First Thoughts – Better Late than Never

(These thoughts were recorded at the beginning of the program, they just didn’t get posted until the last day.)

I’m on this trip because I wanted to experience Germany. I wanted to walk the streets of Berlin and live in a place thousands of miles from home. I grew up in a small rural town in Iowa and I’ve always wanted to see the world. I traveled to places around North America, but I’ve never been beyond it. This was my chance to study and live abroad during my time at Calvin. While this may imply that I am here to be a tourist, my intentions are completely different. I hope to live, in some small way, like Germans do. To see things from their point of view. To learn about how their history influences who they are today, and what they think of the world.

More practically, I want to learn what it’s like to live in a city. How to get from point A to point B without the cars that are a vital facet of rural Iowan life. How to find food, housing, and other necessities without superstores or the convenience of a home. I want to learn the language, but also to experience not being able to communicate. To know what’s it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land.

My hope is that by the end of the program I will have learned how to live in another country, at least in some small way. I will, of course, learn about Statics and Dynamics, as that is the engineering class I will be taking. However, the lessons I learn outside the classroom will be more important.

I hope that not everything goes well on this program. That may sound strange, but there is a method to my madness. While I hope nothing seriously bad happens, I do hope something will go wrong. Such that we must adapt to it. That we become uncomfortable and must change our habits and grow from the experience.

Week One: The adventure begins

I apologize for posting so late, I have had my posts for couple of weeks but never got them out. This is what I wrote a week into the trip:

This first week has been pretty interesting. There are so many similarities between Berlin and the US that it kind of feels normal when walking around the city. (Except the fact that everyone is speaking a language that I only know about 50 words) Also the great and extensive transits system is really nice. It’s kind of weird, back in the states a 30 minute drive to go somewhere is a trek but taking public transit(something I am not used to) takes minimum of 40 minutes to get anywhere. And it never feels that long but after you wait for the first bus then transfer, sometimes a couple of times, it’s usually been an hour even if you have only gone 5 miles. So that has been interesting. Some things that I miss from home are air conditioning, tacos, and water. However I have found some foods hear that I really like. One is the Döner Kabab which is a Turkish like sandwich.


In the Beginning

Whew. Over the past 24 hours, I’ve spent 8 of them doing homework. Even though I should’ve expected this much work for a four credit hour class, I guess it didn’t occur me that we’d ACTUALLY be doing much besides being in a classroom for a couple of hours a day. I’ve been informed that the first week is more homework heavy than the rest, so that we’ll have more time to explore the sights and sounds of Deutschland. Continue reading “In the Beginning”

Very Belated First Thoughts

If I were to be honest with you, I’m on this program this summer because my internship applications fell through, but I still wanted to make this summer memorable. I’m hoping that this principle extends to others in the group as well: you don’t get to travel to Europe very day, so my wish is that this is one of those times that everyone will look back on as a good life experience some day.

As for what I can contribute to the group, hopefully the skills I’ve practiced tutoring during the year can help others with homework during the trip. My prayer is that everyone takes away something positive from the trip in some shape or form.

My Thoughts Before the Trip

After months of waiting, the day is finally here. When I was first visiting Calvin, I knew two things. First, I wanted to go to a school that would help me grow in my faith. Second, I wanted to go to a school with a strong engineering program. Now, Calvin met these criteria, but there were other schools that met these criteria. However, one thing that stood out to me at Calvin was the possibility to expand my knowledge of engineering in the context of another culture. Thus, after I made my decision to come to Calvin, I knew that I wanted to do the Summer Program in Germany. Continue reading “My Thoughts Before the Trip”

Better Late than Never I suppose…

As a high school junior and senior, I was excited for college. It was fun to take college tours and make comparisons. One program that stood out was Calvin’s Summer in Germany program. It was an interesting program from the description. The Summer and other aspects of Calvin, lead me to choose Calvin for college. I told myself that if I did choose Calvin, I would go to Germany no matter how hard it may be. This is one of God’s challenges that he has put in my life. Six weeks in Germany to take an engineering class and a German language and culture class with peers. After being excited and nervous for the program it begins. Continue reading “Better Late than Never I suppose…”

More than Engineering

I remember my first time visiting Calvin College, for the Fridays at Calvin program back in October 2015. My parents and I were scattered about the lunch with the professors, doing reconnaissance on whether this was where I would want to spend the first four years of my post-high school education (spoiler, it was). I happened to sit at the table with Professor De Rooy. He talked with me and my fellow prospective engineering students about a lot of things, from the Engineering program itself, to the careers that graduates tend to get into. One thing I remember talking about in particular, however, was this certain Summer Program in Germany, of which he spoke very highly. It sounded cool and interesting, but I was still kinda overwhelmed from the blast of college life I’d been getting over the previous 24 hours. Still, it stuck with me, and as I talked with more and more Calvin Engineering majors, past and present, I only heard good things about the Summer Program in Germany. Everyone said the same thing, that if I get the chance to go, take it. So, natürlich, when I heard about an upcoming meeting for prospective SPIG students, I made sure to be there. One thing led to another, and now I’m here on my way.

Continue reading “More than Engineering”