Ava Q8

Elevator Speech

Germany was a wild adventure. It was a lot of fun to live in a big city without having to live in a big city full time. Berlin is a lot bigger than Grand Rapids, and that came with some perks such as learning to use public transportation to get everywhere. I feel like I got to know Berlin really well because we explored a lot of different areas of the city as we went out to eat or went to class. On the weekends, we would travel to other parts of Germany, so I got to explore the rest of the country as well. My favorite trip was when we went to Heidelberg, Koblenz, and Köln. We got to explore the ruins of a castle as well as climb a cathedral, both of which were very fun. One weekend, the Calvin students went from Lübeck to the Baltic Sea so we could swim, and that fun because we didn’t have a lot of beach days in Berlin.

During the last week of the trip, we had the option to choose where we traveled, so my parents and I went sightseeing in Venice and then backpacking in the Dolomites. Comparing Venice to Berlin was fun as the cities are very different. Venice is much more aimed for tourists, and the food is different because you are in Italy. Hiking in the Dolomites was a lot of fun because the mountains were gorgeous, but also very different from the mountain ranges I’m familiar with in the United States.

Overall, the trip was a lot of fun and I have made so many good memories. Someday I would like to go back to Germany, but probably not for a while!

Levi Cooper Blog Q#8

This summer was my first time staying long term in a big city, which was a cool experience that I am happy to have had. Taking public transportation, walking everywhere, and everything being so close together is so different from the town where I live. I was very busy constantly, with class, weekend trips, and doing other things like going out to eat and doing laundry. SMH where we were staying had no AC so it could get very hot there, but at least the breakfast was good. 

My favorite weekend trips were Heidelberg and Cologne. Seeing Ludwig Castle was really cool, and we got a tour that explained the history to us. Heidelberg also has the longest pedestrian walkway in Germany and it’s very picturesque. The Cologne cathedral is an amazing piece of architecture and worshiping there and climbing up were both highlights of the trip.

Every Thursday our German professor Christoph would take us around Berlin and show us some cool stuff and talk about the culture. One time he took us to a place where people store their super nice cars, and we got to walk around and see all of them. Another time we went to the old airport and walked through it.

For lunch, we would go to a nearby bakery, the Mensa, Doner, or something else. After classes we would all get together in the cafeteria at SMH and grind out the homework. For dinner we would either have the group dinner or eat something we bought from Edika on the way back.

In my last week, I went with some other people to Italy where I spent a few days in Venice, Florence, and Rome. Rome was definitely my favorite, seeing all the ancient Roman buildings and ruins was incredible. Vatican City was also breathtaking to explore. Going through the museums, seeing the sistine chapel, and st peter’s cathedral were amazing. We saw works from famous artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, etc.

Overall, the trip to Germany was an incredible experience. Getting to know everyone on the trip, experiencing a different culture, and visiting all the historic places were unforgettable.

Joey Fischer Blog Q#2

After being in Germany a week it still doesn’t feel like home, which is to be expected. It is still a completely different country on the other side of the world that speaks an entirely different language. The people don’t look like they are from another continent, they look like a lot of people I see around west Michigan, only they might not even speak English. 

I didn’t expect the food in grocery stores to be different. This may seem obvious but Its weird walking into a market and not seeing American brands like Cheetos or Mountain Dew. Also, the grocery stores are much smaller and everywhere. This may just be because it is a big city but I think it’s noteworthy. Aldi is here which I didn’t expect. 

I miss not being able to drive places. The public transit here is good especially for longer distances, but I just want to drive. It’s so much easier to drive than wait for a bus and then wait for a subway. A bike would probably be idea for shorter trips around town but I miss the freedom of a car. 

I wish people drove like Germans back home. Everyone is on the same page and if you’re distracted, the world will let you know. Germans get places. It is not uncommon to hear tires squealing when the light turns green. Even the bus drivers are on a mission. 

