Before I arrived in Heidelberg, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the German intensive course at the Heidelberger Pädagogium. I was especially nervous because I had not had any in-person classes since March 2020. My first day was definitely interesting and not what I had expected. In my course, the teacher only spoke German and there were people of all ages here to learn the language. In the beginning there were only 6 students, but as the weeks went by, there were more new people. After our first introductions, I figured out I was the only person whose mother language was English; other people spoke Spanish, Ukrainian or Mandarin. That forced me to only speak German with everyone because no one else spoke English, which was good.
Once the class was over at 12:15 pm, I had quite a bit of homework due each day. When I went back to my WG, I tried to finish most of my homework. With the helpful notes I took, and the online tutorial for extra help, the homework was much easier to complete. Once the first week was over, I could tell my language skills were improving immensely. The teacher made us speak many times in each class and we had many conversations in German. Even though I was extremely shy and worried about my pronunciation, I felt like I did pretty well. From 8:50 am to 12:15 pm, Monday through Friday, I spoke more German than I had in the past year with online classes. After the first week of class, I had my own routine. I took an earlier tram at 8:15 am and went to Rieger’s bakery right next to the Pädagogium. Most days I ordered a Schoko croissant, which was delicious.
Since this intensive course was only 3 and a half hours a day, I had plenty of time to explore Heidelberg. In my opinion, Heidelberg is one of the prettiest cities in Germany. I went to the Altstadt almost every weekend and explored. I bought some new Birkenstocks and window shopped in many stores along the streets. Every time I went, I had to buy some chocolate gelato or ice cream as well.
Overall I had a great time in Heidelberg and I’m happy that I learned so much with the language program!
Hallo from beautiful Heidelberg! This year’s Dickinson in Bremen students, Kathryn Baker ’23 and Brendan Harlan ’22 spent all of September doing intensive language courses in Heidelberg, Germany as a part of the Durden Dickinson in Bremen (DiB) program. Students typically choose the city in which they do an initial four week language program, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a course in Heidelberg was found this year for Kathryn and Brendan.
Heidelberg is known for its medical community and historic city center. The Altstadt, an old section of the city established in the Romantic time period, has been largely preserved. The Schlossruine (castle ruins) tower above the Altstadt, while the Alter Brücke (old bridge) leads across the Neckar River to the the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Way), where key historical German figures have walked in the past, such as Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
Kathryn and Brendan had a great time exploring Heidelberg and appreciated the chance to begin their German immersion experience through exploring the city and engaging in their language classes. Both would love to return to the city again (especially because Brendan misses his favorite coffee shop, Kaffeezimmer, while Kathryn misses the croissants at Rieglers).
After the Breminale – Bremen’s annual music festival at the river Weser – had to be suspended last year due to the pandemic, the people of Bremen and everyone around can again look forward to 5 days full of music and other entertainment.
This year, however, with a slight twist: This summer, Bremen’s music festival runs under the name “Breminale – Dezentrale” (a phonetical wordplay – Dezentrale can be translated here as “decentralized”). Normally, the festival always takes place at the Osterdeich, directly next to the Weser, where every year a very long festival site is built. But this year, in order to comply with the COVID hygiene measures, the various acts take place in different places throughout the city.
What makes the festival so special is that it appeals to all age groups through its varied program, so that the whole city of Bremen can come together.
So finally again this year, from July 21 to July 25, 2021, the city of Bremen gets to enjoy a wide and diverse creative program filled with many different musical genres and bands from and outside of Bremen, which can be found here: https://breminale-festival.de/programm?tag=mittwoch
This year marks the 50th birthday of the University of Bremen. To celebrate half a century of Uni Bremen, the university offers a wide range of various events throughout the year.
The “50 reasons WHY” exhibition (in German: “WARUM? DARUM.”) throughout 50 different locations in Bremen, which started in March and will close in August, displays all of the achievements of people from and with the University of Bremen as well as where the Uni is involved and how it has changed Bremen since 1971. As of October, the exhibition will be brought together in the Lower Town Hall.
The fall program involves a wide range of research and teaching topics under the headline “CAMPUS CITY” which is scheduled from October 14, 2021 – 50 years to the day after the university was founded. More information about CAMPUS CITY will follow soon.
