4th Dickinson College Public Lecture

On May 15, 2017, the Carl Schurz German-American Club Bremen and Dickinson College invited members of the University of Bremen and citizens to the Fourth Dickinson College Public Lecture on:

“Trumped-up Good Relations? – A Russian Perspective on the USA Today”

with Dr. Irina Filippova

 

When Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America on November 8th, 2016, many were shocked – but others may have harbored faint hopes as well. Since Trump had already announced his intention to improve American relations with the Russian Federation, many Russian citizens might have expected a new thaw between the two nuclear powers. But events and debates in the USA over the last few months have left an ambivalent impression: Amid allegations that Russia attempted to influence the US presidential election, President Trump’s team is also under attack from his own party for its members’ relationships with Russian contacts, and with his recent decision to order an air strike in Syria, Trump appears to be adding to the chill.

All pictures: © private

This raises the question of what Russians think of and expect from the USA right now. And more importantly, will future generations improve relations or further entrench the status quo? Irina Filippova, Director of the Dickinson-in-Russia Program at the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow (RGGU), provided us with some answers. She had collected statements from colleagues at the RGGU, from the press, from Muscovites, and from Dickinson students currently studying in Moscow. Rather than presenting a political analysis of what can only be described as an uncertain status quo, she gave us a first-hand insight into public opinion in Russia, and the mindset and sentiments of so-called “ordinary people” there.

First, she offered a brief overview of the checkered history of Russian-American relations from the 16th century to today. It started with a meeting of Russian Tsar Peter the Great and William Penn – the founder of the Pennsylvania Colony – as a first diplomatic meeting of the two countries in 1698. From the selling of Alaska in 1867 to the Russian revolution in 1917, to the Allies in World War II and the enemies of the Cold War to the recent crises in Crimea and the Ukraine, the relations between the countries have overall deteriorated. Today, there seems to be even a reduced ability to understand each other on the lowest levels of political communication, a striking lack of knowledge and amount of miscommunication, even down to the language basis.

Dr. Filippova introduced different Russian polling agencies and showed several polls from October 2016 to April 2017 – that clearly indicated how there were some hopes for an improvement in political relations and some support for Donald Trump, but how those have decreased dramatically within those 6 months. Filippova complemented this development with translated headlines from Russian newspapers and pointed cartoons. She rounded up her findings with statements from knowledgeable academics from RGGU. Her personal poll among Russian students and Muscovites of ages around the 40 showed that, unfortunately, the younger people seemed generally less interested in politics than the older ones and that both groups have come to rather disappointed, pessimistic views on the future relations between the United States and Russia.

However, a final flicker of hope appeared in statements from Dickinson students currently studying in the Moscow program: With remarkable clarity and reflectiveness, they explained how important it is to them, besides all clear differences, to engage in discourse, to be confronted with opposing views from Russian students and to learn about their perspective. Those Dickinson students believe in and prove the importance of intensive study abroad programs as Dickinson offers them – they keep communication alive against all odds and train future competent global citizens who hopefully manage to improve political situations in the future.

See the poster here: Dickinson College Public Lecture 2017 Poster

Neil van Siclen opening the lecture

Janine Ludwig introducing Irina Filippova

 

Filippova showing newspaper headlines

Celebrating a great lecture

Emigration Museum: an Adventure Through Time and Genealogy

by Kate King

Most people familiar with the German Department at Dickinson are aware that in Bremen full year students take one Dickinson course taught by Dr. Ludwig, better known as Janine, our academic director. The course is a cultural comparison of Germany and the USA. In our first few classes, we discussed emigration from Germany to the USA, which began in the late 1600’s and continued, usually in waves depending on what was going on in Europe, for the next few hundred years.

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Kayla, Yvonne, Meghan, Caroline, Lee (fr.l.t.r.), back row: Janine, Fynn, Zhen, Siyun

IMG_0336To learn more about this, we took a field trip to Bremerhaven (the second city of the Bremen city-state) to visit the Deutsches Auswanderer Haus, or German Emigration Center. Bremen bought Bremerhaven in 1827 to replace its inland ports that were at risk from sediment deposition and it quickly became a hot spot for emigration due to the quick access to the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Me, Kate

Me, Kate

Now if anyone reading this knows me, you probably know that I am a double science major and I minor in German for the language skills – I do not enjoy museums. I am like a three-year-old child in museums: if you don’t keep my attention with interactive things, I get tired and hungry and just want to go home. This museum catered to my inner toddler. Upon arrival, we were all issued boarding passes with the name of an emigrant of Germany and another name of an immigrant that came to Germany.

