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.
The LMU Engineering and BAC Programs Bonded in a Weekend Trip to Eifel
This past weekend the engineers and the business/arts/communication students grouped together and we all took a trip out west to get to know each other a little better in the beautiful region of Eifel.
We started things off strong by all braving a high-ropes course together. After some brief instruction, we all were set loose to try a variety of courses with varying difficulty. Some of the tougher obstacles were a little intimidating but climbing with other students all together and cheering each other on made us attempt things we might not have tried alone.
Once the adrenaline levels calmed down a bit, we had lunch at a secluded restaurant that served some great German cuisine. The place had a very nice atmosphere and was only about a two to three minute walk from the ropes course.
The trip then took us to the gorgeous historic town of Bacharach which is along the Rhine River. Once there, we boarded a cruise ship and sailed down the Rhine for some sightseeing and relaxation. The scenery along the Rhine is beautiful and there were many interesting looking towns and quite a few castles to look at while we hung out with each other on the back of the boat.
After the cruise we continued on to the city of Andernach and checked into our hostel. The hostel was right next to the river and had a big plaza area with a mini soccer field (a pick-up game quickly broke out) and a grill area. We all had a big barbeque cookout for dinner with the students running the grill. In the morning we had rented out a conference room where we spent time doing many different bonding activities and games to learn more about each other. We then ate lunch together at the hostel’s all you can eat pasta buffet.
We finished up the trip by going to see the Andernach Geyser and the geyser museum close nearby. We learned about the volcanic processes and the formation of geysers as well as learning and about the Andernach Geyser itself which is the highest cold water geyser in the world.
Although summer has only officially begun, with the beginning of July, the first Summer Session at AIB has already come to an end!
We would like to thank all the students and faculty for such great summer programs filled with many new experiences and hopefully great memories!
Farewell to everyone and we hope to see you again soon in Bonn!
From Texas A&M University:
Sport Business in Europe History of Medicine
Sustainable Communities Track A Sustainable Communities Track B
From Texas A&M University and Lafayette College:
German Language and Culture
From Loyola Marymount University:
Math, Science and Engineering Summer program Global Imagination program
From Butler University:
Creative Media and Entertainment program
From Columbia College Chicago:
Summer DOK program
From California State University - Long Beach:
Psychology Summer Study Abroad program
Thanks to everyone for an unforgettable summer in Europe!
Loyola Marymount University professors, Saeri Dobson and Matt Stefl, along with fourteen students, traveled to Germany from Los Angeles, California on a mission to use design and marketing for good. The Global Imagination Program, designed by Dobson and Stefl in collaboration with Akademie für Internationale Bildung Bonn (AIB), includes two courses. In Design Entrepreneurship, students explore and deliver on the “role of the designer in the community by raising public awareness and engaging social responsibility through participatory design, civic engagement and service learning,” Dobson explains.
Thanks to numerous intercultural encounters and hands on voluntary work, not only is the group on the right track to delivering on this promise, but also, it is actively learning the applicability and importance of corporate citizenship, a key goal in Stefl’s course, suitably titled, Marketing for Good.
LMU students kicked off the Global Imagination Program in Düsseldorf where they started their social design entrepreneurship and cause-conscious marketing coursework.
The students got their first German lesson in a speech exercise class offered usually for refugees at Café Eden, a cultural event hub for people from all backgrounds to socialize with the community via theatre, music and food.The group also had a garden chat with Café Eden director, Günter Kömmet, about the theatre’s work with refugees and enjoyed a concert in native refugee languages.
left: Marketing Professor Christoph Kochhan delivered a lecture on the German segmentation & targeting approach, Sinus Milieus.
right: Learning German pronunciation at Café Eden.
During a walking tour of Düsseldorf’s refugee neighborhoods, two members of BUNDjugend (the youth division of Germany’s green party) shared their stories of fleeing to Germany and gave the students global context about wealth distribution and migration
The guides (Nadir from Bangladesh, Mohammad from Syria and Jochen from Germany) made the facts stick with immersive activities and pop quizzes!
At Düsseldorf’s art collection K21, the students learned about labor and language via a private tour of the new Raqs Media Collective exhibit.
The reward for climbing 82 feet to the top of K21’s piazza was getting to hang from Thomas Saraceno’s sky-suspended netting installation!
Under a rigorous schedule full of research in seven cities, (guest) lectures, product prototype production and more, the group found the perfect match in KITEV’s fast-paced passionate work style.
Christoph Stark, founder of the initiative KITEV ( “Kunst Im Turm” =art in the tower) welcomed the LMU group to Oberhausen, a city 40 miles north of Düsseldorf, and got right to work.
The students, wide-eyed with possibility after the tour of the multistory, protean water tower, were tasked with the challenge to make an immediate positive contribution to Kitev’s efforts. Stark was not short on ideas and hardly shy about informing students that preconceived notions of how to help refugees, artists and other community members with whom Kitev works, may need to be put aside.
