Friday, December 20, 2013

Mercedes Benz
By Francisco Merayo
Mercedes Benz is a well-known automotive company with headquarters in Stuttgart. Last week we visited the museum. The museum is a not very tall building that changed the shape while going up. It was covered with black glass, which gave it a nice contrast with the aluminum that was around the windows.
After went inside the museum and went through security we took an elevator that took us to the eighth floor and the guide started his job. He told us about the first engines Karl Benz designed first and the imperfections that they had. Later on we walked next to the first models produced and we could see the change with a timeline made with cars.
The second big room was about the classic luxury cars. These cars were huge and designed to be in the back seat instead of driving. In this room we saw the progression into the three points star. For the brand the detail is important not only because the importance of a symbol like the Mercedes star also because now we all can identify the brand with the symbol.

The next two rooms were focused on the after WWII designs and the progression of the brand in the first half of the twentieth century. The following room showed sports cars. They have a 1954 300 SL which is one of the more famous cars if we focus on the history of the brand. The 300 SL had a very special look, I like this car because many reasons but one of the most important ones is the leather color. Red is not a very good color for the interior of a car, but the exterior design I don’t know why made the leather looks in perfect balance and harmony. It was the first time I saw one in real life in my life and the experience to see something so pretty that have survived so many years and still looking like brand new talks very good about Mercedes Benz.

Another interesting room was the competition room. Mercedes Benz won two years in a row the World Formula One Championship with Fangio as the driver. But after some fatal accidents the brand wanted to stop relating themselves with dead people for the racing. They showed the silver arrows in a timeline that looks like a circuit. We were told about how Mercedes Benz formula one team ended up with a silver car and was a very interesting story and a very sharp way to avoid the weight problem by taking the car paint away.

In general the museum told the story of a company that through the years knew how to do well. I am sure that in the future the company will get bigger and we will be able to enjoy their fantastic cars. We saw a room about electric cars a hybrids, that is the future of the automotive industry.  That’s why this museum was good because we saw how the industry started how they developed the present of the brand and a little part of the future.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Heidelberg Service Learning

By Ylda Sellers

"Eine halb tasse de kaffee bitte" the gentleman said as he motioned towards the coffee machine for me; "Mitt milch?" I asked while pouring his cup of coffee. When he realized he had a shocked look on his face, he quickly changed it to a smile and with ease replied, "ja."
I understood the man's confusion the ladies who normally worked at Manna we're telling everyone that I didn't speak much German. So when I was able to comprehend and reply to the gentleman's request in German I would not have expected him to act any differently! Now the ladies clearly were not telling everyone who came in that I didn't speak German in order to make me seem inept, rather for them to know that I most likely would be having a little bit of difficulty understanding. Having a preconception in regards to Manna from other students that had previously gone, when we arrived I was nervous. I had been told that the people that went for breakfast were not the friendliest group of people; from my own experience I have a very different opinion. The folks that came were some of the nicest Germans I have ever met.
Back home I tend to do a lot of community service with all the different organizations that I am involved with but also because to graduate from UIW one most have completed forty five hours’ worth of community service in order to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. Know this sounds as though I only do it because I have to, and to some respect if I did not have it as a requirement or it being part of my obligations to my organizations I probably would not. Now this also does not go with saying that when I do perform community service I love doing it. So going to Manna was great, it really helped put me in my place. Like everyone it is so easy to get caught up in miniscule details of life that really have absolutely no grander matter of importance than the moment we are living in. Going to Manna I was put into perspective and made me truly grateful for what I have, not only the materialistic objects in my life but also the grand love I have waiting for me back home, and the fact I have a home to go back to.

