Internship at Psychotherapeutic Children’s Clinic

by Kelsey Power

For the last few weeks, I have been interning at a child psychology clinic associated with the University of Bremen. It is run by one of the main child psych professors at the University, Frau Prof. Dr. Petermann. Many of her students do internships with her before they graduate; this is Pflicht, or a requirement, of German students.

Anyhow, I had sent out a resume and information about myself thinking “oh, this is a long shot” because I knew there was something else that I wanted to do with Psych outside of taking classes. A month went by, and I heard no reply, so I assumed that my application had been denied; however, three days later, I received a call from Dr. Petermann’s secretary to come in for an interview. Part of me wanted to pretend I never received the call because it meant that I had to actually put myself out there and use my German in a scary, real-life job-like atmosphere. Instead, I faced my fears and went in for the interview. At the interview table sat Dr. Petermann and her three Psychologists in the clinic. THREE NATIVE GERMAN SPEAKERS who were going to interview me…. I almost peed in my pants. Instead, I said to myself “well, Kels. Here goes nothing”. They kept smiles on their faces, even though I knew my German wasn’t perfect. And, everything worked out.

On Mondays and Thursdays, I get to watch therapy sessions and diagnostic sessions for children throughout the city; they are from 3-10 normally and have social issues or cognitive impairments. The other students/ interns are very welcoming, and they let me shadow them on serious assignments. It has been a great experience to see 1) a real life setting in which Psychology is used and 2) to put my German in a job context. I am really quite glad I didn’t run away from this opportunity, but I think after this year abroad, one gets used to being outside of their comfort zone. And sometimes, it is a great place to be.

Auma Obama

by Aimee Laubach ’11

On March 18th, we were fortunate enough to have attended a talk given by President Obama’s sister, Auma Obama. It was held at Jacobs University, a private, international, but English-speaking university located 20 minutes (by train) outside the city of Bremen. There were fewer than 30 people in attendance, making it a more intimate experience.

Auma Obama and Prof. Dr. Joachim Treusch, President of Jacobs University

Auma Obama first gave her biographical background. She was born and raised in Kenya, but then came to Germany to study at the University of Heidelberg and proceeded to get her PhD at the University of Bayreuth. Auma Obama spent most of her time talking about her efforts as a development worker in Kenya in addition to her views on the value of education. She works as a Sport for Social Change Network Coordinator in Nairobi. Sport for Social Change Initiative is an organization whose goal is to use the convening power of sports as a way to minimize the effects of poverty on marginalized youth and young adult populations. Obama expressed that, in her opinion, education can help young people identify their potentials and give back to the community. According to Auma Obama, students must use their education as a means for finding themselves and what it is that they are meant to do in life, while still taking responsibility for society.

I was sort of surprised that she did not once mention her brother, Barack Obama, but was delighted to hear her speak about her own life and her own work. In my opinion, it meant that she did not have to use her brother’s fame and importance to feel accomplished and successful. And her insight about education made me reevaluate and think about the importance of my education.

Auma Obama in discussion with students from both universities

Dickinson Reise to Wien

On February 9th, the Dickinson group left Bremen for an even colder Vienna, Austria, for a 5-day stay. Despite the bitter cold and snow, the sights in Vienna were really quite exceptional. In fact, even though I complained about it at the time, I think the white stuff enhanced the look of the already-beautiful buildings. No, it definitely did. Aside from amazing, Baroque-style buildings, we certainly were spoon-fed dosage after dosage of culture. From cathedral and museum visits to plays at the theater, we certainly experienced the Viennese culture. Among the highlights were trips to the Schatzkammer, a treasury which houses the priceless collection of ornately-designed jewels and crowns and robes and lances and goblets from the Holy Roman Empire and old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, which is easily the largest library in Austria as it holds 7.4 million works in its collection and is also lavishly decorated in the Baroque style with frescoes and marble pillars and, well, marble everything.

During our free day, I opted to head out to the Zentralfriedhof (it’s a big cemetery) and pay my respects to the classical-music Gods. Armed with my iPod (which was conveniently playing Beethoven and Mozart), I walked the grounds and saw the graves of Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss, and then a memorial to Mozart (he’s actually buried in a mass grave in a smaller graveyard nearby, which I did visit as well). The stroll around the cemetery was only made better by the constant snowfall, which delicately covered the evergreens and graves and made the place seem not as sullen, but at the same time, I was reminded of my location by the muffled sounds of the city from the snow and the desolate feel that can sometimes accompany winter. It was quite cool. The one surprise from my visit was the discovery of Johann Hans Hölzel’s grave. In life, Mr. Hölzel was an Austrian composer of sorts but was more commonly known as the pop musician Falco. His many hits include most notably “Rock Me Amadeus,” which you can hear below, if you so choose. I felt it odd that this man was bumping elbows with Beethoven in death while the man about whom he sang in life rested a couple miles away. Of course, I’m not really complaining, and actually, I kicked myself at the time for not having at least one of his songs on my iPod.

The last thing about Vienna that I will briefly mention is the food, for it is so good. Specifically, Wiener Schnitzel-Vienna’s speciality-is a thin slice of heaven (a fried cutlet of veal or pork) and should be consumed by each and every one of you before you die (unless you happen to be a vegetarian, of course). I could talk about much more, for the trip to Vienna was certainly a great experience, but really, I can only use beautiful and incredible so many times before I start sounding boring and redundant.