On Saturday evening, September 3rd, the AIB officially welcomed its Fall semester students of 2016 with a barbecue party hosted at the old AIB located in Bonn, Adenauerallee 7. We are happy to welcome students from various programs including Landscape Architecture from Pennsylvania State University, Engineering, New Europe and Film from Loyola Marymount University and last but not least Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning from Texas A&M University.
The party kicked off a great start to an intercultural experience abroad. There was a great sense of anticipation among the students and it was clear they could not wait for the programs to begin. The atmosphere was thrilling and exciting. After the programs had introduced themselves to the staff and to each other, a blues band started playing and heating up the atmosphere. The lead guitarist was one of our staff members, Malek Tarhouni. It didn’t take long until he got everybody on their feet. Even the members of our host families, who are an essential part of our institution, joined the dancing.
In the end, the party was a great success and students from different programs and universities got to know each other and bonded. We wish all the new students a successful and memorable semester abroad in Bonn, Germany. We know that they are ready to explore not only Bonn but also many more valuable and interesting locations around Bonn and throughout Europe. The AIB students will meet different people and experience various cultures that will help each individual to expand not only their intellectual but also their intercultural mind.
When a new program arrives in Bonn, we believe it is important to have a bonding experience for the students, faculty, and program coordinators to get to know each other better. For the Texas A&M Architecture program (faculty-led by Dr. Elton Abbott) and Sports Business in Europe program (faculty-led by Dr. Paul Batista), this meant a trip to the picturesque Eifel Region of Germany. This region is situated on a low mountain range that encompasses both parts of the Rhein and Mosel rivers, known primarily for its world-renown Weisswein (white wine) and its many historic castles (which Dr. Abbott, professor of the Architecture program, believed would be inspiration for his students' future projects).
On Sunday, we departed from Bonn headed to our first stop at the "Kletterwald Lauschhütte." The Kletterwald Lauschhütte is a high ropes course located in the treetops of a forest containing many obstacles that tested our strength, concentration, balance, and patience. But naturally, we had a blast! Everyone raced to the starting point of one of the many elements which were designated like ski slopes as either easy, medium, or hard. Even Dr. Batista (the Sports Business in Europe professor) participated (it just happened to be his birthday as well)!
Once we conquered the ropes course, we returned to the bus and headed to our hostel, which is not what one would think of as being a typical hostel. It was actually Burg Stahleck, a castle built circa 1135, which has been turned into a hostel. It sits above the Rhein River, overlooking the quaint village of Bacharach. It is believed to have been settled by the Celts before the Romans conquered this part of Europe well before the birth of Jesus.
Learn more: Texas A&M visit Bacharach
In a quaint Munich neighborhood our group approached what was to be an opportunity of a lifetime for any soccer fan, a visit to FC Bayern Munich headquarters. The entrance to the building was modern, yet fit perfectly into its surrounding area. Fans were already starting to gather in hopes of catching a glance of one of their favorite players who would be practicing later that afternoon. For our group, it was straight into the lobby to meet Anna Rissel, one of two in house lawyers for the club.
Our first agenda item for the day was to view the practice facilities and get an overview of the most successful club in German football history. Not a detail is missed in the facility, from the natural grass blended with a synthetic turf on the pitch, to the team cafeteria which boasts an elevated view of the entire facility.
Our group was then escorted into the state-of-the-art press room for a presentation from Benjamin Hoeneß, Director Corporate Partnerships (or Marketing as we call it in the US) and Dr. Daniel Högele, Head of International Business and International Strategy...
Learn more: Texas A&M visits Bayern Munich Headquarters
how can I say this... Ich liebe dich! But really, I truly love the time I have spent here and I will miss you dearly. Although we were only here for a short four months, I can definitely say that I have made some of my best memories here. This was my first time in Europe and I was so scared to leave my family and the security I felt at home, but I was determined to explore the world and you welcomed me with open arms.
You introduced me to so many amazing people at AIB, my host parents, the wonderful people from my program, and the culture of Germany. Nothing could have prepared us California kids for the "harsh" winter but it was definitely an experience and I'm glad I got to witness the changing of seasons for once. Cold winters now make me appreciate spring so much more! And when spring hits, Germany is beautiful!!!
There have been so many days where I just stop running or walking to admire the landscape before me. It's just so green and the clouds are like a work of art. The language barrier was another thing that was hard to prepare for, but we all made it through the awkward encounters. Now, I can sufficiently order food in German, with about an 80% success rate. I will definitely miss the bakeries, bratwurst stands, and Döner stands around every corner. I will also miss the ease of traveling to different countries. I can see why Germans travel so much, because they have easy access to almost all of Europe! Traveling to so many countries has been super exciting and world travel is now my reality. Thankfully, being abroad has shaped me in new ways.
I have learned to go out of my comfort zone and to be confident in travelling and meeting new people. I now know how to travel on a budget, travel tricks, and to be open for adventure. When I return home, I plan to appreciate California weather, continue learning languages, and heighten my sense of adventure. I will continue to work hard so that I can come back to Bonn and Europe once again. Thank you Bonn for making all these memories and connections. I will see you again soon. Tschüss!
And the Going Green Award goes to...
PennState Students host Going Green - Education for Sustainability Project Presentations at the Ministry of School and Further Education NRW.
On Tuesday, our AIB landscape architecture students Jack Hall and Hailey Rohn had the opportunity to moderate the final event of Going Green - Education for Sustainability 2016, an initiative aimed at engaging school students in projects focusing on sustainability and the environment.
No need to be nervous: they were well prepared.
Groups from five different high schools presented their projects, ranging from tips on how to conserve energy, to developed research on the virtual water consumption in the food we eat. The schools attending were Gymnasium der Stadt Alsdorf, Bert-Brecht Gymnasium Dortmund, Gymnasium Essen-Werden, Städtisches Gymnasium Gevelsberg, and Fachoberschule für Gesundheit und Soziales Kreisberufskolleg Brakel. The students presenting their projects ranged from 5th to 10th grade.
Jack and Hailey, as moderators, both did a great job providing an American perspective on many of the issues presented. Their insight into the roles of landscape architects in the sustainability movement was very much appreciated by the german school kids as well as the attending US Consul General Michael Keller and Ludwig Hecke, State Secretary in the Ministry of School and further Education.
The highlight of the event was the award ceremony at the end of the presentations: Keller and Hecke awarded all groups with prizes. Two projects received a cash prize by the US Embassy Berlin that will go toward environment-friendly improvements to their school.
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