Always Learn From the Past

This may be a little late, but our trip to Sachsenhausen was intense. A large amount of the camp was destroyed and most of the buildings are gone, but still some buildings remain and the history there will never go away. Going through the entrance of the camp at Gate A was powerful. Thinking about how many people saw and entered through that gate who would never leave the camp again  caused me to tear up. The barbed wire, or at least the few sections that are still up, was rusted and the signs warning the prisoners to stay away were faded. The medical section of the camp gave some terrible stories.  Continue reading “Always Learn From the Past”

Mass, Organs, and Stairs ~ Köln Cathedral

If I had to sum up my worship experience at high mass in the Köln Cathedral, I would choose fascinating. This was the first catholic mass I have attended and it certainly was an interesting first experience. This cathedral is the complete opposite from the church I attend back home, but I enjoyed every minute I spent sitting under the towering ceilings and listing to the organ amplify throughout the massive sanctuary. Continue reading “Mass, Organs, and Stairs ~ Köln Cathedral”

The Cologne Cathedral

One often does not think of a building as awe-inspiring; however, the Cologne Cathedral can change that in a second. I had seen pictures of the Cologne Cathedral and knew of its sheer size and beauty, but as I came out of the train station and looked upon the church’s spires hundreds of feet in the air, I couldn’t help but have my jaw drop.

Continue reading “The Cologne Cathedral”

So Germany is Pretty Neat

I think one of the memories that sticks out in my mind the most when I look back on this week is our first day here. The weather was great, we were all jet-lagged but ready to go, and there was an entire city out there for us to explore. We dropped our bags off in a room at St. Michael’s-Heim, and then ventured off to the downtown. We arrived at Kurfürstendamm, which as far as I can tell is to Berlin as Michigan Avenue is to Chicago. We grabbed lunch, then began heading east, towards the KDW, a huge department store with an upper floor selling food from all over the world. On our way there, we passed Kaiser Wilhelm Church,

a decently sized building that had sustained damage from bombs during the war, but has since become a memorial to Berlin’s past.

Continue reading “So Germany is Pretty Neat”


This past weekend went by very quickly.

On Friday morning, our sick student Nate flew home with his mom and sister.  They made it home in the greater Chicago area safely.   Please continue to keep Nate and his family in your prayers.

On Friday morning our group left at 5:30am to head off to our Heidelberg | Koblenz | Köln weekend.  We arrived back in Berlin on Sunday night around 9:00pm.

This past weekend marks the transition of the professors.  I (DeRooy) am headed home tomorrow (Tuesday).  Plaisier and his wife are exploring parts of Germany for this week and are headed home this weekend.  This leaves Prof. Nielsen here in Berlin with the students.  Today was their first lecture on Dynamics – the second half of the course.


Leonard De Rooy

Arbeit macht frei?

It was certainly enlightening to be able to visit both the holocaust museum and the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. These cites serve an important purpose, to honor the fallen and to warn us of past mistakes so that we might make better choices in the future. Walking through Berlin today, you would never have guessed at the horrors that happened here. The city has moved on, there are no signs pointing out famous WWII battle grounds or plaques commemorating events- just silent monuments and somber memorials.

Deutschland or Bust

It has been just about a week in Germany now (posted late), and I have really enjoyed the experience I have had so far. I have gotten to have lots of good food, get to know many people who two week ago, were complete strangers, and experience what it is like to be the person who doesn’t speak in the common language. When I first got here my German was very uncertain. Now I can confidently order something and ask for the key to my room. Continue reading “Deutschland or Bust”