Dance in Bremen

by Shannon Vogel

At the University of Bremen, the Hochschulsport provides many fitness classes for students to take for a relatively low price. Dickinson will also reimburse you up to a certain amount to take these courses. You can see a list of past/current course offerings on their website, as well as when registration goes live for the upcoming semester. They offer several styles of dance, martial arts, team sports (volleyball, rugby, etc.) and yoga.

I took a Modern Jazz course this semester, where I got to meet several other Uni Bremen students. Our class had the opportunity to perform at the Breminale, a music festival in Bremen. The class focused on learning a few combos, as well as an entire choreographed dance.

While the Hochschulsport classes provide many options, they do follow the semester class schedule (generally the lecture period), which means the courses won’t run the entirety of the time you are in Bremen. For me, I arrived in February and left in August, but the Modern Jazz course only ran from April through July. Since I still wanted to dance/exercise for the entire semester, I found an independent ballet studio in the city. There are a lot of dance studios throughout Bremen, but the one I settled on was polkadotBallettStudios. I found their prices fair and the staff helpful. They offer modern and hip-hop classes as well, but they are primarily a ballet studio. I signed up to take classes twice a week, and really enjoyed it! I got to learn some new German vocabulary, as well as meet people my age who don’t study at Uni Bremen.

If you’re interested in a particular style of dance, I do recommend researching all of your options in Bremen, as there are many studios in the city.

Bremen Night Run

by Mac Tambussi ’23

On Friday, May 21st, Nick and I decided to participate in the Bremen Nachtlauf. The Nachtlauf translates to night run, which is a city-wide event, where many people in Bremen choose to run a 5K, 10K, or a half marathon. Nick and I decided to make a bold move which was to run a 10K. I personally have never run that much in one run before. And I for one can say I am not the best runner in the world. My rugby coach once said : “You’re a tackling machine, but you have the speed of a trashcan.” So, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous, but I was also excited.

For two weeks before the event, Nick and I decided it would be in our best interest to train. Each day we would tell each other how much we ran that day in preparation for the event. Soon enough, it was already game day. The weather was terrible. Super windy and rainy. Earlier in the day Nick and I made another bold move, which was to attend rugby practice. And almost immediately after rugby practice, we had to run the 10K.

The race was accelerating. We ran across a majority of Bremen. Even though I have been here already for almost 4 months, it was nice to get another tour of Bremen. It was one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done and I am proud to say that both Nick and I were able to complete it. Nick may have edged me out by a little bit, but I would say it was a pretty good competition.

After the race, our friend Andrew was there to cheer us on and celebrate with us. We had some beers and then headed home, where I treated myself to a homemade Philly Cheesesteak. This was also another awesome experience that I will never forget and I don’t think this will be my last 10K I run!

Photo credit: Durden Dickinson Bremen Program

Werder Bremen Parade

by Mac Tambussi ’23

The Werder Bremen parade was electric. For those who don’t know: Werder Bremen is the soccer team in Bremen that previously competed in the 2. Bundesliga. Last Sunday, for the final game of the season against Jahn Regensburg, they decisively destroyed Jahn Regensburg to obtain second place in the 2. Bundesliga, therefore getting promoted again to the First League!

Originally, I had intended on attending the game in person, but unfortunately, something went wrong with my tickets, and I wasn’t able to attend. Luckily, I, Nick, and Amanda went to one of our favorite local bars, Oililio, to watch the game. We had a blast watching Werder Bremen win and having a few beers!

After the game had ended, we decided to take the tram to the Bremen city district “Viertel” (“Quarter”) to see if the city was celebrating. It was an all-out party, with what I imagine most of the city of Bremen celebrating. It was awesome, everyone was singing, dancing, having beers, and there were even the occasional fireworks set off.

Later in the night, people started moving towards the end of the Viertel and we were not entirely sure why. It soon became apparent though because the entire Werder Bremen soccer team was coming through the city on a bus celebrating. They were having the times of their lives! After many hours of celebrating and meeting new friends, we all called it a night and headed back home. It was truly and electric experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Photo credit: Durden Dickinson Bremen Program

Going to a Werder Bremen Game

by Brendan Harlan ’22

A while ago, before the COVID numbers were spiking, I was lucky enough to see a Werder Bremen soccer match.

