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Germany – More than I could have imagined!: Beckie Bomberger, undeclared major

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Posted: September 5, 2013

This experience has broadened my cultural values and ideas...

A trip to Germany has always been on my to-do list; however, I never thought I would have the opportunity to do a study abroad there. This experience has broadened my cultural values and ideas. Many things I learned on this trip I can apply in the future.

Munich is a great city to visit to get the full German culture. The Deutsches Museum was very confusing but exploring was very interesting. The museum had many famous historic monuments in which I was able to make connections from previous history classes. The McDonald’s in Munich seemed very classy to me and it was interesting to learn about the education system there and how it is easy to “climb the ladder” to a higher position.

The Viktualienmarkt was fascinating to walk through. The variety of things you could buy baffled me. Even farmers markets in Pennsylvania come nowhere close to the variety the market offers. Trying traditional German food was quite an adventure for me as I can be a little bit picky with meats but I liked most of the foods we had.

Visiting the dairy farms in Germany was really interesting, espeically to see the technology. It was also interesting to see the different types of cows they use for milk production so that they also can use them for meat production. The robotic milking parlor was the highlight of all the farms; I could not believe how high tech it was. I also liked the Carousal but I thought that working in one would probably make me dizzy.

Schloss Nymphenburg and the Heidelberg castles were both exciting and beautiful to see. They both contributed a historically to the trip. It was also really cool to be able to connect the historic events we learned about at the palace and castle to what I learned in my German history class. BombergerGermany2.pngI was even able to connect styles of art and architecture to the time periods of German history.

During free time in Munich we went to the English gardens and the Olympic stadium. The gardens were beautiful and it was amazing to see what people like to do during their free time on a beautiful day. We found people playing many different sports, sun bathing on the grass, relaxing at the beer gardens, even surfing. The amount of bikers was overwhelming and made me realize that people are more aware of conserving energy on a regular basis then they are in the US.

The town of Heidelberg was really very neat. You can easily tell it caters to a younger crowd from all the shops and schools but it was still very historic looking. Learning about the churches and the connection to Martin Luther and the Lutheran church was very interesting. Across the Neckar River up the Philosophers’ way was an amazing view to see. The whole city could be seen as well as Mannheim in a distance.

Talking to the students at University of Hohenheim was another highlight of the trip. They seemed very interested in having us there and learning about our education system in the US just as we were in the German system. The University was beautiful with the castle and rich history behind it. It was also neat to find out that the University started out as an agricultural school just like Penn State did.

The John Deere plant was a lot more than I expected. Unfortunately I don’t know much about tractors, cars or any sort of automobile so I was not able to follow along as well but my favorite part to see was the paint machines. It was very cool to see the old tractors and logos of John Deere too. Ritter sport chocolate also reminded me of John Deere because of the assembly line and production was, just with chocolate. Ritter sport also surprised me in its size and production. The sanitation also shocked me, I would diffidently feel safe eating their chocolate!

I feel like my communication, problem solving, and time management skills developed from this experience. Communicating with people from the area gave way to a lot of new thoughts, ideas and a look into the culture of Germany. In Germany there was a lot of strategizing or problem solving to do whether it was figuring out what way of transportation to take, keeping track of money or even what to do for the day. I felt like time management was really put to the test on the trip because of how strict and busy our schedule was. Time management also worked parallel to problem solving when it came to figuring out where to go during free time, what transportation to take and how to budget time for each.

If I was telling an employer about the trip I would explain to them about learning how energy efficient they are in Germany from manure management to reusable energy. I would also explain the research going on at BASF and the advanced technology they use. Even simple methods of conserving resources such as getting money back when an item is recycled can greatly reduce the amount of pollution and waste of plastics. I would also tell them about how the trip increased my appreciation for the culture and tradition as well as introducing me to new ideas and outlooks.

I really liked that we spent time in Munich which was very traditional and rich in culture and then went to Heidelberg which was more of a younger generation. This gave two completely different views of Germany and was very interesting to compare them. I also thought it was really interesting to see the technology on the farms and even the architecture of the barns. The castle and palace we visited were another of my highlights with more of a historical touch. I found BASF to be very interesting and was diffidently a highlight on the science and technology side of the trip.

If I could change anything about the trip it would be to make it two weeks instead of ten days. Our schedule was so busy to fit in all the things we did it would have been nicer to have a little bit more time over there. I also would have liked to travel to more places in Germany.

I would travel anywhere after this trip but I would especially love to go back to Germany. As far as study abroad goes I would love to do a pre-vet/animal science or even something related to plant science related program.

After this trip I would definitely consider doing another study abroad as well as visiting Germany once again. This trip was a great opportunity to travel and learn about new ideas, traditions, and cultures. I experienced and learned so many things that I can apply in the future.