Day of the Fans at Werder Bremen

On Aug 3, 2019, in preparation for the new season, our soccer team Werder Bremen played a friendly vs. Premier League’s FC Everton – an unspectatcular 0:0. That meay sound a little lame, but considering the Toffees` team is worth 300 million and our green-white boys just one third of that, it puts things into perspective…

Otto Rehhagel, or, as the Greeks call him: “Rehacles”

The best came after the game anyway: At the Day of the Fans, we saw on stage some Werder legends, such as Per Mertesacker (defender, World Champion 2014), Otto Rehhagel (successful German coach, known for winning the European Cup with Greece in 2004), Thomas Schaaf (long-standing Bremen coach), and strikers Mario Basler, Ailton, Marco Bode, and Claudio Pizarro (who is both a legend and still playing at 41).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgf9ci-tz1Q

Eventually, the team for the coming season presented itself and gave autographs. Our student Sandi, though a devout Schalke fan, was very happy about an autograph and a quick chat with Bremen’s up-and-coming American striker talent Josh Sargent (once the second-best high school soccer player of the US):

Urban Gardening in Delmenhorst

by Liz Bodenman ’20

Over the course of the Spring Semester, I had the pleasure of participating in an Urban Gardening course called “Projekt Seminar Wollepark,” in which students would travel to the nearby town of Delmenhorst once a week and participate in a project to help improve the conditions of the public park. 20 students in total, we were expected in break up into groups and come up with projects according to our interests. My group was interested in the perception of Garden Culture, and what certain people idealize when imagining their perfect garden. The idea behind this was to go to Delmenhorst and ask its residents (who are a very diverse group of immigrants and refugees) to draw what they pictured the perfect garden to be. Every week for 12 weeks we would go and ask different people to draw for us; the end result was a published photo book containing pictures of the drawings and participants, as well as a summary of our findings.

I enjoyed this course because it was a break from the normal university curriculum and offered an opportunity that Dickinson does not offer. I was able to go out into a community I was unfamiliar with, practice my German, and befriend other “Ausländer” like myself who were starting a new life here. It was also very interesting to learn about permaculture, building structures to attract certain insects desirable for the garden in the town center that the class helped maintain, and develop a basic understanding of urban planning. In the future, I highly recommend students take this course if it is added again. Otherwise, for those with an interest in gardening, urban planning, or simply volunteering with children and the elderly, take the 10-minute train to Delmenhorst and stop by the Nachbarschaftszentrum Wollepark. You will surely be welcomed with open arms. Wollepark Website: http://www.wollepark.de/

Internship at Clinic

by Sandi Kadric ’20

I did a an internship at for the last 2 weeks in March and every Friday from April to July. I shadowed a nurse anesthesiologist. They are very nice, and they are very helpful in explaining procedures during surgeries. I had the chance to prepare the patient before surgery such as setting up the medications, blood pressure, EKG, and IV bag. I actually had patient contact and interaction which is difficult to do in America especially in a hospital setting. Everyone spoke ONLY German with me (except for a couple of words here and there), and yes, I had to ask questions to the patients, and it helped me to learn to be confident.

I learned different methods of certain surgeries. For example, patients lose more blood during knee replacement surgeries than in America. I had the option to choose what surgeries to watch, so I saw a variety of surgeries such as spine surgery, joint replacements, general surgeries, etc. I learned the differences between the German health care system and American health care system, and I would recommend anyone who is pre-med to do this internship because – aside from learning so much – you can receive a letter at the end and put it on your medical school application. It will help you look diverse and stand out from other applicants.

5th Dickinson College Public Lecture (DCPL)

“Germany’s Role in Defending Europe and the Emergence of a New European Security Architecture” with Prof. Andrew T. Wolff

Andy Wolff (l.) and Rick Yoneoka (r.)