Going to a Werder Bremen game was on my bucket list of things to do while in Bremen and I’m incredibly glad that I got the opportunity to see Werder play. Words cannot describe how crazy experiencing a Werder game was for me. I’ve been to Red Sox – Yankees games before, where there’s a certain level of excitement and tension amongst the fans, but the atmosphere at Weserstadion and the experience of being amongst diehard Fußball fans was incomparable.

 

Video credit: Durden Dickinson Bremen Program

Bremen was rated as the most bicycle-friendly major city!

As reported by the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, the German Federal Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer (CSU), awarded the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany according to ADFC, the General German Bicycle Club. Here, Bremen leads among cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, ahead of Hanover and Frankfurt.

For this ninth city comparison, the bicycle club examined 27 aspects such as acceptance as a road user, public bicycles or the feeling of safety. Around 230,000 people took part in an online survey. “I want cycling to become energy, enjoyment and joie de vivre much more often again,” said Scheuer.

The full article can be found here:

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/menschen/bremen-als-fahrradfreundlichste-grossstadt-ausgezeichnet-17248124.html

Biking in Bremen 2019

by Jack Xia ’20

This is a verdict from a person who grew up in Beijing, a city of 20 million people. It is a recollection of my exchange semester at Bremen. To summarize, I want to show you how Bremen blossoms in different seasons. As the Germans say, there is no wrong weather, you’re wearing the wrong cloth.

Bremen was in its February winter when I arrived. The gloomy days and rainy weather definitely affected me in the early days. But I soon adapted after restocking my wardrobe with some wind breakers and rain proof jackets. I learned to compensate the rain with warm coffee or hot soup. Also, the weather makes studying inside GW2 and the Dickinson room more enjoyable because I appreciated the serenity much more. The mist and drizzle on the stone roads by the Roland statue add to Bremen’s charm as a romantic, fairy-tale city. The winter days passes slowly but surely. I noticed the sun sets at a later time too. Eventually the weather was warm enough that the flowers blossomed at the Botanika. I could walk to Rewe instead of biking. At one time, I woke up overheated because there was no air conditioning. In contrast to the weather, I had a much more predictable and reliable bike.

The relationship between my bike and myself would be best characterized as one of companionship. Our short but nonetheless unforgettable journey is one of love and pure enjoyment. And I have nothing but appreciation for it. My bike in the special army green livery has been more than forgiving. When I rode it back on a cold February day, it had a subtle presence of reliability and perseverance. Indeed, these are rare adjectives to be used for something as simple as a bicycle. But riding on that bike gave me a feeling of confidence and pureness, and I would trust it as a war horse. It’s that feeling when you get a used baseball glove or a pair of hockey skates from your dad or uncle; it wants you to use it, instead of treating it like a garage queen. Perhaps because of this sense of dependability, I decided to use my bike to its full potential. I had it serviced three times for tire and light change. Swapfiets is the Dutch company that I’ve rented my bike from for fifteen euros per month. It promotes the Danish love of bicycling through providing rental service in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Denmark. To standout and to relate to its Danish origin, Swapfiets’ bikes can be easily distinguished by the iconic front blue tire and the Dutch style bucket support on the front wheel. The word “Fiets” in Dutch means bicycle, which also rhymes with the English word “feet”. This self-explanatory name invites people to substitute their foot with bikes from the bike company.

In my humble opinion, biking in Bremen has been very enjoyable because of the relatively small size of the city. Tram 4 and 6 are the two trams that’s close to my WG. I follow number 6 to get to the inner city of Bremen and tram 4 to get to my gym. I usually follow the route to Schwachhauser Straße and turn left on Kirchbach Straße and with zigzagging in a community on to Fredrick Straße. My Thai boxing gym is located right by the station “Am Hulsberg”, so I follow this direction at least twice a week to train. At Carabao I became a friend to my trainer Julius, also a Uni Bremen student. We would talk about school, about our plans for future and just about anything and everything while we train. Being away from Germany, the good times of training in both English and German come back to my mind and remind me how Bremen has treated me so well.

Biking becomes even more enjoyable when it is a group activity. Together with Corson, James and Sandi, we explored so many parts of Bremen. We biked from the Osterdeich to the Westliches Hollerland. Eating out was also fun because we biked there together and back. While biking, I’ve learned that Bäckerei Otten has above the standard croissants, Eis Molin has amazing Nutella flavored ice creams and the Dim Sum Haus near the Hbf cures my lust for food from home. Some might expect Bremen to be homogenous in sense of culture. But I strongly disagree. The range of culinary experience one can find is surprising. To name a few, one can find authentic Greek, Turkish, Philipino and Afghani food.

