“S” Courses that take place during the spring term are great for traveling and cultural immersion. One such class is REL 180/380M taught by Prof. Richter who is a native of Germany.
This class will be traveling to Germany to study the reformation including where Martin Luther lived and was active. This trip also includes watching a professional German soccer game, visiting a winery and brewery, and experiencing German food.
“It’ll be interesting to travel to a country much older than America,” said Anna Dobyns (‘20) who will be embarking on the trip to Germany this spring. “I’m excited to see and experience the rich culture and history”. Dobyns is also looking forward to seeing the famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s house and church.
Germany is a democracy that has a parliament. One house of parliament, known in German as Bundestag (which translates to “Federal diet”), is much like the United States of America’s House of Representatives. It’s counterpart, the Bundesrat (federal council), is comparable to the Senate.
“In Germany, there are several main political parties,” says Deve Wishart (‘18) who lives in Germany currently. “While Americans tend to not talk about politics, religion, or money for fear of tension or heated arguments, Germans welcome the discussion and, even when disagreeing, are able to finish the conversation without becoming angry. I know Americans are capable of the same, but I think that the two-party system that seems to dominate American politics causes us to believe that there is some sort of rift if someone belongs to another political party.”
In 2015 the German chancellor in conjunction with the chancellor of Austria said that refugees of Germany would be allowed to cross through Hungary and Austria and reside in Germany.
“Many [Germans] are not happy about the immigration policies of the current political leaders” said Richter when asked about how the public views the government. “Many Syrian refugees were allowed to live in Germany”.
Transportation in Germany is like America in a lot of ways. They have an expressway-like road called the “Autobahn” which is known for its lack of a permanent speed limit in a lot of areas. The recommended speed limit is 130 km/h (about 81 m/h).
Another service that you can use to get around the country quickly is the German Intercity-Express (ICE). These trains travel inside Germany and into neighboring countries. The speeds of these trains can reach up to 300 km/h (about 190 m/h). “Compared to other European countries, Germany is probably the country that is most like the United States” said Drew Bellanger (‘19).
Richter also mentioned there were small differences. “I think Germans focus more on the details. They are more reserved, quieter and emphasize their right of privacy. Family and their home place is very important. Germans are less likely to move for a new job.”
“The difference in perceptions of honesty between the US and Germany have manifested in unexpected ways in the classroom for me.” said Wishart. “They talk in the front of both colleagues and students about how “good” or “bad” certain students are at different subjects. Several teachers have asked me to work with the “worst” students in class, which honestly hurts to hear.”
Germany is one of the most economically influential members of the European Union. Germany has the world’s fifth largest economy. Large companies contributing to the economy are companies like Siemens (industrial conglomerate), Volkswagen Group (automotive), and Fresenius (medical equipment and supplies).