Most of people that came into Manna that morning were not necessarily homeless but some of the folks were. Now back in the states when I have gone to soup kitchens to serve, the homeless folks back are very different from the folks here. The folks here are very nicely dressed to the point that if you did not know this person you probably would not realize that they are facing any kind of hardship financially at least. Also back home the majority of folks that would come into the soup kitchen would act as though we owed it to them to serve and give them food, while at Manna the folks were absolutely grateful that they were getting treated nicely. All in all the  main lesson I learned from going to Manna was that no matter what walk of life someone comes from everyone wants the same thing and that is to be treated with respect. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

International Food Night: PB& J Sandwiches
By Brandon Knight

This week I had the chance to attend something that many people never get to go to. I went to one of the International week days at Heidelberg’s own SRH. The SRH is one of the largest private institutions in the country, and known for its rigorous academic standards and unique was of teaching. For example, at my stay at SRH University their 5-week teaching method was explained to and after an initial feel of indifference I actually like this different approach to teaching a college course.  Essentially this process is self-explanatory, instead of 2-3 months for a course one at SRH may be taught for five weeks but much more frequently and rigorously. Also in these courses the conceptual knowledge behind everything being taught is very important. They aren’t just teaching you, so that you fulfill a requirement the staff at SRH genuinely wants it’s students to learn and master what they are being taught, and this I believe gives students learning here a little edge in the job market. I was truly nearly sold on this school, If I was a freshman interested in going to school abroad it definitely would be one of my top choices.
Moreover, now that I’ve gotten some brief history and facts out of the way, the event that I attended was called SRH International Week. International week is a very prestigious event that students from all over the planet come and take week long engaging courses and get to know someone. At the event there was people from New York, to here in Germany, all the way to seeing some students make the journey from Japan. For anyone considering going, my advice is stop considering and just go. It is well worth it. You will also be paired up with world class professors from around the world. These professors will actively and vigorously engage you on a topic of your choosing. Most of the topics were pretty interesting, for example I had Turkish Relation in the European Union and a friend of mine had a class dealing with start-ups. Though the work is pretty light on purpose, the way the class is taught will engage your mind to a degree where you will learn a surprisingly lot about what is being taught.
  There are also several events that are held throughout international week to give you a chance to bond with students. There are excursions that you could go on, though the Heidelberg Program covers most of them already. Though it never hurts to do something again, sometimes it’s more fun and then you can concentrate on interacting with your peers. The event I went was the International food night. I didn’t want to go at first because the first day was so long but I decided to go anyway. I’m glad I did as every represented school makes a dish there was plenty to try. So I suggest go on a near empty stomach if you want to sample all it has to offer. The most surprising thing to me though was the dish my school contributed. We made peanut butter and jelly, and back in the States it doesn’t get anymore basic than that. At first I was almost embarrassed since I was sure everyone had before and it lacked that exotic appeal. However, I kid you not, there were less than 8 people who had eaten it before at the whole event I counted. I was literally amazed so few people had tried PB&J outside the U.S. I guess you never know until you venture out and learn. I learned that it is very important to put oneself out there and try something new. So overall I’d highly recommend anyone that has a chance try the SRH International Week.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


By Crystal Wilson

It was cold and dark standing in the void room in the Jewish Museum. I spent the day learning about the Jewish culture and their history in Germany. Jew have an interesting and complex history in Germany. From the beginning, Jews were always persecuted in this country.  They were either forced to wear a sign so that people knew that they were Jews, they were not able to live in the city and were forced to live out of town. It was explained that Jews stopped wanting people to categorize them as Jewish but wanted people to see them as Germans. A large amount of people converted to Christianity because they thought that they would have full right and privileges as a citizen. It did not work as well as they would have liked because people viewed Jews as a race and not a religion. This made it difficult for them because regardless of what they did they were not able to escape the fact that they were Jewish.
Standing in that room made me think about all things that the Jews of Germany had to go through and their outcome. Many stood in a cold dark room before they died and that must have been terrifying. I thought of them as stood there and what they had to go through as group of people and what they have lost. The time in the void was about reflecting on their life and tragedy. Another, touching moment for me was when I walked on the faces. It was a quiet moment of thinking about Jews and hearing the sound of metal clashing as you walk towards the darkness. I was sad as I walked through the area because it represented the people that were lost due to the Holocaust. I thought about who they were… they were mother, fathers, brothers and sisters and they were brutally murdered and that made me extremely sad.
I found this experience to be very informative and touching. I was glad we were able to learn about this material. It was a great cultural experience because I was able to gather more details about the Germans that were Jewish and their life in this country. I got a better understanding of what they had to go as a people. It was very educational because I learned information that I did not know and I gained a lot from going to this excursion.  Personally, I was very happy that I was able to go to the Jewish Museum because I wanted to learn more about the Jewish religion and the struggle that they faced while they lived in this country. This excursion really made me think and reflect on the lives that were lost and the wrong that can never be righted. As I walked around the museum I wondered at how much history would never be known and stories that would never be told. This was a great experience that enlighten me and furthered my education on the Jewish culture. 