 

Caroline before departure

Caroline and friends

We started the tour by entering a replica of the waiting hall, which was part of the original emigration office that millions of people went through to leave Europe.

We were then guided into the next room to the docks where heard farewells from families. The next room, the Gallery of the 7 Million, allowed us to hear the personal stories of our emigrants. We then climbed the stairs of the ship seen from the docks and entered the ship to begin our voyage.

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Caroline and Meghan

Kayla

Kayla

We ended up walking through different points in technological developments. The first had a small room, close to a double dorm room on Dickinson’s campus, with most of the room being built up into a bed with hay, a bucket, and no electricity. The room would have been shared by multiple families. The next stage had more of individualized bunk beds and a bathroom. The final stage had individual beds with proper sheets and an attached dining room with windows, all with electricity.

Ship in rough sea...

Ship in rough sea…

 

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Poor emigrants: Meghan, Zhen, Kayla, Kate (fr.l.)

Caroline and Lee emigrating

Caroline and Lee emigrating

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Everyone at the dinner table of the steam liner

After we enjoyed our dinner with the passengers, we arrived in the New World. We were taken to Ellis Island where we were tested to see if we could enter the country. If we passed (Lee did not), we could continue to New York City to Grand Central Station. At Grand Central we listened to the end of our emigrants’ stories. Mine emigrated to Brazil and opened a tea company and the descendants still meet up regularly.

Several Bremens in the USA

Blue dots = Several Bremens in the USA…

The seminar group at Grand Central Station

The seminar group at Grand Central Station

After leaving Grand Central, we crossed the bridge and became immigrants into Germany. This area had replicas of different shops that were opened by immigrants in the 1950’s-70’s. There was an ice cream café, hair dresser, camera shop, book shop, department store, kiosk, and cinema. The cinema showed films about immigration in Germany, but they were showing a feature while we were there that looked at relationships between Turks and Germans.

Katie's possible ancestors

Katie’s possible ancestors

My favorite part of the whole tour was the family history room at the end. You could look through their computer records and find your family members. A few of us came prepared with names. I had photos of a genealogy book that someone in my family had put together not too long after I was born. So I went to the oldest name I could find and traced it back another two generations. The book I had said that he came from Switzerland, but the information I found through the ancestry.com portal said that he was born in Zweibrücken, which is close to where I lived when I did my exchange year in high school, and his father was born in Hannover in 1681, which is right next to Bremen. It is definitely something that I want to investigate further. Hopefully, I can find some living German relatives.

Animated photo show:

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Poetic Alumnus

by Dr. Janine Ludwig

Last week, I attended a Dickinson Resident Directors’ Meeting in Málaga, Spain, where the directors of several European Dickinson programs and staff from the CGSE met to engage in fruitful discussions and exchange experiences.

Geo reading from his poems

Geo reading from his poems

To my surprise, this business trip brought about a completely unforeseen, coincidental reunion: Former Dickinson student Geo Nikolov ’14 gave a presentation at the cultural café “The Shakespeare,” where he was introduced by Prof. Eva Copeland, Director of the Dickinson in Málaga Program. I have known Geo since he had spent the academic year 2012/13 in our Bremen program, and I also knew that, after his graduation in 2014, he completed a master’s degree in Málaga. But little did I know that he also wrote poetry in Spanish (and English, too) and would be back in Málaga in order to present his first book: “Paseos marítimos” (Beach Promenades).

Nikolov Geo

Geo Nikolov ’14

One has to know that Geo is a linguistic genius, speaking 4 languages (Bulgarian, English, German, and Spanish) at native-speaker level. And if that was not extraordinary enough, here is a geology major who writes poetry and will soon go on to work at a publishing company.

How nice to see a former student again in such circumstances!

Proud.