Joey Fischer Blog Q#3

We visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp on Friday, July 21 and it was just as bad as you think it would be. Walking up to the main gated entrance to the camp was one of the worst feelings you can experience. Everyone has seen pictures of the gates of concentration camps like Auschwitz, but seeing the gates is something different entirely. When you look at a picture, your brain doesn’t always interpret it as an actual place. It could be something from a movie or a drawing because you aren’t there. Only when you see it in person do you realize it’s a real place and all the horrors you heard about happened here. The feeling of standing before the entrance is the closest thing I can think of to standing before the gates of hell. Once you get in you get to see how the people there lived and how they were treated and it’s hard to believe that people did this to each other. 

The impact of the war is very evident in modern day Germany. Most of the buildings were destroyed in the war so the buildings you see are the ones built after the war. They have the same design language and all look like blocks made out of concrete. It is rare to see an old building in Berlin or other major cities. There were many Cathedrals such as the Cologne Cathedral that survived.

Joey Fischer Blog Q#4

When we visited Cologne, we attended a service at the Cologne (Köln) Cathedral. It was very different to a Christian reformed service from Michigan. I think this was mostly due to the fact that it was a Catholic service so they obviously did things a lot differently. In my home church we sing hymns occasionally but a lot of the songs are more modern worship songs. In the cathedral it was exclusively hymns. The atmosphere is also very different. My home church is much smaller and everyone knows each other, it feels like a meeting with friends. The Catholic service was much more formal and quiet. There was also different customs such as the burning of incense that I was not used to. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but the service felt more or less just like a traditional church service albeit with a few differences that I mentioned above. I liked that fact that, despite being in a world famous place of worship, it didn’t feel egotistic. It was about God, not the people or beautiful cathedral. 

It was kind of off putting with all the people waiting to get in after the service was over. There were so many people there for the building but not the church. It seemed more of a tourist attraction than a place of worship. That made me sad. It seems more like a relic of a bygone era than a current place of worship. I wish it didn’t feel that way but it did. It reminds me of when someone gets famous and everyone wants to meet them but no one wants to know them. 

Joey Fischer Blog Q#5

In this post, I will provide 3 pictures I took that I thought were interesting and why.

Ferrari LaFerrari: I saw a total of three of these cars throughout our time here and I never thought I would see one ever. They cost well over a million dollars. When I saw it though, I wasn’t all that surprised. There are so many expensive cars here and the majority of them are German cars (Mercedes, Porsche, BMW). It’s almost rare to see an American car. The cars are also in very good shape, much better than in America. I think this is due to stricter rules. I don’t remember seeing a rusty car. 

Heildelburg Castle: The pictures don’t do this one justice, it is huge! Considering it was built over 500 years ago it seems like it must have been built by aliens. Some parts of the castle have fallen after being attacked but a good portion still stands. In the basement there is a wine barrel that looks as if you could supply an entire city with it. We were able to walk on top of it. We also got a guided tour through the completed bits and it was fascinating. The money that it took to build is egregious. 

Cologne Cathedral: This place is beyond enormous. We got to climb to the top of it and it’s way too big to even fathom. You cannot comprehend how big it is. You are able to see the towers from all throughout the city. The bottom part was completed in the midlevel times but the towers were completed in the late 1800’s. When climbing the stairs to the top, there are stones every so often with the dates on them. As you climb up the stairs, the years progress. We got to experience mass in the Cathedral and while it was hard to follow as it was in German, it was definitely worth it. Seeing the organs playing and reverberating throughout the building filled me with awe. The detail on the walls inside and out really give you an idea of why it took so long to complete. I’m so glad that this was not destroyed in the war. 