Heidelberg Fussball Watching

By Nick Wigert

                Usually I am not the kind of person who enjoys planning things for a group of people. Thinking of a spice essay topic was something that I did not think would be very easy for me because of this.
Last night I had been looking at fussball games that would be on this upcoming week. Turns out that tonight was a big night for Champions League and that was when it came to me. I knew I wanted to watch the game, so why not get a person or two and go out to find somewhere to watch it. That is what I did.
                Matt and I went to Destille, which is a bar off of the Haupstrasse that I actually enjoy going to. It is a very small, almost cozy feeling place with a tree in the middle of the bar. I had just assumed that since Borussia Dortmund would be playing Arsenal that most bars in the town would be playing that game because it involved a German team. I was right. When we first arrived at the bar it was not very crowded, which was something that I was not really expecting. Destille is always extremely packed; at least in the times that I have been there or just walking by there. I also made sure we left the ESC early because I wanted to make sure we got a seat at the bar. This takes me off on a bit of a tangent, but since we have been here in Heidelberg I have not really gotten to sit at the bar in any of the places we have gone because they are always so crowded and we always go out too late. Aside from that, I have always wanted to become a regular at a bar. This means being someone the bartender recognizes anytime you walk into the bar. That aspiration really stemmed from watching the show How I Met Your Mother, which is one of my favorite shows. Anyway, we got a seat at the bar and of course as I had expected about 20 minutes or so into the game the place became a mob seen. The night as a whole was something I really enjoyed. I was able to do something I loved to do while planning it myself. I was glad that I was able to put the night together and actually follow through on something that was planned.
                This experience really made me feel like I was a real part of German society. I feel like there is nothing that immerses a fussball fan into a new culture than sitting in a local bar with a bunch of rowdy local fans watching a Champions League game. It is experiences like this that really make me thankful that I am here in Germany. I came here not to be an American in Germany and act like an American while here. I really truly wanted to attempt to be more German in any way possible. This night was one that I really greatly enjoyed and hopefully I will be doing it again sometime in the near future.