Portada-Paseos-marítimos

Walk
I come back from my walk
along the water
smelling as if
I have been sitting in front of a fire.

Nikolov, Geo: Paseos marítimos. Málaga: Mitad Doble ediciones. Ediciones del Genal, 2016. Coordina: Jonatan Santos. 95 pgs. ISBN: 978-84-16626-10-6. Precio: 9,95 €.
http://www.mitaddoble.com/paseos-maritimos/

The William ’71 and Elke Durden Literary Series at Bremen #1: Kerstin Hensel

kerstin_hensel_portraet

Kerstin Hensel

An advantage of being part of the Dickinson-in-Bremen program is having the opportunity to participate in a variety of cultural events, such as in a private workshop with German author Kerstin Hensel, preceding a reading of one of her books, Lärchenau, later that evening at the theater in Bremen. This workshop provided us with the comfortable environment in which to ask Frau Hensel, who began her writing career in the GDR, many questions concerning literature, culture, and cultural politics behind the Wall, as well as what it meant to be an East German author after Germany’s Reunification. I was interested to learn about how art for the masses was endorsed by the communist government in East Germany, and to learn about the extent in which growing up in the East affected Hensel’s opinions and motivations as a writer. I did not expect to learn that Frau Hensel, despite growing up in the GDR, does not identify herself as an East German writer, but rather as a German writer. It was also interesting to learn that one can differentiate East German from West German writings by recognizing stylistic differences between them. Overall, this workshop allowed me to bring a greater understanding and appreciation of literature to Frau Hensel’s book-reading later that night, and I was thankful to be offered the opportunity to better familiarize myself with the literary culture of East Germany and of the time of German Reunification. >Carol Rynar<

The opportunity to hear a reading from a prominent German author in addition to also participating in a personalized workshop was very exciting. We were able to ask Frau Hensel questions about her background in the DDR and how this has influenced her work today or how she approaches writing novels. This fascinating discussion was very applicable to our theme of Deutsche Einheit and taught me a lot about the foundation of life in East Germany. At the reading, we were treated to segments of her novel Lärchenau and could form parallels between her earlier workshop with us and the story and writing style that we were presented with. This was a really interesting experience to be a part of, and I gained valuable insights into the teachings and thoughts of a modern German author. >Helen Schlimm<

I really enjoyed the workshop wit Kerstin Hensel. I learned a lot about how literature was created and received in the German Democratic Republic. I had no idea that East Germany had such a strong reading culture and how culturally aware the common person was. >Ira Lauer<

Kerstin Hensel reading from her novel "Lärchenau".

Kerstin Hensel reading from her novel “Lärchenau”.

The Kerstin Hensel meeting was informative and interesting. She read an excerpt of one of her books in which she wrote an alternative ending to Hänsel and Gretel. In her version, Hänsel and Gretel accept their captivity and live a secure life with the mean witch. When she finally dies, Hänsel and Gretel are unsure what to do with their freedom and approach the new, unknown world with hesitancy and fear. She wrote this story as a symbol for the people in the DDR, who grew comfortable in their life in the communist east. Overall it was definitely a valuable learning experience, and I really enjoyed listening to a German writer talk about her past and her writing methods. >Phoebe Allebach<

Click HERE to see the flyer of the event.

“DICKINSON IN GERMANY” TURNS 30

“And they celebrated for three days and three nights.” This is not only typical for fairy-tale endings when the prince and his bride are happily married, but it also happens in the city of the famous “Bremen Town Musicians” when an American college and a German university commemorate 30 years of a wonderful and strong partnership.

In order to duly celebrate the anniversary of their exchange program, Dickinson College sent a delegation to the University of Bremen in early June which included President Nancy Roseman, Vice President Joyce Bylander, Director of Education Abroad Samantha Brandauer as well as Sarah McGaughey and Jerry Philogene, professors of German and American Studies respectively. They were warmly welcomed by their partners at Uni Bremen and by our Bremen Program staff (Academic Director Janine Ludwig and Program Coordinator Verena Mertz) who had organized several festive events in that first week of June.

