Texas A&M Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning students explore Berlin
Berlin in October is usually already a little gloomy and windy, but the capital city was on its best behavior with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures when the Texas A&M University Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning students ventured out to explore the capital.
The trip was a mix of cultural, historical and program-related tours and experiences, that two of our students, Aubrey and Louis, have called ‘an incredible experience’ and a ‘genuinely great time’.
Read below for what else they had to say about their Berlin excursion:
Aubrey H.: “Our Berlin trip with AIB was an incredible experience; a great mix of cultural, historic, and educational experiences which introduced us to the dynamic city. Upon arrival to Berlin we went on a walking tour and were able to see the major sights such as Brandenburg Gate or Check point Charlie with an absolutely amazing tour guide! Sion was the best!! Afterwards we had some top notch pizza at Due Formi’s! During Day 2, we went on two informative tours of Gleisdreieck Park and Tempelhoffer Airfeild. Both are sites which held an original purpose as a railroad yard and airport, but were transformed into wonderful parks. These parks are great examples of how to utilize an abandoned part of a city as an opportunity for public space. On the third day in Berlin we went to Sachsenhausen Memorial, where we were able to have an educational experience at a former concentration camp. This tour brought to the life the horrors which happened during the holocaust and shed light on a dark portion of Berlin’s history. Our final day in Berlin we split into major specific groups; the urban planning group went to several unique development sites such as a co-op living community, Tee-Pee land, and Holzmarkt. All three involved new creative ideas for the future of city growth, showcasing not only Berlin’s ability to adapt but also the potential for other metropolises to do the same.”
Louis B.: “Our trip to Berlin through AIB was not only a great time, but also very enlightening regarding Berlin’s culture and topics relating to our individual program. As soon as we arrived, we went on a guided bus tour around the city which introduced us to several different major sites in Berlin, including the Reichstag, portions of the Berlin Wall, and Checkpoint Charlie. The guided bus tour was really cool and informative, and our tour guide was the man, and definitely someone’s cool uncle, assuming he’s got a niece or nephew. On Tuesday and Thursday, we visited a handful of interesting parks and communities, which really inspired some cool ideas for us specifically as landscape architects and urban planners. On Wednesday we visited Sachsenhausen-Memorial - a former concentration camp, which was a powerful experience that I don’t think any of us will ever forget. […] I feel like I know a lot more about Berlin and its history from this excursion, and I genuinely had a great time.”
Louis also mentioned that he would rate this trip 5-stars if he could! ;-)
We believe it is safe to say that the students had a great time in Berlin exploring all its rich history and culture as well as all the landscape architecture and urban planning aspects it had to offer!
Waffles at AIB
As the stress of midterm reviews and exams was looming large over the students, we decided it was time for our famous AIB waffles.
So last week, our colleagues Alice and Claudia, together with our student workers Marie and Vivianna, got right to work and made delicious home-made waffles at the AIB.
The yummy smell wafted through the class rooms and halls and soon all students had forgotten about the stress of studying for the upcoming exams – if only for a couple of minutes.
Once the final semester deadlines approach, you can count on us to come up with something else to cheer everyone up!
We see delicious hot chocolate in the near future! ;-)
Our students made good use of the beautiful fall weather in Germany and went on a hike through the Siebengebirge – the Seven Hills area.
One of our students, Mandy, from the Texas A&M Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning program had the following to say about the hike:
“Wednesday turned out to be the perfect day for the hike, it was cool enough to be comfortable while hiking, and the sky was clear and made for some beautiful pictures. On the way up to Drachenfels we were able to visit the castle house (Schloss Drachenburg). The home was incredible and offered amazing views of Bonn along the Rhine that almost countered the views from the top of Drachenfels. Once we reached the top we learned about the interesting story behind the name of Drachenfels while enjoying the scenery. Afterwards we hiked through the forest to the ruins of the cathedral and then to the restaurant below the vineyards. Overall the trip was amazing and provided breathtaking views, a great exercise, and some delicious flammkuchen!”
Check out the pictures below for some impressions from the hike.
