Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Well, our last day at the International Summer University was a grand day. The day began with our final yoga class. Later, students gave presentations about their experiences regarding international culture competence and revealed that many times stereotypes about people from foreign countries are not often true. Students enjoyed their afternoon away from school activities and enjoyed their last hours of daylight in Osnabruck (our football match was canceled, but I still got my ice (German for ice cream). For the evening, students and faculty traveled to the Artland Brahaus about 35km outside of Osnabruck. Students were given a tour the grounds which has and continues to be a family owned farm since 1773. Three years ago, a brewery began and has become a successful small business. After a final traditional German dinner of ham, gravy, potatoes, and cole slaw; an evening program began, which included a slide show of pictures/highlights of ISU; students were given their certificates from their specialization faculty; and a sing along program was enjoyed by all with Dr. Mayer on the accordion. After the evening, students and faculty began the long process of saying goodbye and many students reported tears being shed back at the hotel. The next morning (Saturday-Aug 14th) saw the departure of our five American students and one faculty. After nearly 18hrs of traveling we made it back to Indianapolis to go our separate ways...as changed individuals, ready to share our experience with others.
Dr. Brandon Eggleston
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to have dinner with a German colleague, Johannes Grundmann, at the local Brahaus (Restaurant/brewery). Dinner was outstanding (my second time there) as I enjoyed the pork loin with a mushroom gravy served with a German hash brown cake, and a delicious as well as hearty mixed veggie/pasta salad. My idea of a traditional German meal is to have pork (sometimes beef) with lots of gravy and potatoes (preferably fried). It's not healthy, but it rivals many of the best comfort meals in the United States. More importantly though, Johannes and I have discussed the possibility of him visiting to lecture in Evansville to USI Health Professions students (especially graduate students studying health administration). We are excited about the possibility of both faculty and student exchange between our universities regarding health administration/hospital management and public health. Indeed, the theme that I keep coming to as my time ends in Osnabruck is "We've only just begun" which describes the possibilities between USI and Univ. of Applied Sciences-Osnabruck. And mom, yes that is a band aid above my right eye, I bumped my head on a door as I was giving my final exam. Thirty-two and still clumsy after all these years. No worries though, mom, I'm fine.
Today, Thursday, we went to Essen and toured an old coal mine that previously was the area's economic powerhouse and is now a museum with shops, restaurants, and even...wait for it....a free swimming pool? Yes, I was surprised to see many young children swimming where coal was mined for a century. After another "traditional" German meal, which we all enjoyed and become a bit sleepy from, we were off to the University Hospital. The University Hospital in Essen was amazing. We first were greeted with caffeinated refreshment (much appreciated) and a short overview of the hospital's many treatment, teaching, and research programs. We then went a wonderful tour of the hospital campus and observed the many different buildings of specializations ranging from children's oncology, organ transplantation, neurosurgery, cardiovascular care, and other health services. Indeed the campus's facilities were first rate and we are truly understanding the strengths and challenges of the German Health Care System (too much for one blog post...you'll have to take my course next summer :)
Tomorrow we finish our last full day, which begins with a final yoga class, continues with intercultural competence, a farewell dinner at a different brewery restaurant, and our football rematch. As the students easily beat the faculty in our first match in Belgium (which was played in a small field at a rest stop on our way back from Paris). I feel ready as I was a bit rusty and had not played competitive football (soccer) since I was....seven years old. Now with 25 years of rust removed and local German ice cream on the line for the victor, I feel ready. I hope to enjoy the next couple days before I return to that Indiana heat and humidity.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
For week three (the final week), students spent Monday through Wednesday finishing their course specialization (public health, marketing, or business), took their exams in their specialization, Germany in Europe, and German language. On Monday and Wednesday students had a chance to visit a local indoor pool/water park in the evening. Students were surprised at the quality of the facilities at the water park and were excited to return on Wednesday evening. The weather has been very fair in our time in Osnabruck (it rains every other day), but their is very little humid and the low temp is about 55F and the highs range from 63-75F.
On Tuesday, public health students had a chance to visit a local private hospital in Osnabruck. The facilities were very comparable to the USA without the excessive construction/rooms/amenities that many modern hospitals have, which explains partly why they are not having as much difficulty in managing health care costs. A private wing is available at the hospital for the wealthy who have private health insurance (about 10% of the German population).
Thursday we head to Essen, the culture capital of Germany, for a day trip. Friday we finish with international culture presentations and in the evening the farewell dinner/reception will be held at a nearby restaurant/brewery outside of Osnabruck. Saturday we depart early (7:45am) for the airport and return to Indy at 8:17pm local time (2:17am in Osnabruck).