Signing of the Renewed Cooperation Agreement, June 3rd

President Roseman and Rector Scholz-Reiter (right) © Harald Rehling, Uni Bremen

President Roseman and Rector Scholz-Reiter (right) © H. Rehling, Uni Bremen

On June 3rd, 2015, Nancy A. Roseman, President of Dickinson College, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Scholz-Reiter, Rector of the University of Bremen, are happy to sign a renewed cooperation contract that extends the fruitful collaboration for another 5 years into the future.

 

 

The Third Dickinson College Public Lecture, June 3rd

In the evening of that day, the third annual Dickinson College Public Lecture was delivered in the prestigious venue “Stadtwaage” to an audience of about 100 attendees from the University and the city of Bremen.

Joyce Bylander (left) and Yasemin Karakaşoğlu © Harald Rehling, Uni Bremen

Joyce Bylander (left) and Yasemin Karakaşoğlu © H. Rehling, Uni Bremen

After Rector Scholz-Reiter and President Roseman welcomed the audience, Prof. Dr. Karakaşoğlu, Vice Rector for Intercultural and International Affairs at the University of Bremen, introduced her colleague, VP and Dean of Student Life Joyce Bylander who gave a speech on “Delivering on the Promise of Diversity in Higher Education.” The topic and the lecture strongly resonated with the Bremen audience who participated in a lively discussion after the talk and during the following reception.

Dickinson Graduate Geo Nikolov ‘14, now a Masters student in Málaga, Spain, with an audience question

President Roseman with current Dickinson-in-Bremen students Ezra, Katie, Cassie, George, Adrienne, Madison, Santiago (from top left to down right) as well as Academic Director Ludwig and Program Coordinator Mertz (far right, 3rd and 2nd row). © Harald Rehling, Uni Bremen

President Roseman with current Dickinson in Bremen students Ezra, Katie, Cassie, George, Adrienne, Madison, Santiago (fr. top left to down right) as well as Director Ludwig and Coordinator Mertz (far right, 3rd + 2nd row). © Harald Rehling

The Dickinson Lecture is regularly organized by Dr. Janine Ludwig, Academic Director of the Durden Dickinson in Bremen Program, and Neil van Siclen, President of the Carl Schurz German-American Club Bremen (CSDAC).

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Former Rector Müller and Pres. Roseman

Fr. left to right: Dr. Janine Ludwig, VP Joyce Bylander, President Nancy Roseman

Fr. left to right: Dr. Janine Ludwig, VP Joyce Bylander, President Nancy Roseman © H. Rehling

Alumni Meeting With Unveiling of “Dickinson Chairs,” June 4th, 2015

Alumni meeting in Bremen. © Harald Rehling, Uni Bremen

Alumni meeting in Bremen. © Harald Rehling, Uni Bremen

Aside from current and former professors and staff who are or were involved in the program, more than 30 former students came from all over Germany and even from other European countries to the alumni meeting on Thursday afternoon. The altogether 60 attendees watched a delightful and funny picture presentation given by Matthias Ziegfeld, the very first Bremen student who studied at Dickinson College in 1984-85.

Vice Rector Karakaşoğlu, President Roseman, Mr. Sodemann from Community e.V., and former Rector Müller (from left to right), unveiling the first “Dickinson Chairs.” © Harald Rehling, Uni Bremen

Vice Rector Karakaşoğlu, President Roseman, Mr. Sodemann from Community e.V., and former Rector Müller (from left to right), unveiling the first “Dickinson Chairs.” © Harald Rehling, Uni Bremen

Later, in the most beautiful sunny weather and over the traditional German “coffee and cake,” they rejoiced in memories of their time at Dickinson and the Uni Bremen. It was amazing to hear from many how the abroad experience has stimulated and influenced their lives. Eventually, the champagne bottles demanded to be opened for the ceremonious unveiling of the first three “Dickinson Chairs.” This Uni Bremen fundraising initiative honors the 30 years of cooperation by setting up Dickinson-like Adirondack Chairs on their campus which are donated by various sponsors. 10 such sponsors – including Pres. Roseman for Dickinson College and former Pres. Durden as well as former Uni Bremen Rector Wilfried Müller – had already pledged a donation before the campaign was even officially launched.

