Sad Good-Bye in Corona Times

Janine Ludwig

Despite the rapid developments in the Covid-19 crisis and although some students had already left Bremen, we still had a small farewell dinner in the prestigious Bremer Ratskeller to say good-bye in a proper fashion.

Besides, we are still working flat out to get everyone home safely and to insure academic conintuity, t.i. to help each student to still make the most of this very unusual semster. Preparations for online courses are underway!

Nature Ranking: University of Bremen among the best worldwide

© University of Bremen

International top spot for the University of Bremen in natural sciences – Their scientists are among the best from young universities worldwide. The renowned Nature Index ranks them 18th of 175 universities under the age of 50. The Nature Index 2019 Annual Tables highlights the institutions and countries which dominated research in the natural sciences in 2018. The ranking provides important criteria for benchmarking universities and research facilities, and therefore indicates the international research quality.

“I am delighted that the University of Bremen has achieved such a good ranking worldwide and at the same time holds the top position among the young German universities,” says Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter, Rector of the University of Bremen. “This shows how strong our scientists are in research.”

Top-quality research output in Earth and environmental sciences 

In the special field Earth and environmental sciences the University of Bremen takes the 3rd place, leading the group of the 14 young universities from Germany. Professor Michael Schulz, director of MARUM – center for Marine and Environmental sciences of the University of Bremen, is pleased by the top spot: “The research with focus on ocean, polar, and climate sciences is top notch in Europe.”


More information under:

Finding a WG

by Liam Pauli ’21

In deciding to come to Bremen for the fall semester, I thought a lot about the chance to live in a Wohngemeinschaft (WG), a shared flat with other German students. It was an opportunity that I felt I could not refuse, but I assumed that since I was leaving Germany in January, it would be hard to make that living situation work. It was not until this past June when Ms. Mertz, our Dickinson-in-Bremen program coordinator, emailed us recommending that we try to live in a WG. I thought it would be a good idea, so I pursued it.

From the links she provided us (here below), I chose to apply through From approximately 15 WG applications, I got six replies, with one being my final choice. And it was probably the best decision I have made in Bremen so far. My WG is near the University of Bremen in the Studentenwohnheim on Vorstraße, which is a great location to commute from by bike to the university (and my bike was left to me by the former occupant of my room). The guy who used to live in my room is studying abroad as well, which made it very easy for me to live in his room while he is away (these types of rooms are called “zur Zwischenmiete”). The 6 tram line is a 5 minute walk from my WG, which gets me directly downtown in approximately 15 minutes.

I have five flatmates, four of which are German, and they speak German with me every day and correct me when needed. It’s great to have other people around too, but it’s also really nice to have my own furnished (möbliert) room and space. Our WG gets along really well and we have a chore list that we rotate through each week. Every week on Sundays, a different person cooks for everyone to have a Sunday “family” dinner. WG life really gets you immersed in the German culture by seeing how Germans, and specifically German students, live, eat, speak, and go about their daily lives. I would highly recommend living in a WG to anyone considering living in one. (scroll to the end to find free rooms) (scroll to the end to find free rooms) (scroll to the end to find free rooms) (scroll to the end to find free rooms) (scroll to the end to find free rooms)

THE ranking: University of Bremen once again among the 50 best young universities worldwide

© University of Bremen

The University of Bremen is once again confirmed to be among the world’s top 50 young universities. This is the result of the latest “Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Ranking 2018”. Bremen is ranked on place 34 among the 250 listed universities.

Especially good in research

Various indicators are measured in the categories of teaching, research, the frequency of scientific citations, third-party funding from industry and the internationality of students and staff. The indicators evaluate key statistics in these categories. In the case of quality measurement, statistical ratios such as staff per student or the number of completed doctoral theses are also compared. The University of Bremen was able to improve its results in most categories. Particularly noteworthy is the result in the category research. Here, the University of Bremen was able to improve by 11.5 points on the previous year.

The President of the University of Bremen, Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter, is naturally pleased with the result: “It is very encouraging to see that we moved forward in 2018 as well. This shows that the University of Bremen conducts teaching and research at a high level.”

More information under:!/page/1/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats



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!