On June 5, 2019, Andy Wolff, Dickinson Political Science Professor and Resident Director of the European Studies Program in Bologna, Italy, gave the fifth Dickinson College Public Lecture. Prof. Wolff’s talk posed questions about the current state of transatlantic approach to the security of Europe. The lecture took place in the tower hall of the Bremen Cotton Exchange (Bremer Baumwollbörse) to a crowd of Bremen citizens. His lecture was preceded by comments of distinguished guest Richard Yoneoka, U.S. Consul General in Hamburg, and the discussion was moderated by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Franke, member of the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies at Uni Bremen.

Angie Harris (left) with studen

The DCPL is organized by Dr. Janine Ludwig, Academic Director of the William G. and Elke Durden Dickinson Bremen Program, and Neil van Siclen, President of the Carl Schurz German-American Club, Bremen. A reception with refreshments was held after the lecture at which our Dickinson students helped to serve the guests and engaged in discussions themselves. Also present was Angie Harris, Associate Dean of Students, who visited the program. Please find more photos and media below.

Here the full description of the talk: “The Transatlantic approach to providing security for Europe, i.e. American involvement through NATO and deepening European integration is being challenged internally and externally. The United States has become hesitant to lead NATO, Russia is an assertive and revanchist power, and the European Union is in danger of fragmenting. How does Germany fit into this new security environment? What policy choices does Germany have for the construction of a new European security architecture? As Europe’s politics and security become more unstable, Germany must make difficult decisions that will impact the future of Europe and the transatlantic alliance.” 5th DCPL 2019 Flyer

 

Moderator Anneke ter Veen, Producer of the TV Talkshow „Budder bei die Fische – Der Ter Veen Talk,“ talking to Consul General of the USA, Richard Yoneoka (in German):

Meeting a famous politician

by Dr. Janine Ludwig

On May 19, 2019, we had the great pleasure to visit Dr. Rudolf Seiters who had been the Federal Minister for Special Affairs and Head of the Office of the German Chancellery of the FRG under Helmut Kohl from April 1989 to November 1991. In this position, he successfully negotiated with the GDR government under Erich Honecker the passage of the East German refugees in the West German embassy in Prague to the Federal Republic of. He was responsible for diplomatic relations with several major East German governmental figures during the 1989 revolution (Honecker, Egon Krenz, Dr. Hans Modrow) and later involved in negotiating the contract for German Unification.

Dr. Seiters discussed the events of 1989/90 with our students and shared deep political insight into the highest positions at the time. We found him to be a wonderful person, who was able to convey serious historical information in a very compelling way. For instance, he described how he took over his position and all the files from Wolfgang Schäuble in April 1989 after being alerted about the most pressing issues – there was no mention of the GDR at the time. Nobody knew what was coming and how drastically things would change just a few months later. He also relayed the anecdote of how an employee asked him on the afternoon of November 9 whether he could leave early for his child’s birthday. He said, “Sure, nothing much will happen today anymore.” Little did he know that that night the Berlin Wall would fall. His honest and entertaining way of explaining political work from an insider’s perspective was most intriguing to our students – some of whom had already met former East German Head of State Dr. Hans Modrow and heard about many of the same political events from a West German perspective.

In 1991, Seiters became Minister of the Interior, a position from which he had to step back in 1993 due to the shooting of the RAF terrorist Wolfgang Grams in Bad Kleinen, although it was widely agreed that he had done nothing wrong. From 1998 to 2002, Seiters was Vice President of the German Bundestag and until 2017 President of the German Red Cross.

It was a wonderful opportunity for us and very kind that Dr. Seiters and his wife, despite busy calendars, hosted us in their house in Papenburg, a small town roughly two hours away from Bremen. After that meeting, we visited the “Van Velen Complex,” a settlement of mostly tiny houses and cots from the 17th century – in a town that was built on dried marshland.