Festive Dinner, June 4th

Front, right: Erika Harjes-Badawi, former head of the International Office at Uni Bremen, behind her: professors Hartmut Koehler and Lothar Probst, across from them: Neil van Siclen and Dickinson students. © Verena Mertz

Front, right: Erika Harjes-Badawi, former head of the IO at Uni Bremen, behind her: professors Hartmut Koehler, Lothar Probst, left: Neil van Siclen, Dickinson students. © Verena Mertz

The day was concluded by a celebratory dinner in the restaurant “Meierei” to which Dickinson College invited so many of the colleagues and friends who have made vital contributions to the program over the last decades.

Other events included a tour through Bremen’s historical center and UNESCO world heritage site, a dinner in the medieval quarter “Schnoor,” a visit to the University of Bremen’s Drop Tower (the laboratory of ZARM and the only laboratory of this kind in Europe). In addition, in many work meetings members of both institutions forged plans for future projects to further intensify this great cooperation.

Bremerhaven Auswandererhaus

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting the “Auswandererhaus” (Emigration House) in Bremerhaven. It is a museum which focuses on the emigration of Germans to other countries throughout history. I really enjoyed the set up of the museum. There were many models which showed, for instance, how the harbor looked at various times and the different types of ships people traveled on. The first large room was made to look like the harbor with mannequins dressed to look like emigrants from various time periods and social classes. I really enjoyed how they showed examples of what people packed to bring with them. It was shockingly little, but I think it says a lot about a person, what few personal belongings they bring along to their new life. 

In the second room you could hear personal stories about families or individuals. Much of the information was gathered from letters they wrote to loved ones or personal journals. There were also display cases which explained the main reasons why Germans were leaving their country during various time periods. In the time from 1871-1913 most emigration was from poorer classes who wanted to move up in society. From 1914-1918 the main reasons for emigration were the depression after WWI, inflation, and lack of work. In the years during and directly after WWII, many of the people who emigrated were political or Jewish refugees trying to escape persecution by the Third Reich. These are just a few examples, but I found it very interesting to see how peoples’ reasons for leaving their homeland changed throughout history. 

The next section of the museum was my favorite. They replicated some of the living situations that passengers on different types of ships would have lived in. I am always surprised at how deplorable the living situations were for emigrants with little money, and just how long they needed to be living this way. The difference between the 3rd class and 1st class was actually disgusting. 

I particularly liked this one map that showed the U.S. and in each state is said which country the majority of citizmapens had descended from. I liked this because you could see how the culture of the country were the most people immigrated from still shapes the culture of that area today. For instance New York is especially known for their pizza, and by no coincidence the most people who immigrated there were Italians. Whereas in Pennsylvania the largest immigrant group was German, and there is still a large Amish population which have roots in Germany. 

After visiting the museum I had the pleasure of visiting the Bremerhaven Christmas market, which I must admit was not as impressive as Bremen’s but still very fun!

Katie Mooradian ’16

World Cup 2014

IMG_5347Want to relive Germany winning the World Cup? Then read the following statements by this year’s Dickinson-in-Bremen students as well as by Dr. Ludwig and Prof. McGaughey, who was in Germany as well, and also recaps our excursion to Hamburg and Lübeck. (Visit our Facebook page for additional video footage: Dickinson-in-Bremen on FB!)

Joan:
I’m so happy I got to be in Germany for the World Cup — and feel so lucky to have seen them win too! The atmosphere in the city after each game was incredible, and only built as Germany advanced further. My favorite part would probably be after the games, when people would gather at one of the intersections in Viertel and just celebrate in the streets. Most of the time people would completely block the intersection with celebrating, chanting, and dancing. I had so much fun during the weeks of the World Cup and will never forget this experience.

Devon:
I knew throughout my trip to Germany that I was experiencing something unique and very much special; to be able to have watched my host country win the World Cup while here was simply the icing on the cake. While I was separated from the rest of the group, being in a crowded bar as the cheers erupted was truly sobering.

Shuwei:
We are certainly the lucky ones. After twenty-four years Germany became the World-Cup Champion again and we are here to experience all the stress, excitement and ecstasy. We celebrated on streets, danced and sang loud, and had high fives with people passing by. What a memorable experience! Cheers Germany!