ESPN. (2013, October 23). ESPNFC. Retrieved from


By Sean Garfield

            The Experiential Learning Group ventured to Hambach this week to visit the famous Hambach Castle.  This area holds special significance to Germany, since it was here where the first democratic movement in the county began.  Our group was to visit the castle in order to gain a better understanding of this particular part of German culture as well as to take in the fantastic sights around the castle.
            We journeyed to Hambach via bus.  When we arrived at the city after a rather uneventful drive, we all stopped for a second and noticed something.  The town was remarkably small.  Unlike many other areas we have visited that were in cities and the like, the small town of Hambach nestled in the German Palatinate is home to only about 750 residents.  We all wondered how such a small place could be of such historical significance to the country.
            The ascent up the hill to the castle was a bit unnerving due to the narrowness of the roads.  When we finally arrived at the castle, we all took a look at how high up we were.  It was as if we were at the peak of a mountain, looking at the town below and acres upon acres of meadowlands.  The castle sat a bit higher than I anticipated, but I was stunned by the beautiful scenery nonetheless.  Eventually, our tour guide arrived to describe the castle.  Evidently, the castle constructed as a series of repairs and updates.  Most of them came from a medieval update to the then Roman fortress-style, and then a large-scale repair effort was made to repair half of the structure after a war damaged it.  We also noticed a much more recent style on the outer wall of the castle.  A restaurant was made here overlooking the Palatinate, with all new building and interior design.   When we entered the castle, we were surprised to see that a lot of the interior was similarly new and modernized.  The main hall looked more like a fancy town meeting hall than a castle interior, as did many of the other rooms.  The guide explained that many different events are carried out in the castle, like political meetings and even weddings, so that a new style was adopted to accommodate for them.  I thought that it looked really cool and high-tech for a centuries old castle of all things.
            Next, we headed upstairs into the museum.  It featured a lot of different period pieces from the 1830’s like clothing, pamphlets, and mechanical devices.  This is where I learned the true significance of Hamburg and the castle.  In 1832 an event known as the Hambach Festival took place in the castle.  Here, many German, French, and even Polish people met to hold political discussions and demonstrate against the ruling German governments who were increasing their taxes and censorship in Palatinate areas.  The people revolted against this tyranny and demanded that the government give them more rights.  Events like these were not rare in Europe at the time.  After the defeat of Napoleon, many monarchial families returned to power in their homelands formerly ruled by the French.  As such, they taxed the people more heavily, liquidated many provincial governments, and increased the amount of censorship within their lands.  Their people, who grew accustomed the rights they enjoyed as French citizens, would not have it.  This was especially true in countries like Poland whose borders were being taken by many different countries bit by bit.  We also saw relics like the important printing presses of the day, political pamphlets, and even the original black, red and yellow flag adopted by the Federal Democracy of Germany. 
            In the end, I was surprised by how much I was able to learn from our trip to Hambach.  I would’ve never imagined that such a small town could hold such historical importance to a country as large as Germany.  I suppose it goes to show that the place at which the seeds of democracy are planted does not matter so much as much as the growth of the ideal itself.

              Documents - Government and Administration: Confederation or Nation-State? In German History in Documents and Images.  Retrieved from

Trying Something New
By Jennifer Dall

            Before I came to Germany, I never drank alcohol and was never interested in doing so. Getting drunk never appealed to me so I stayed away from even tasting drinks like wine and beer. If you asked any of my friends or especially the people on my freshman floor, they would tell you that I was even a little closed minded about the topic. 
            Now, deciding to go to Germany changed all of that. In the country that gave birth to the world’s largest beer festival, was I going to still block out drinking? Was I going to deprive myself of experiencing something that is so culturally significant to the country that I will be staying in for four months? The short answer is no. The long answer involves me sitting in my bed trying to reevaluate my life decisions but eventually, still comes out to a solid no.
Too long have I been stubborn about something that really is not a big deal. I have come to the realization that drinking is not a 0 to 60 phenomenon. Just because I decide to drink one glass of wine or one mug of beer does not mean that I will wind up in the bathroom an hour later puking my brains out. I consider myself a very responsible person and I refuse to let my fear of losing control hold me back from having the best experience possible while studying abroad.
The wine tasting excursion is the perfect example to prove my point. The old me would have been annoyed by the mere fact that an event focused on alcohol was worked into the schedule. I would have immediately cast the excursion aside as pointless and dreaded that impending day that it would arrive. But now, after pushing myself to be as open as possible to new experiences, I embraced the wine tasting. I even looked forward to it. It was the perfect opportunity to test my new frame of mind.
By being so open, I learned to appreciate wine making as a family business and as a passion. The woman who guided our tasting is part of the ninth generation of family working continuously to make Adam Muller wine. When she spoke about her family and the wine that she presented to us, I could tell that she was extremely proud of her family’s work and its long rooted history within the town of Heidelberg. Between her passion for wine making and the quaint living room setting of the tasting, I felt comfortable enough to indulge myself in drinking each glass of wine.

During those couple hours, I kept thinking back to freshman year and how far I have come since
then. Not only was I mentally ok with sipping on wine, but I was in the company of friends and teachers doing the same thing. Nothing bad happened to me or them and I was able to enjoy another side of Heidelberg that is somewhat off the beaten path. This experience has definitely encouraged me to continue my efforts of keeping an open mind to new things I may come across while studying abroad and during life itself. I greatly enjoyed the wine tasting and am looking forward to more positive new experiences down the road!