A majority of my experience is closely attached with my bike. I enjoy biking. I enjoy the breeze when I pedal. I enjoy my control of the bike. I am able to capture and remember the neighborhoods, as I bike past the buildings, the bus stops and the ice cream parlors. In the present days when efficiency is so emphasized and applauded for, to bike is somewhat against this philosophy and to be different. I also ride bicycles in Beijing, but only as a mean of transport. In Bremen, however, biking becomes enjoyable and entertaining. Therefore, I hope to use this blog as a way to reflect and commemorate my six months in Bremen, as my memories are inseparable with my swap Fiets. And I wish to say goodbye and thank you to Bremen from the bottom of my heart. Good morning and good night Bremen, I hope to visit you again very soon.

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):

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 because RAF terrorist Wolfgang Grams shot himself in Bad Kleinen, although it was widely agreed that Seiters 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 for Runners

by Ben Soder ’19

Bürgerpark

Getting Started: Bremen is quite a nice city for running. The fields to the north of the city, the Bürgerpark, and trails along the Weser are great scenic places to train. Additionally, you will never share a busy road with cars, given the great biking/waking infrastructure in the city. All in all, you can’t go wrong running in Bremen!

 

 

Here are links to some good runs from the apartments on Spittaler Strasse:

5 miles through Blockland: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200125871

Run to the 1 mile race course in the Burger Park (soft surfaces): https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200129711

10 mile run through Bremen: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200133767

Stadtwaldsee (lake with great swimming): https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200135885

These are some good starting points that will lead to areas of Bremen that are definitely worth exploring. One of my favorite things to do while abroad in Bremen was to find new places to run. Don’t be fooled when you step off your train or bus when you first get to Bremen… There is much more to the city than the Hauptbahnhof!

 

Cross Country/Track in Germany:

Now, the previously mentioned routes are great and all, but you will get very bored out there running alone. There is no track or cross-country program affiliated with the University of Bremen. Instead of running for the University, you will have to join a club if you want to join a formal team. Of all the clubs in Bremen, your best option is ATS-Buntentor. Marian Skalecki coaches a competitive group cross country and track runners. For further information, visit the Buntentor website (https://www.atsbuntentor.de/sportangebot/laufen.html) and/or contact Marian (Director Ludwig has the email address). The German Cross-Country season starts in October, so if you would like to compete, it is recommended that you come in with at least some summer base training and join the team immediately when you get to Bremen in late September/early October. This club is not only a place to train and compete, but also a great place to work on your German skills and meet some awesome people!

Besides, the Bremer Nachtlauf (Bremen Night Run) happens every May – a great, friendly, fun event. Dickinson students have joined and ran 5 or 10 k through the city center. Up-to-date infos on other running competitions in Bremen and vicinity can be found here: http://www.runme.de/wettkaempfe/bremen/

 

Wir sind Werder Bremen!

by Helen Schlimm

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Ira, Carol, Phoebe, Helen (fr. left t. right)

I don’t believe that a true German study abroad experience would be complete without attending a real soccer game and finding oneself in the middle of the beautiful madness that is this nation’s most beloved sport. The spirits were certainly high, and the stakes were even higher at the recent Werder Bremen game against Stuttgart, with a loss guaranteeing a drop into the second league for Bremen. Despite signs protesting Monday-evening games, excitement, tension and anticipation amongst the green and white fans filled the entire stadium. The next 90 minutes were action-packed, astonishing and thrilling as Werder flattened Stuttgart 6-2, and no Bremer could have been happier! Strangers were hugging strangers, everybody was cheering, chanting, singing and proudly holding their Werder scarves high! It was such an incredible atmosphere and a really fun game of Fußball to follow. The entire city was united by this win in that stadium, and it was so exciting to be a part of the soccer culture that is so fundamentally German. Werder Bremen Olé! Lebenslang grün-weiß!

imago-23826221_201605030743_full

“Stoppen” – from left to right: Janine Ludwig (under the “O”), Ira (under the left “P”), Carol (betw. the “Ps”) Phoebe (under the right “P”), Helen (under the “E”)

P.S.: Eventually, in the very last game of the season, on May 14, 2016, Werder secured its continuance in the 1st league / Erste Bundesliga (“Klassenerhalt”) by winning 1:0 against Frankfurt. Hooray! “Nie mehr Zweite Liga!”