Please find a video in German here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jeh_gdDtF6I

After that the long day, some of us went to see our beloved soccer team Werder Bremen who happened to play a friendly match that day against SC Blau-Weiß 94 Papenburg – on a small playing field that allowed us to see the likes of Claudio Pizarro, Max Kruse, and Josh Sargent close up.

 

Here is a short video of a corner kick from that match:

Bremen Night Run

by James Moore ’20

All of the students in the Dickinson in Bremen program decided, in February, to run a 5k. It was on a Friday in mid-May at around 8:30 pm, starting at the town square. It was not raining, which was surprising considering the run was in Bremen. None of us had done any real training for the run, so everyone was a little nervous of how it was going to go. By the end though, I thought it was a success. The route the 5k took was through the city, and it was very nice to run across bridges and other areas of the city around the river where I hadn’t been before. When we finished the run, we were given a free alcohol-free beer, some pretzels, and some water (and also a free T-shirt and string bag) by the organizers of this public event. I thought it was a fun experience, and a good way to see more of the city.

Congratulations to our “internal DiB winner” Jack!

Cooking Workshop

by Megan Kropf ’20

Along with many other changes you face when you study abroad, food is something that you have to consider when moving to a completely new country. At Dickinson, we have many different on-campus food options that are included in our meal plan and most of them are open all day, every day. It is not difficult at all to find prepared meals that are basically already paid for with swipes or flex points. At Uni Bremen, however, we have the Mensa, or main cafeteria, (in addition to some smaller on-campus cafes) that offers lunch from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday-Friday and there is no pre-paid swipe system like Dickinson’s meal plans. So what do you do for breakfast, dinner, and weekend meals? You cook! It depends on the person, but some students prefer to cook most of their meals, while others enjoy cooking some and eating out at restaurants for others. But while it’s nice to go to restaurants and eat delicious German food, it’s not exactly realistic to rely on that for every meal.

Luckily, Dickinson arranged a cooking workshop where we learned how to cook easy and cheap, yet healthy recipes. Together we made smoothies, pasta salads, chicken curry, and quinoa dishes. I personally love cooking and trying out new recipes, so this workshop gave me new ideas of dishes to prepare. It was also helpful to talk about shopping for ingredients and how to get the most out of your groceries. Produce and fresh food is relatively inexpensive in Germany and it’s easy to make meals using organic fruits and vegetables. In addition to learning how to cook in Germany during this workshop, we all had a great time cooking and eating together!

 

 

 

 

Kurth-Voigt and Bremen: My Opportunity to Explore my Passion

by Liz Bodenman ’20

In the first semester of my time at Uni Bremen, I had the privilege of utilizing funds granted to me through the Dickinson German department’s Kurth-Voigt Research Prize. Securing the grant required me to formulate a viable research question and plan with which to explore possible answers. My question, though still unanswered, pertains to the vegan and vegetarian movements in Bremen and Germany as a whole. How are these two movements so successful in a country that hails meat and dairy in nearly all its traditional cuisines? Though I was not going to get a satisfying answer during the few months I lived in Bremen, I was able to expand my mind through attending two exciting events, funded by Kurth-Voigt.

My start-up workshop. Photo creds to Momentum Novum (the runner of the conference)

First I was able to participate in a three day sustainability conference in Heidelberg, where I attended several different workshops pertaining to food consciousness and the environment, where themes on vegan/vegetarianism echoed throughout. During the conference every participant took part in one block workshop where they worked in groups to formulate a project. My block workshop pertained to the world of ‘start-ups,’ taking us through all the steps necessary to have a successful start-up, then having us present a start-up of our own creation at the closing ceremony. The conference was very international, but getting the German perspective on sustainability proved invaluable for the ways in which I would view German vegan and vegetarian organizations/companies. Then to get an idea of which companies and organizations existed in Germany, I did a bit of digging and found another event useful in exploring my question.