Caleb C. Q8:

Elevator Speech:

Germany was an amazing experience. Learning how to navigate the airport, bus, and train systems was tricky at first, but by the end of the trip, I got the hang of it. The two classes I took while in Germany were both great in their own way. The engineering class taught me a lot about physics, specifically the statics and dynamics of matter. The German class taught me some German, but also a good deal about German customs and their culture. The classmates I went with on this trip weren’t really my friends at first, but by the end of the trip, most of them became great friends. Because we all took the same classes, we all had the same homework and tests, so when helping each other out, our friendships grew I feel. Hope College also accompanied Calvin on this trip, except their students were taking a different engineering class, one about circuits and electronics. Although Calvin and Hope have been rivals in athletics, we were pretty nice to each other throughout the trip, and I made a few new Hope friends. We visited a lot of cool places during our trip, but my favorite was when we all visited the Köln Cathedral. The church is so large and the sculptures on the outside were so intricate. We were all amazed on how it was built without using any modern technology. Even though I really enjoyed my time in Europe, by the end of the 6-week stay, I was ready and excited to come home and start my college semester with my friends from last year. I definitely would recommend other engineering students to go on this trip if possible because it gets you out of America and provides cool chances to see new things, meet new people, and live in a totally new environment. 

Joey Fischer Elevator Speech

Germany was great! As someone who has never left the United States before (and who likes cars) Germany is a great place to visit. The biggest challenges I would say was school there and the language barrier but many people (more so the younger demographic) can speak English just fine. Getting there was a hassle! We flew from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Amsterdam, and Amsterdam to Berlin. While we were there we got around on public transport (busses, trains, and subways). The public transport in Germany is much better than in America but I would prefer a car because I’m American and I need the best all the time. While we were there we were provided breakfast at the hotel we were staying at but lunch and dinner were up to us. Most days I would visit a grocery store and put a meal together. 

While we were there we visited an array of places in Germany. The country itself is quite small (about the size of Montana) but it is packed with beautiful and historically significant places. One of the most beautiful places (in my opinion) that we visited was the Heidelberg castle. It is a castle built in the 1500’s that is way up on a hillside overlooking the river and city below. One of the more historically significant places we visited was the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. This camp was used in WW2 and by the Russians after the war. We got to see what it was like there and some and it was much worse than you would think. The last week was a free week and we got to go wherever we would like. I was in a group of 10 people that decided to go to Italy. We went to Venice, Florence, and Rome. They were all beautiful cites but very hot coming from Germany. 

I would definitely recommend visiting Europe if you have any desire at all to go. It will give you a better understanding of the world and how much people are alike. 

Levi Cooper Blog Q#6

We went to Wittenberg this past Sunday and worshiped in the Castle Church. Afterwards we visited Martin Luther’s house (museum). What impressed you the most about Wittenberg?

Well, a lot of us including me missed the stop so we weren’t able to worship in the Castle Church sadly. One of the bigger disappointments during the trip, like the lack of minifridges in SMH. We did see where he posted the 95 theses which was pretty cool. Visiting his house/museum was also very interesting, he had a very big house. Visiting the Church where Martin Luther preached was probably the main highlight for me, just standing where such an influential person spoke made the space feel that much more historic. Wittenberg was also just a charming German town in general.

Levi Cooper Blog Q#5

 The first picture is of a cool beetle with a horn I found after coming back with Caleb A. from tracking my phone down. That morning I had left my phone on a bus, so the whole day I was taking it using Find my Iphone on my laptop and watching it go back and forth on the bus route. When we got back after class Caleb volunteered to help me track it down by hitting a bus stop as soon as we saw it coming closer to the Hostel. We got it back pretty easily from a nice bus driver and found the beetle afterwards.

The second picture is of Ludwig Castle in Heidelberg. We got a tour of it, and it was really cool seeing inside and hearing about all of the medieval history and wars surrounding it. Very Game of Thrones like. There’s also an enormous old barrel in the basement. 

The third picture is of the pork knuckle I got at one of the group dinners in Koln. It was very very delicious. So was the sauce, and the potatoes. And the Beer. All the food we had in Germany was pretty good, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that I didn’t like. I really like trying new foods, and I was very impressed.