Moreover, Uni Bremen has set up the project “#IchBinUniBremen” (in English: “#IAmUniBremen”) in order to present the ‘human side’ of the University of Bremen: 50 different individuals affiliated with the University of Bremen give personal insights into its past, present and future. The project page and its social media sites can be found here:
Germany is opening up, and people are planning their vacation. We are hoping to explore sites and places with our students, rich in culture and history as well as vibrant and lively in the present. Here are some pictures from one of the trips we did to nearby Hamburg and Lübeck:
Right now, things are looking much brighter with regard to the pandemic, and we are hopeful that we will be able to travel again at some point. We are looking forward to offering rich academic excursions for our students again, one of them to Vienna. The broader theme of this annual trip is German-Austrian history and culture from the Middle Ages until today.
In introductory lectures, we follow the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, from Charles the Great (800) to the Napoleonic conquests (1806). We track the Habsburg dynasty (1273-1918) and the Austro-Hungarian k.u.k Monarchy, later: Austrian Empire (1804-1918), overlapping with the German Empire (1871-1918). With this information, the students can better understand our tours and exhibits and grasp the importance of Vienna as a former political and cultural center of Europe. Additionally, we indulge in the imperial glamour and culinary abundance of this beautiful city.
In recent years, we have visited Mozart’s house, the Sigmund Freud Museum, castles, and the United Nations Office Vienna. We saw productions in the world-famous Viennese Burgtheater, the Volkstheater or the opera and indulged in traditional delicacies as well as in the famous coffee house culture.
“In Vienna, we learned a lot about the history of Austria and by extension Germany. My favorite part of the trip was learning about the Hapsburg dynasty, and visiting the castle in which they lived. 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<
“What attracted me the most about Vienna was the vibe of the city. As a cultural center in Europe, Vienna has retained its historical memory and blended it with the bustle of modern society.” >Zhen Luo ‘18<
“Vienna has quickly become one of my favorite places in the world […] and within this gorgeous palace is the National Library. […] The best part of the tour for me was being able to see some selected books like a Gutenberg Bible up close and even touch it. My nerdy book-loving soul was close to exploding. The trip to the library was an absolute highlight of our trip for me.” >Meghan Straub ‘18<
At the Rhododendronpark in Bremen, visitors get to enjoy one of the largest collection worldwide of these unusual, beautiful flowers: The park offers over 1,000 types of Rhododendron and Azalea bushes stretched over 46 hectares of parkland!
We highly recommend you to visit the park in the month of May: During this time of year, the Rhododendron starts to come into full bloom and shows its many vibrant colors.
If you already want to have a sneak-peak, check out the park’s 360° tour:
Leandra Thiele holds a bachelor’s degree in English-Speaking Cultures and Linguistics from the University of Bremen and will soon complete her master’s degree in English-Speaking Cultures. She was an OSA (Overseas Student Assistant) in 2016-17 in the German Department at Dickinson College. For the Spring Semester 2021, she has returned to her old role as teaching assistant and is remotely teaching German 101 and 102 classes.
Leandra is also currently replacing the Dickinson-in-Bremen program coordinator Verena Mertz and is very happy to be back on the program.
She is looking much forward to be hopefully welcoming new Dickinsonians to the Uni Bremen campus in the fall!
Todd Bryant is an adjunct faculty member in the German department and the liaison to the foreign language departments for the department of instructional media services. He focuses on bringing authentic materials into the language class room, collaborative activities in new media, and exchanges with native speakers via Skype.
Prof. Pfannkuchen arrived at Dickinson in 2009. After living in Berlin, NYC and London, Carlisle was a bit of a change, but by now (and especially during the pandemic) small-town living has grown on her. At the moment, though, she is on leave as a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, finishing her manuscript “Printing the Invisible.” This book studies the beginnings of photography in the early 19th century and how they were connected to research in electricity and to romantic poetry.
Prof. Pfannkuchen came to German Studies indirectly after a first degree in “Kulturwissenschaften” (Cultural History) with a focus on media theories and a second master’s from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) exploring technological innovations. Her current work is informed by her continued interest in the media-technological state of our world. That’s why students in her courses with topics as diverse as “German-Jewish Culture,” “Goethe Forever!” or “The German Political Landscape” are taught to produce podcasts and videos, instead of merely consuming them.
Normally she is back in Germany at least twice every year with regular stays in Bremen, Berlin, and her hometown Dresden.