Stark gave the group three options: those who wanted to design solutions and create visuals could stay in the water tower, those who were up for manual labor were welcomed to the warehouse/kitchen and those interested in a nap were offered beanbags. The first group, led by Dobson and mainly consisting of graphic design majors, worked with Kitev’s, Agnieszka Wnuczak, and Gesina Rath, to address Kitev’s undertaking to serve food at West Germany’s largest contemporary theater, proceeds of which will benefit the Refugee Kitchen. The second group followed Stark across the street where they were to clean up the warehouse and help Refugee Kitchen chef Ahmad Abbas and volunteers Selma and Imad Itef, cook DRamadan dinner for the theatre guests. The beanbags remained empty.
Over the delicious Ramadan spread, which included chicken and rice, a vegetarian tahini dish, dates and more, students made friends with Oberhausen Theater guests and reflected on the first day of their Kitev collaboration. “My mom always talks about her own escape from political unrest in Nicaragua. But working in the kitchen with the chefs who are seeking refuge today was the first time I really felt personally connected to the turmoil of migration,” said LMU studio arts student, Michael Mahammadie-Sabet.
By the next visit, the students had already begun to adapt to the Kitev’s zippy and innovative process. The design group presented mood boards and spatial plans to Stark for his feedback. The warehouse group jumped into the kitchen for another dinner preparation and some continued to clear the space, a few even used power tools for the first time! When Mohammad and Nek from Afghanistan, invited students to help with the upholstery of their signature maximum comfort denim couches, a student from each group joined. They showed the two students how to prepare discarded materials for repurposing and taught them how to sew—from bobbin winding to stitching.
With Kitev’s Refugee Kitchen, the students cooked and served Ramadan meals, restored an old warehouse, had a jam session and learned to use powertools and sewing machines.
Instead of squeezing the collaboration with Kitev into their existing syllabus projects, the students were able to learn how they could be helpful to Kitev and its beneficiaries in the way the latter wanted to be helped. This came from listening, learning, observation and hands on project work. A huge success was the collaboration’s realization of what Dobson’s syllabus describes as, “designing with rather than just for the community,” and the fostering of “self-awareness and personal development as a social design entrepreneur.”
Design students and marketing minds got their design fix during an exclusive curator-led tour of the Peter Behrens exhibition at MAKK Cologne (Museum of Applied Arts). The retrospective, which marked what would have been Behrens’ 150th birthday, includes about 230 objects, each showing one of the many diverse contributions Behrens made to the history of design. Students gathered packaging design inspiration for their projects starting in the book cover themed room as they learned of the revolutionary nature of Behrens’ illustrations at the time.The students also enjoyed their climb to the top of the Cologne Cathedral, where they were shown behind-the-scenes architectural and sculptural restoration efforts. Part of the charm of the Cathedral is the on-going efforts to preserve and secure the Cathedral, allowing the city to take pride in scaffolding as a permanent visual in the structure’s aesthetic.
Also on the tour is the Hohenzollernbrücke Bridge which is the home to thousands of love stories. The public is welcomed to place “love padlocks” on the gates that line the bridge as a procclaimation of romance.
While in Berlin the group visited the art exhibition Food Revolution 5.0 at the Kunstgewerbemuseum. During the guided tour the students learned about future challenges for global food production and diminishing resources, explored new sustainable technologies in product packaging and discussed the appealing design of digital food and Sea Meat, a substitute made out of seaweed. Equipped with aprons and a multitude of toppings ranging from pink Himalayan salt to Goji berries the students created their own signature square shaped Rittersport chocolate bar. While the bars where cooling off, the group was designing the custom made packaging.
Culinary creativity was improved at Rittersport chocolate workshop in downtown Berlin.
First hand industry knowledge and career advice was given at AKQA’s Amsterdam offices. The digital agency specializes in creating digital services and products for clients such as Nike or Nestlé. During the interactive workshop students learned about the extensive tasks of an art director, project management from start to finish and how the digital world is transforming in the future.
Part of the excursion was also a visit at Amsterdam's Shipyard de Ceuvel, one of the most unique and sustainable urban developments in Europe. As well as a visit at modern and contemporary Art MOCO Museum, where students enjoyed pieces by Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein.
The Global Imagination group wrapped up the program, exactly where it started - in Düsseldorf!
All people and parties involved in the five week journey throughout Europe, were invited to the students’ final project presentations. The shark tank alike audience had to select their personal product idea favorite by investing either the total of 2,000 EUR in one group or splitting the money among two groups. The audience saw most potential in group: FRISCH, fresh popsicles made by refugees with local ingredients. And in group: BATCH BAR; handmade snack bars that treasure a taste of home for refugees.
Once the last presentation was held, the room was transformed into a dinning venue for Italian cuisine and the guests celebrated the successful end to LMU’s first ever Global Imagination Summer cohort, while enjoying pizza and pasta extravaganza.
To see our program video click here.
Last Friday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Klaus Prömpers at AIB for a guest lecture.
Mr. Prömpers, who has worked for several publishers and broadcasters in print, radio and television such as the WDR and ZDF, briefly talked about the challenges of modern journalism addressing phenomena such as fake news, alternative facts, as well as social media and journalism in today’s turbulent times.
The students and faculty from Texas A&M and Lafayette Language and Culture program, CCC Summer DOK and the Butler Creative Media and Entertainment program attended the talk and actively participated in the subsequent discussion and Q&A.
We would like to thank Klaus Prömpers and everyone at the guest lecture for the interesting talk.