But we still have a few days to finish our intercultural experience.
Monday, August 9, 2010
This past weekend we went to Paris for our second study trip. We arrived in Montemarde on Friday evening and went out for a nightcap and enjoyed the beautiful view of Paris from Sacre Coeur. Saturday we had a wonderful guided bus tour of Paris followed by a wonderful lunch near the Arch de Triumphe. For the afternoon we spent one hour on cruise on the river Seine and soaked up some sunshine. The early evening was spent walking the streets of Paris to the Cathedral of Notre Dame ad we caught part of the Saturday evening mass. After a late dinner and shower back at the hotel, I returned to the Eiffel Tower late Saturday night with a few students. We went up to the second viewing deck, and saw why Paris is called "The City of Lights". The long Saturday was topped off with a delightful nutella and banana crepe or wonderful creamy ice cream... or both :) Sunday myself and eight students woke up early and went to the Louvre to get in line early. We were able to get their right as the museum opened and take a quick two hour stroll through the amazing halls of history of art and humanities. Alas by noon we were back on the bus, ready for our long drive back to Osnabruck and to begin our final week of study in Germany. An amazing weekend was had by all who learned a bit about one of the most famous cities in the world and perhaps a bit about themselves.
Students are doing well with their classes and keeping busy, and getting a crash course about time management; being flexible and independent; and perhaps appreciating the opportunities that they have in life.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
To finish week two's academic segment we visited one of the largest ship builders in the world in Papenburg Germany. We were able to take a tour of the facility and see their three areas of ship construction including a near completed 336 meter long Disney Mega Cruise Ship (3.5 football fields long!). The facilities were amazing and the tour was given by a delightful and jolly retired engineer whose energy and vigor were contagious. Later next week, public health students will view a local hospital and see first hand how the German health care system functions in a private hospital. It will be a wonderful end to our final week. But first we must travel to Paris for the weekend. "Que Sera, Sera...What ever will be, will be".
Off to Paris,
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Week 2 of the International Summer University is perhaps the most intense week for students regarding their individual course specialization (international marketing, business, or public health). All students participant in the international cultural competency and German language/culture course. However, the specialization requires the students to explore how different cultures must work and learn together (for each specialized area). Students do have a little free time this week to catch up on laundry, reading, and perhaps seeing Osnabruck. Tuesday faculty made dinner together (from scratch) at the home of Professor Griese (Kai). We enjoyed Käse Spätzle which is homemade pasta/dough (which we made) that is bolied for only a few minutes. Then it is placed in a large dish and combined in alternate layers with cheese and little butter. The three types of cheese were all of the "real" and carried a "strong" odor. In the end it was delicious dinner and a delightful evening to celebrate our halfway point for the International Summer University. This weekend we go to Paris to expand our knowledge and experience of a new international culture in Paris. However, Wednesday we visit the world's largest covered ship construction site where they build the world's largest cruise ships.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30th we took a bus to Wolfsburg to the Autostadt (auto city) where the Volkswagen plant is. This is a planned city that was constructed entirely around Europe's largest automobile factory (50,000+ employees, 2nd largest in the world). They produce over 3,000 vehicles a day. We had the opportunity to go on a guided tour of the exhibit halls and pavilions, and then went on a tour of the factory itself. It was fascinating to see how technology, science, and sociology could create this magnificent city. Afterward, we hopped back on the bus and drove the final three hours to Berlin where we had dinner and the went to the top of the TV Tower (around 70 stories) to observe the lights and sights of Berlin. Simply amazing. Prof. Griese (Kai) treated me to a Turkish delight, "Chicken Doner" after our evening in Berlin. A "doner" is a grilled pita bread stuffed with shaved/sliced chicken (like lamb on gyro) and then loaded with many Turkish favorites such as lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, onion, and your favorite yogurt sauce (See the pictures).
Saturday we went on a guided tour of Berlin and saw so many of the hundreds of wonders of this old city (780 years is something compared to the USA). After a relaxing lunch and trip back to "America" at the Hard Rock Cafe, we went on another guided tour of the German Parliament (Congress) building. Again, it was amazing to see the combination of old (original building with WWII Allies writing their names on the wall in paint-still easily to see) and the modern glass/steel reconstruction and magnificent eco-friendly open dome. A sight for historians, engineers, architects, environmental scientists, and tourists alike to enjoy and wonder at. For evening we went to the progressive area of the city, which felt as diverse as any area I have seen in Europe (lots of young people enjoying their Bohemian lifestyle and progressive ideologies). Dining outside truly has its advantages for conversation and people watching.
Today, (Sunday), we go on our own by bicycle to discover and explore Berlin.
"I'm a Berliner" now.