Sometimes people would get over the fence but not realize they were still in East Germany and get shot. The Americans could see them, but could not shout to them to get up and run.

A model showing the different East German Fence lines.

The students listening to a presentation in the former recreation hall. About 40 men would be stationed here at one time, with 4-6 weeks tours before going back to the main base in Fulda.

St Boniface


As I may have mentioned, the area in and around Fulda was founded by St. Boniface and his followers in the early-mid 700’s. Many reminders of him remain. This is the Dome Church where his remains are.

One of the many small sub-chapels within the church. This one is dedicated to Mary.

The altar below which the relics of St. Boniface are buried. I cannot describe the feeling being so close to a saint. A good friend of my wife and I passed away recently, so I lit a candle in her memory here.

All along the sides of the main chapel are beautiful works of art like this.

One of the figures in a large sculpture within the church.

Sights of Fulda

The Orangerie fulda, directly across from the palace.

One of the many churches in Fulda. It seems on every other corner there is a church, each very ornate. This was the "common folk" church.

A statue on the side of a building. Many buildings have statues of religious figures on them.

The meat market.

The entrance to the palace.

Back from Berlin

We are all back in Fulda! The students are taking an exam, and all have happy looks on their faces.

Yesterday in Berlin we went to the Berlin Aquarium. It was spectacular. Here are some pictures:

The aquarium has a walk-through crocodile exhibit. This is a large Nile crocodile.

This is a unique exhibit–ants. They had several species, this one was on a tree—others had tubes along the ceiling.


The Reichstag

Saturday evening we went and toured the Reichstag, the German capital building. It is primarily the building for the Budestag, one house of the the German congress. Our host were able to arrange a tour for us with a very good guide. Here are some pictures along wiht some text.

The room where the Budestat meets. Next week is their budget approval process!


The symbol of the Reichstag…

These are signatures and other information from Soviet soldiers who took the Reichstag back from Nazi hands in 1945. These had been covered up with some remodeling work in the 1960’s and forgotten, but were found during some renovations in the 1990’s.

The Brandenbug Gate (Tor) at night. This was the gate to the city in the 1800’s when it was part of Prussia.


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