Friday, August 12, 2011

The Last Day

Today was finals day, and for the most part the tests went very well.  We could pick two of the four seminars to test on and had three hours to take both.  I chose Central Banking and European Law – hopefully the credits transfer back smoothly!  Tonight is the closing ceremony at Goethe University and then the group is going out for one last dinner at the Castle (a local German restaurant).
Tomorrow my friend and I have to catch the 4:20 am train to Strasbourg, France.  We will be staying in Strasbourg for two nights and then head off to Paris.  I am so excited to see the Eiffel Tower and all of the sightseeing in Paris. I can’t wait!  Unfortunately this will be my last blog post because I will not have access to Internet after I depart from Frankfurt.
Well I better get started packing hopefully everything fits!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Germany Week 4

Where has the time gone?  I can’t believe I have already been in Germany for four weeks and only have two full days left!
Today we had our European Law class in the morning and then went on a company tour of Possmann – the famous Apflewein manufacturer located in Frankfurt.  Since apples are not in season we didn’t get to actually see how the Apflewein is made, but we did get to see the many steps that go into making it.  After the tour Possmann let our group sample the different flavors of wine along with the apple juice they make.  I was really surprised to learn that they are able to produce enough Apflewein in the fall to last Germany the entire year!  We were able to see the massive holding tanks – which are actually submarines.  Our tour guide told us about how difficult it was for Possmann to purchase these holding tanks because they were considered “weapons of warfare” at the time, and the US was hesitant to sell Germany such enormous submarines.  Thankfully the US agreed after they found out what they were being used for!

Yesterday morning we attended class at the European Central Bank.  It was really neat to be in such an important building.  Our first lecture was on central banking itself, and the second lecture was on the importance of European integration in European central banking.  After lecture the ECB provided us with a wonderful lunch and then it was back to Goethe University to take a German exam.  I am a little nervous to see my score, but lets just hope all of the studying paid off!

Tonight we have another birthday, so the group is on the hunt to go find das boot!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Yesterday a few friends and I traveled into Munich for the day to see Dachau Concentration camp along with the White Rose memorial at Munich University and the Haufbrauhaus – Munich’s famous beer garden. 

We left Frankfurt at 5:50 and arrived to Munich at 9:00.  From Munich central station we took the train to Munich University to see the memorial site.  The White Rose was a group of six students that attended Munich University and became known for their anonymous campaign against Adolf Hitler’s regime.  In 1943, the members of the White Rose were caught at Munich University handing out opposition flyers and were later executed by decapitation. Today, the members of the White Rose are honored amongst some of Germany’s greatest heros. 

After visiting Munich University we headed to Dachau Concentration camp, which is located about 25 minutes outside of Munich.  Dachau was one of the first concentration camps in Germany and the only camp to have existed throughout the entire 12 years of Nazi rule.

Today it was finally nice outside so a group of us went downtown to the Main festival.  It was really neat – they had shops and food stands located alongside the river, which is nice because everything is closed on Sundays.
Right now we are having a German study group.  Our test is on Tuesday and I am not looking forward to it… The German language is a bit difficult! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Goethe University

The first few days at Goethe University have been great.  The campus huge (40,000 students) and is beautiful.  After class on Monday, we got a tour of the University and learned some pretty interesting things about its history.  The Campus Westend (where I am attending classes) was built by a chemical company - I.G. Farbenindustrie in 1928.  There chemists invented a poisen known as Zyklon B.  Zyklon B was originally used for pest control, but sadly ended up being used as the extermination gas at concentration camps.  Campus Westend was also used as a shelter for local Frankfurters during the Allied air strikes of WWII.  After WWII, Allied forces divided up the control of Germany and the I.G. Farbenindustrie building became the American Army headquarters under US Gerneral Eisenhower until 1995.  After the Americans left, Goethe University officials bought the building with the surrounding land and decided to relocate to its current position.  The dorms of course are new, along with the lecture hall building but it is so neat to be taking classes at a school with such interesting history!