Sean:
The World Cup excitement in Bremen was absolutely incredible once the Finale rolled around. I went to one of the larger public viewings in Bremen, despite the forecast of rain. By the time Mario Götze made the defining goal, we were all standing in a complete downpour. Not even rain could kill the mood after Germany won the World Cup. Hundreds of people quickly took to the streets and celebrated in the main intersection of Das Viertel and remained there until the early hours of the morning. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my year abroad. Deutschland ist Weltmeister!

Anna:
Even when the WM games were on weekday nights — whether at 6pm or midnight — the bars were packed and we would show up hours early (literally, three hours early to save seats for the final). The energy was just amazing and somehow got more intense every game, everyone on the edges of their seats (or standing) the whole time and alternatively gasping, leaning forward, cheering and jumping up and down in unison. And then when Germany won in the Finals, we were in Viertel, singing and dancing in the streets all night. It’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget!

GERvBRA3Margaret:
I’m still in disbelief over how lucky I was to be in Germany during the World Cup this year. Experiencing Germany’s victory was something I’ll never forget. I watched the final game with a group of other Dickinson students at a public viewing at a bar, where together we suffered through the seemingly-eternal nailbiter 0-0 score (and overtime! It really got rough…) before finally seeing Germany sink the winning goal shortly before overtime ran out, and jump to our feet cheering and hugging along with the rest of the crowd. When the game ended, we already knew the streets would be filled with people and the city basically shut down, but outside was even more insanity (and fun) than we could have expected. In the heart of the younger Viertel section of the city, the streets and sidewalks were filled so much we could barely walk, our ears rang from the fireworks being set off directly over our heads (or sometimes on sidewalks), and we got used to random people hugging, high-fiving us, or just yelling “DEUTSCHLAND!” or “WELTMEISTER!” in our faces. By 3 AM, we had joined the section of the crowd dancing to music being blasted from one of the overlooking apartments. There were block-long conga lines, instances of everyone putting their arms over each other’s shoulders and just happily swaying to the slower songs, and of course at least three separate heartfelt renditions of Queen’s We Are The Champions. I had a sore throat from yelling, sore feet from dancing in the street, and ringing ears from the fireworks, but I wouldn’t have traded that once-in-a-lifetime experience for anything.

Danette:
I had the good fortune of being able to watch the World Cup with several of my close German friends. They invited Janie and I over for the game to drink and watch. We were all decked out in fan gear with our faces painted with German flags and a German flag around our shoulders. As a huge football fan myself, this was the ultimate game for me. I watched breathlessly as the game ended in regular time at 0-0, and I think I was praying to every religious figure I could think of that Germany would win this game. Sadly our screen was delayed by about 2 minutes but I could hear cheers erupting around the neighborhood we were in, so I knew something good had happened. Then I watched Mario Götze receive the ball and volley it into the back of the net, I believe I almost cried because of how happy I was. There was still time left to play and never have I been so tense watching a game, I think I almost broke the chair handles because I was clenching them so hard. But then the whistle sounded and the game was over, GERMANY HAD WON. Janie and I knew that we needed to get into the city and quickly to have a great celebration with our friends; we boarded the next tram into the city and we hopped off at the Hauptbahnof. What a party it was. Trams and buses had stopped moving because they couldn’t get through the throngs of people, there were fireworks going off, people everywhere were yelling, chanting, dancing and cheering at the top of their lungs. It was insane. We made our way from Hauptbahnof to the Viertel and the party was even bigger. People were dancing in the streets, throwing beer around, and waving flags. It was an amazing experience to be a part of and something I will never forget.

Janie:
The night of the World Cup was, for me, absolutely unforgettable, and was one of my favorite memories of being in Germany. Danette and I watched the game at a close friend of ours, along with some other German friends. Naturally, we were all decked out in black, red, and gold to support the German national team. For some reason, probably because so many others were streaming the game online, there were delays, and we soon were a few minutes behind. We heard cheers outside, but still were not sure – and then Götze scored, and we all just yelled at the top of our lungs in pure joy. Then, the night got even better because Germany won, and it just truly felt like such a once-in-a-lifetime experience – being in Germany for the once-every-four-years cup, and then Germany won! Danette and I decided to continue the celebration outside, and went to the central train station. Absolute madness was ensuing there, with fireworks, and endless chants. From there, we walked to the “alternative quarter,” where it seemed like the entire population of Bremen had congregated. Everyone was out of their minds cheering, dancing, singing, and drinking, and there was a really awesome sense of friendly camaraderie. Even though we had to walk all the way home (about an hour and forty-five minutes), it was all so worth it, and it is definitely an experience I will never forget.