On the way to the Veggienale Fair in Frankfurt

This next event was a day-long ‘Vegginale: Ecological Fair’ in Frankfurt. These Vegginale Fairs are held throughout the year in the major cities across Germany, featuring different national and international organizations and companies relating to sustainability. There is a specific emphasis on veganism and animal rights at these conferences, as vegan/vegetarian activists typically go hand-in-hand with purely environmental activists. Stands were occupied by everything from clean energy firms to a couple selling their homemade vegan honey. The diversity of the content at Veggienale was a good representation of how many ways Germans choose to express care for sustainability and equal rights for all beings.

If I had decided to continue my research project and use the remainder of my grant funds, I could have gone on a few more trips in which to learn about and observe the vegan/vegetarian movements in Germany. My curiosity on the topic remains open, and I plan on exploring it to some extent during my final two years at Dickinson. The Kurth-Voigt is a wonderful opportunity for Dickinson students of German who are curious about an aspect of German life, society or culture and wish to explore it further.

 

Vienna Excursion

In February/March, 2019, we went to Vienna again for a one-week trip. Please read about a few of the highlights:

The Schönbrunn Palace would be the most impressive part of the Vienna excursion. As an image of the Habsburg rule, the palace manifests its presence in its sheer size and beauty. Schönbrunn not only introduces visitors into the lifestyles of the old monarchs with fascinating details, but it also lectures them on aesthetics and culture. Indeed, the palace itself is such an visual reward that impressed me with murals and rococo designs. To a certain extent, they divert your attention from learning the influences of Maria Theresia and the other Habsburgs. Schönbrunn is an unquestionable landmark of Vienna that demonstrates a glorious and glamorous part of Austrian history. I would suggest that the palace serves the sole purpose of impressing and exciting visitors, to bedazzle them. It somewhat creates a seemingly beautiful mirage of the royal life that is too good to be true. >Jack Xia ’20<

Wiener Burgtehater: Settling into my seat in the 4th row of the gallery, the packed theater is buzzing with chatter. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the other half of our Dickinson group a few rows away and we wave excitedly at each other. The lights dim, and the chatter dies down to a murmur, then silence. The play starts. The story revolves around a famous actor, Hendrik Höfgen, who flees to Paris when the Nazi party rises to power. He is persuaded to return to Germany to continue his acting career. Eventually, he is casted as a main character (Mephisto) in the famous play Faust but struggles with accepting a career that’s backed by a Nazi general. Or at least that’s what I understood. In all honesty, I didn’t quite understand 100% of the play, but it was so much fun to watch. Maybe it was because it was my first play, but I thought the staging and effects were so cool and creative. There were huge panels that were moved around, the whole stage revolved, a singing lady descended from the ceiling on a silver hula hoop, latex skin was peeled off, and there was a giant treadmill involved. During intermission we would burst into “What just happened?” and “Wait, but I thought…” We even talked to some Viennese students that were sitting near us, who were happy to take part in our efforts to understand the play. All in all, we didn’t understand everything, but we enjoyed the play very much and we left happy, having experienced some true Viennese Hochkultur. >Karen Hoang ’20<

The crown of the Holy Roman Empire

On the 28th of February, we had the opportunity to go to the Schatzkammer in Vienna. This Treasury was historically a vault in which the von Habsburg family stored valuable objects like jewels, crowns, and clothing, but also important documents like treaties. The Habsburgs exercised control over large swathes of land throughout the medieval and modern periods, at times controlling Hungary, Czechia, Spain, and modern-day Benelux States and Netherlands. As such, the Schatzkammer was full of artifacts of great historical significance. For example, the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, which the Habsburg line held for almost 500 years, was on display towards the end of our tour. Another interesting sight was a “unicorn horn,” in fact the horn of a narwhal, which purportedly had the ability to act as a universal antidote to poison. Aside from that there were many intricate works of weaving and metal working, including the robes worn by the Kaiser of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the King of Hungary. One thing that I also found particularly fascinating was the large collection of religious relics in the Schatzkammer, owing the powerful bond between the Habsburg line and the Catholic church. Among these is a piece of wood with a nail hole that supposedly comes from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, a tooth from both John the Baptist and St. Peter, and a piece of the tablecloth from the Last Supper. For people interested in history or in religion, the Schatzkammer is a place one should not miss. >Corson Ellis ’20<