LMU Engineering and BAC Programs Visit Belgium and the City of Light
In late September the LMU engineering and business/arts/communication students traveled west and experienced a week-long trip which started in Belgium and ended in Paris.
The first stop on the excursion was Brussels, the centrally located capital of Belgium. Here the students had an informative visit to the headquarters of the European Union and learned a bit from a few prestigious guest speakers about EU affairs. The students had lunch in Brussels before heading further west to the gorgeous city of Bruges.
In the evening after exploring the town for a bit, the students all had dinner at Sint Joris, a traditional Belgian restaurant in the central market. The next day students went on a guided walking tour of Bruges right before leaving for Paris.
The first day in Paris everyone went on a guided tour of the historic sites in town including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the interior of Notre-Dame. The students then had some free time to eat or shop before getting traditional French crepes for dinner. After dinner students had the opportunity to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Over the next two days the students got a lot of free time in Paris and visited two more of the beautiful historic sites in the city. The first was the Louvre which holds many renowned works of art including da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
The other site is the famous palace of Versailles where the students got a guided audio tour to take at their own pace. After the tour everyone had a French picnic in the palace gardens consisting of baguettes and a wide selection of fancy French meats, cheeses, and other delicacies.
The students enjoyed the weekend free to spend however they wanted before heading home to Bonn.
LMU FILM STUDENTS CONQUER BERLIN!
It's hard to describe a city as lively, rich in history and diverse as Berlin when you haven't been there yourself. Our film students from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles can now, after a four-day excursion there, confirm that our capital is an absolute must see when in Germany.
We started our journey from Bonn in the most sleep-deprived way possible and with a 6 hour train ride early in the morning. Once arrived at Berlin Central Train Station, the first challenge was to find a way to our hotel and through the vast number of tram, train, metro, and bus lines given.
As soon as we successfully checked and settled in, we started exploring the city in the warming October sunshine and walked along the East Side Gallery taking in both the artistic diversity of the colorful paintings, as well as the historic impact of the heritage-protected landmark this remnant of the Berlin Wall is today. Getting a feel for Berlin’s multicultural neighborhoods, we strolled through the district of Kreuzberg and had a fantastic Moroccan Dinner, sharing plates of various North African foods while sitting on the carpeted floor.
Obviously what film students are most excited about are films. And so on our second day we got up extra early in order to visit the Film School Babelsberg in Potsdam. After a tour through the impressive modern building, studios, sound mixing suites, and editing labs, Prof. Stockleben introduced us to a couple of German student film makers. After screening two documentaries and one narrative film we got the chance to ask questions to the Babelsberg film students and have some interesting discussions with them over a lovely Italian lunch. Back in the big city Sion, our tour guide, took us through the city on bikes, sharing some fascinating stories, anecdotes, and historical facts about Berlin with us. There is really no better way to explore the city, and luckily we all survived the sometimes challenging traffic.
The third day of our excursion, according to AIB’s long tradition, was named the “My Berlin Day”, during which the students were divided into small groups and had to plan their own schedule. In the evening we all came together in the hotel lobby to listen to and look at what they had seen and learned. Many were in awe of the pompous museums in the city center, and the historic Egyptian artifacts of the New Museum left quite an impression. That day was not only about the popular tourist attractions though, but also about Berlin’s alternative, colorful, and artsy side. Our students explored tattoo studios, art markets, street art, and several different districts, and were able to show many beautiful photos that they had captured during the day. Of course one should not forget the sheer variety of cuisines that Berlin has to offer, and which to our students was a wonderful way of experiencing the cultural diversity.
Day four started on a more serious note and with the visit of the former concentration camp Sachsenhausen north of Berlin. Again, our tour guide Sion provided us with an incredibly knowledgeable, attentive, and sensitive tour through the sites, where so many people have suffered unimaginable pain and despair. Even though this part of the trip wasn’t quite as uplifting as the rest, it is fair to say that we all understood the importance of being aware of Germany’s darker history, as well as the impact the tour had on all of us.
So we left Berlin maybe a bit heavy-hearted, but also inspired of the city’s rough charms, bursting creativity, breathtaking attractions, and the wonderful time we had as a group.