Dr. Ludwig:

Winning the World Cup is first and foremost: huge fun. The biggest party of the year. When Germans, often considered rather stiff, are dancing in the streets. But there is so much more to it: Soccer, or, Fußball/Football, as any European calls it, is not only the favorite German type of sport and a huge money-making machinery or a social glue that helps keeping the society together when young and old, men and women, people of all colors, backgrounds, and societal strata sit together in bars on weekends watching the Bundesliga or in public viewings of international tournaments… What is more, Fußball has often carried a national and historic dimension: When the Federal Republic of Germany won the first World Cup in 1954, it was called the “Miracle of Bern,” a symbol of the recovery of West Germany after WW II. Some linked it to the ambiguous phrase “Wir sind wieder wer” (We are somebody again.) When the GDR beat the FRG in the first round of the Cup in 1974, it was a symbol of the Cold War and an embarassment for West Germany which made up for it by winning the World Cup eventually. In 1990, when the rapidly uniting Germany won the Cup for the second time, with players from East and West, it was a symbol of reunification and its truest celebration. When the World Cup was held in Germany in 2006, the country took the chance to present itself as a pacified, liberal, open, and friendly society to the world and celebrated a 3rd place as if it was victory (something not really typical for Germans ;-). This was also the first time one could see national flags everywhere and hear the national anthem being sung in public – something that had been considered nationalist and dangerous for decades and was therefore seen with mixed emotions by many of the older generations. Winning the Cup for the 3rd time in 2014 does not have the same dimension anymore, but it rather seems like being world champions has healthily regressed into just something it would be for any nation: huge fun. The biggest party of the year. People dancing in the streets. Maybe that marks the true importance and experience of this victory.

Prof. McGaughey:
Distraction.

In the midst of a World Cup summer all activity that was not associated with soccer could be categorized under distraction. Distraction is what happened between games. In that time when you were waiting until the moment when you could reload the soccer site again and again with the hope of learning the lineup of the next game. Distraction was hard to come by, however. So much of the summer in Germany was about the World Cup. There were reports of the overpriced, island retreat of the German team in Brasil, the expensive stadiums, the corruption within FIFA, and the corruption and violence FIFA and soccer initiated in Brasil and throughout the world. And then there were the constant updates of the health of the team – could Schweinsteiger play? Was Hummels sick? The news was saturated with soccer scores and analyses and towns were full of public viewing sites, pulsing with conversations about the teams and the tournament. For games, the Germans sat or stood and watched ARD or ZDF – the two public channels – and heard passionate commentaries from former soccer stars Mehmet Scholl and Olli Kahn. Even during the advertising breaks, Pep Guardiola assured us that German engineering (or soccer?) was about innovation and “Vorsprung.” As the tournament went on and Germany continued to win (OMG, that historic game against Brazil!), the continuous presence of soccer in daily life became more difficult to take. Thus, my move from Tübingen to Bremen came at just the right time. Time to say “Moin” instead of “Grüß Gott” and time to see all of the Dickinsonians in Bremen. Even better, Verena had organized a short trip of two days and one night in the Hansestädte of Lübeck and Hamburg. We learned how to model mice and hearts out of marzipan and read about the tragedies and literary successes of the Mann family. We had a delicious dinner (fish, of course!) on the Inner Alster Lake on a boat (On a boat!) and wandered through the Fischmarkt on Sunday morning. We spent hours watching amazing moving miniature replicas of Switzerland, Austria, and Middle Germany and studied the miniature representations of party platforms from the last two elections. We drank excellent coffee. We spent an hour and a half moving blindly through daily spaces at Dialog im Dunkeln (Dialogue in the Dark). It was a fabulous trip. As the weekend trip came to a close and the second major soccer game of my lifetime approached, this all became distraction. Despite attempts to not discuss the game or soccer (there was a pact involved; it was agreed upon), the real focus was the game. Where were we going to watch it? Should we bring our backpacks home or just go straight to the Lagerhaus and take our seats? Arriving in Bremen only an hour and a half before the game began was taking a risk. We were late. Where do we find seats? Luckily, Joan had saved seats. Under a roof. At first, seemingly unnecessary, but after a huge storm hit mid-game, the (relatively) dry Dickinsonians were all the more thankful for Joan’s efforts. For all the focus on keeping ourselves distracted, I can’t tell you much about the game. It was fascinating and compelling, nerve-wracking and horrific (I mean, why wasn’t there a goal in the first half?!). But it all became a blur, when The Roar happened. Most people don’t call it “The Roar”. Most people refer to it as the goal made by Mario Götze in the 113th minute (yes, that’s overtime, if you don’t know soccer). But the lived experience I now call “The Roar.IMG_5370” I couldn’t even hear myself screaming as I jumped up from my seat. And the roar was not just a moment; it repeated itself as the goal was replayed and everyone hugged one another. Only after the third or fourth replay did the roar become a rather large cheer. And then the cheering happened. The crowd, thousands of miles away from the game, wanted the German team to hold their ground. And so they cheered. The last minutes of the game became a resounding repetition of “Deutschland, Deutschland.” And then we won. The game was over. And we sang “Oh, wie schön” perhaps best translated as “Oh, how wonderful.” “Such a beautiful thing,” we all sang, “we had not seen in a long time.” A long time. And it was beautiful. Manuel Neuer told us we were world champions. And to celebrate we watched the ceremony and headed out onto the streets to celebrate more.

