Where were you at this summer?
I was in a small town called Ulm, in Germany, just west of Munich for about 3 months.
Why were you there?
I got lucky enough to score a position on an internship called RISE. Basically, it is a science and engineering research internship offered in Germany. My internship involved studying the chemistry of some new electrode materials for lithium ion batteries.
What was the biggest challenge?
Definitely the language barrier. South Germany was the worst, very few people spoke English there. Also, getting a bank account, bus pass and even buying groceries on occasion was difficult.
What was the coolest part of the city you lived in?
Well, they loved Jesus in Germany, so there are tons of religious holidays and Ulm has the tallest church steeple in the whole world (see pic). The town also had a really good BMX scene, with an indoor skate park and dirt jumps.
What was your favourite food from the trip?
The donair, or ‘deuneuuuur’ as they pronounce it. There were so many amazing Turkish kebab shops with donair, I had made it a mission to hit every one and find the best.
If you could bring three things back to Canada from the German culture/society what would they be?
I would totally bring back the amazing recycling program they have there. It made me realize how wasteful Canada and America is. The cheap, good beer, which can legally be drank anywhere you want. It sounds odd but the third thing I would bring back are the windows. Every building has these multi hinged windows which are standard across the country. They are extremely simple, yet elegant and functional.
What was the biggest cultural difference?
Honestly it wasn't too different. I feel like at the end of the day we are all human and similar. Although, especially in the south, people are more conservative, follow all the rules and bureaucracy, but, when it comes time to party, getting LIT is socially acceptable. It is very contrasting to Canada, which seems a lot more neutral across the board.
Was there anywhere else you went?
Hell ya! I went to Paris, Switzerland, all over Italy (including Bologna where Kappa Sig was founded), Austria, Slovenia and Jersey Island where my great grandpa was born.
What did you learn on this trip?
I learned the difference between being lonely and alone. People are friendly, don’t be afraid to go talk to strangers because you could make an amazing friend. I also learned a lot of BMX tricks, a few German sentences and some dope science skills.