Today most of the group went on an optional trip to Strasbourg France.  I decided to stay back because I will be staying in Strasbourg for 2 days after I leave Frankfurt and was feeling a little run down – the cold/rainy weather doesn’t help, especially when you bring all summer clothes!
Tomorrow is a normal day of classes and then Bier Bike!  I better go get my studying done.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Berlin was quite an experience!  To my surprise the hostel we stayed in turned out to be really nice.  The room I stayed in had three sets of bunk beds and two bathrooms – way nicer than a college dorm.  They also provided breakfast for in the morning, which was nice.  Unfortunately the weather in Berlin was even colder/wetter than Frankfurt.  Coming from Minnesota I am pretty used to a cold climate, but not all year!  One thing that stood out to me while in Berlin was the outrageous amount of drinking.  Whether it was 7:00 am, 3:00 pm, or midnight, everywhere you looked someone was carrying around a bottle of alcohol – I don’t know how they do it!

Some of the trips highlights included:
  • A tour of the German parliament
  • Trying the famous Berliner Vice (A punch flavored type of beer)
  • Going on a walking tour of the city
  • Seeing the remains of the Berlin wall
  • Visiting the Berliner Dom
  • Walking over one of Hitler’s bunkers (we couldn’t go inside because it is not open to the public)
  • Visiting the former Nazi Air force headquarters (the building is now used as a tax office)
  • Going to the disco
  • Learning the history behind what was once East and West Germany and how the two sides were reunited
  • Visiting Checkpoint Charlie
  • Walking through Berlin’s Jewish Memorial site

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the third week, which means we will now be attending classes at Goethe University.  German class will be the same, but the history class is replaced with European Central Banking.  Goethe is a little bit further than FH (it requires a train and subway ride), so I better get to bed!

Guten Nacht 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rhine River Valley

Wow, has this week gone by fast!  My European economics class has been quite challenging.  Yesterday, for one class we got a 61-page review packet.  Thankfully German class has been fun.  So far we have learned basic phrases, numbers, days of the week, etc…

Wednesday the group went on an excursion to the Rhine River Valley.  We went on a lovely boat tour down the river and saw a variety of castle ruins.  After the boat tour the ISU team set up wine tasting for us at a local vineyard.  We were all pulled in little carriages and got a tour on the vineyard, which was beautiful (their was even castle ruins located on the vineyard.)

Thursday was my friend from Eau Claire’s birthday so everyone decided to surprise him with a little birthday celebration.  After a long hunt all over Frankfurt we finally found him a birthday cake.  I guess it is not common in Germany to buy an entire cake – they are usually sold only by the piece.  Nonetheless after all of the searching we found him a traditional German black forest cake.

Today is another day of classes and then we are all taking the train to Berlin for the weekend.  We are staying in a hostel, which makes me a little nervous, but should be an interesting experience.  Hopefully Berlin has better weather than Frankfurt.  I haven’t seen any sun since I have arrived!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Climbing Park

Yesterday was a blast!  Part of our group went to the climbing park, located about 30 minutes out of Frankfurt. At the climbing park there was zip lining and obstacle courses located 25 meters off the ground – it was SCARY.  Only two members of our group were able to complete level 11, which was the highest course (It required you to pull yourself 12 feet up a rope to even start the course) but I did complete level 10.  After the climbing park we all went to grab dinner at a small little Italian restaurant and then came back to the hotel to get some rest before going out to the disco.  It was my first experience at a disco and I have to say, it was pretty fun!  The guy checking ID’s at the door was intrigued by the huge group of Americans and kept asking about where each and every one of us was from.  The also switched the music over to American music once we all got in, it was funny. 

Today some of us went down to the Romer (the town center) to watch the Ironmen triathlon.  It was packed full of people and we even fortunate enough to see the winner cross the finish line!  The winner, who happened to be from Germany finished in just under 8 hours.