Program review of the year 2009/10 – the first under new leadership

Picture Janine Ludwig

Dr. Janine Ludwig

“Change” is possibly the best word to describe our last year here in Bremen, and so much has happened that we are unable to put it into one paragraph. First, Dr. Janine Ludwig took over as as new Academic Director of the program; the former director for one year, Carl Wege, took the chance to lead a research project in Bielefeld. After Dr. Ludwig, accompanied and assisted by Jens Schröder, a Bremen student and Program Coordinator since 2008, made an introductory visit to Dickinson at the end of September, during which we had many meetings and talks with different departments and people, we came back with a basket full of contacts, plans, ideas, requests and wishes. So we slowly started to restructure the program in order to meet these new challenges, to establish closer ties with the University of Bremen, and to improve the overall quality of our students’ stays.

We started small by first improving the Dickinson Room, which acts as our office and is also the place where our students can work and spend time between classes. We are now able to show movies, to invite people or parents over, and to hold video conferences and meetings there. Additionally, we created a media presence around our program, most visibly through our collective blog, where students also have the chance to upload pictures and videos. Of course, we are on Facebook as well ;-).

Dr. Ludwig designed an immensely rich and deep course for our Dickinson and Uni Bremen students that spans 300 years of transatlantic history: “Comparative Cultures – USA/Germany” that is part of the German major and listed as German 340 (please see:

Students with Dr. Carsten Sieling

Furthermore, Dr. Ludwig enhanced and enriched our excursions with stronger academic and historical content, matching students’ general academic interests. Whereas our first excursion to Vienna more generally presented the history of Germany, Austria and Europe, the next field trips where specifically designed according to student interests and majors: in Berlin, for example, we met with the German parliament representative from Bremen, Dr. Carsten Sieling, for a talk about the financial situation in Bremen and the economic crisis.

We also met with Hans-Ulrich Klose, a high-ranking politician and former major of Hamburg, who now serves as the federally appointed Transatlantic Coordinator for German-American partnership. Both visits gave the students unique insight into German politics. On our last excursion, to Brussels, we met with Dr. Helga Trüpel, a Member of the European Parliament who talked about Bremen’s relation to and role within the EU parliament. We visited the EU parliament, the embassy of Bremen and – of course – the Atomium. In each city we also tried to create a balanced program for the students, including time to pursue their own interests and to get to know life in the city itself.

At home, we intensified our ties with the University of Bremen. Very helpful in this process is the new head of the International Office here at the University, Dr. Annette Lang. Our closer cooperation led for example to an invitation for our Dickinson students to attend a private discussion with Auma Obama, half-sister of President Barack Obama. Dr. Ludwig contacted and continues to meet with many people at Uni Bremen, making our program – which formerly had been best known to students from Cultural Studies – more widely known and present on campus and in various departments. Last but not least: Our own cooperation agreement was also renewed this July. President Bill Durden and Rector Wilfired Müller signed the improved agreement which also served as a “birthday” present for our program – this year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our partnership.

From left to right: Elke Durden, Sarah McGaughey, Janine Ludwig, Bill Durden

A telling sign of the strong relationship between Bremen and Dickinson followed in early July: the first presentation of an honorary degree in Dickinson’s history outside the United States! German writer and poet Günter Kunert was

Poet Günter Kunert (right)

conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters here at the University, led by President Durden and attended by Rector Müller, Professor McGaughey (of the Dickinson German Department), students, friends of Dickinson College and members of the university.

But we cannot forget our core responsibility of the program – our students. Among other things, Dr. Ludwig helped our student Kelsey Power to secure an internship at the Psychology Department here in Bremen. For a semester she was involved with the daily routine of the clinic and part of a team that performed diagnostic and therapy sessions as well as statistical tests to generate IQ scores. A valuable insight for a psychology major! (

Besides their studies, the students followed their different interests. Andrew Shuman joined a local soccer club where he could continue practicing, as did Braeden Eastman and Thomas Vari with ultimate frisbee; other students went to festivals and travelled across Europe. Brent Te Velde, a program student from Trinity University, was able to enter the music conservatory here in Bremen and continued playing the organ in several nearby churches. And, of course, all students became huge fans of Werder Bremen, the professional local soccer club. They went to matches and training, bought jerseys, and collected autographs. This experience was only topped by the World Cup, where they celebrated every victory Paul the Octopus predicted in the streets with thousands of other Germans, doing so – most importantly – in German and with the German friends they made!