Garbage incinerator, beautified by Hundertwasser

The Dickinson trip to Vienna, Austria, was amazing. Vienna is so beautiful and filled with History; there wasn’t a day that I didn’t learn or experience something new. One of my favorite activities our group did during this excursion was the Hundertwasser tour and museum. Vienna is filled with art and cultural museums, but Hundertwasser was something I hadn’t seen before. This art installation from Friedensreich Hundertwasser is filled with his paintings, sculpture, and unique artistic style. One of Hundertwasser’s trademarks was not using any straight lines. This was incorporated in all of his work, but it was also incorporated into the Hundertwasserhaus itself, which I found interesting. My favorite part of the architecture was the floors because unlike most art museums, these floors are slanted and uneven, which adds so much to the experience. Not only is the artwork itself brightly colored and whimsical, but the entire atmosphere of the building is eccentric and welcoming. The walking tour was also exciting because we got to see other architecture designed by Hundertwasser and learned about his history and the history behind Hundertwasserhaus. >Megan Kropf ’20<

During the Vienna excursion, we took a one-hour train ride to Bratislava.  We went to this café called UFO because it is shaped like a UFO and it is one of the highest points in the city.  The café is high enough for you to see Austria and Hungary in the distance while on the other side, you can witness the whole landscape of the city.  We took a tour around Bratislava since it is not that big of a city.  On the way through the city, the tour guide shared interesting facts of the Bratislava and Slovakia such as around 50% of the nation’s economy depends on the car industry, and despite Slovakia being a relatively poor country, it is quite expensive to own a home in Bratislava.  We saw the main sites of Bratislava such as the Bratislavaer Burg (Bratislava Castle), Cathedral St. Martin, the Old Town Hall, the parliament’s palace, Michaelertor, and the Blue Church.  The tour guide connected the Bratislavaer Burg back to the history of the Hapsburgs, and why it was built and symbolized.  After the approximately three-hour tour, we had the whole day to make our own memories and be independent throughout the Slavic city. >Sandi Kadric ’20<

In sum: In Vienna, we learned a lot about the history of Austria and by extension Germany. I never knew much about the history of Austria, so I found the tours and museums very interesting. My favorite part of the trip was learning about the Hapsburg dynasty, and visiting the castles which they lived in. I also enjoyed visiting Vienna’s many churches. One of my other favorite parts of the trip was the day in Bratislava. I knew basically nothing about Bratislava and Slovakia, and I enjoyed learning about the city and its history. >James Moore ’20<

Community Service at Retirement Home

by Sandi Kadric ’20

Every Tuesday at 3pm, a group of Dickinson students visited the retirement home in Bremen to talk to four over 90-year-old women. The women came from different areas in Germany such as Bremen, Berlin, a town in now present-day Poland, and a town in the vicinity of Dresden. They talk about their times growing up in the Nazi regime, running from the Russian soldiers, or any consequences that resulted from the second World War. They are not afraid to give insight on personal, tragic stories as they are instantly comfortable with sharing with you since you walk in the door. However, the content is not always heavy as sometimes they fast forward to present day and talk about their families, pets, cooking, etc. The environment is always open and friendly as we always treat ourselves to coffee and cookies.

The women are still mentally sharp for the hour and a half, sometimes two-hour meetings. They want to get to know us well, so it leads to free-flowing conversations. Sometimes it is difficult to understand their German by not knowing some of the words; however, there is a worker that accompanies us who helps us understand the content and is able to translate us in English if ever needed. Speaking to these women gave an insight into the German identity, and it always put a smile on their faces as well as the Dickinson students.