Academic Differences Between Dickinson and Uni Bremen.

While studying abroad at a different university, definite differences are apparent. Before coming to Uni Bremen, I expected classes to be fairly similar to Dickinson but just larger. I soon came to realize that this was not the only difference. First, let me list all of the academic differences I have noticed between Uni Bremen and Dickinson and then I will explain each one:
1. The class size
2. The students ages
3. The “homework” and graded “assignments”
4. Semester time-frame
5. Grading system
6. The professors
The class size, at Dickinson, will not exceed 60 students and it is not uncommon for a class to have only 5 students. At Uni Bremen; however, the class size is much larger on average. To have a class with less than 20 students is not as common as having a class with 100+ students. My largest class had about 150 students. And on that note, this class of 150 or so students were composed of 4 students in their 20s and the rest of the students were over 70 years of age. To have older adults as students is not uncommon. Thirdly, the assignments for classes at Uni Bremen have a different expectation than those given at Dickinson. At Uni Bremen, the assignments given throughout the semester are typically readings listed on the syllabus. These readings will either be posted online or the student must go to a local bookstore. These readings are not mandatory, but an aid. If the class consists of discussion then reading the listed assignment(s) is recommended but again not mandatory like Dickinson. The actual graded assignments do not come until the end of the semester as one large grade. This one grade is what the student will receive for the class. This grade can either be a test, a project, an oral presentation, or a 10-15 page paper depending on the professor. As for the actual grades, they are not based off of a “A, B, C, D, F” system, but rather a point system. This point system is 1-5 in which a 1 is a perfect grade and a 5 is failing. The professors will be understanding to those who are international students, but it is very rare for professors at a German university, such as Uni Bremen, to know the names of the students. This is mainly due to the fact that most classes have over 50 students, but also because the student-professor relationship does not work at Uni Bremen like it does at Dickinson. Another academic difference between Dickinson and Uni Bremen is attendance. Unless professors at Uni Bremen take attendance and make it an important issue to not miss classes, attendance is not taken as seriously as it is at Dickinson. Nevertheless, going to class is important! …but taken lightly by the majority of students. For one of my classes – that had no attendance requirement – there was a student who came to the last day to take the final exam… This student did not come to a single day of class throughout the semester. And lastly, as for the semester, the first semester (winter semester) begins late October/early November and ends in February as opposed to late August to December.
To those of you who find the differences to be intimidating, please do not be alarmed! These differences are very easy to adjust to ;-).