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He writes about studying abroad in the Lafayette faculty-led program at Jacobs University Bremen

Dennis Waldron ’10 (Owings, Md.) is majoring in electrical and computer engineering. He is currently studying abroad in Bremen, Germany, with 33 other students in a Lafayette faculty-led program at Jacobs University Bremen (JUB). The trip is being led by Erol Ulucakli, associate professor of mechanical engineering. The following is a first-hand account of Waldron’s experiences so far this semester. He will send additional correspondence throughout the trip.

  • 34 Students will Study Engineering and German Culture in Bremen
  • Slideshow: Mickey Adelman ’10 Reports from Bremen, Germany

From color-coded trash bags to four holes in notebook paper instead of three, my semester abroad in Germany has been an interesting and rewarding experience so far. Studying abroad in a country gives you the unique opportunity to experience its real culture and practices, and you learn many things that would otherwise be completely overlooked if you only vacation in an area. For example, being in the country for such a time, you must go out and buy things, such as new bedding when you leave your sheet at the hostel in Amsterdam, and in general become much more acquainted with the culture and people of your host country, all while trying to figure out what the German word for “comforter cover” is.

My host university, Jacobs University Bremen, not only provides the German experience, but also a uniquely international one as well. Originally called International University Bremen, around 90 countries are represented on campus. I have had to sheepishly ask on more than a few occasions, “Where is your country again?” Mealtime in the “servery” buzzes with a myriad of native tongues speaking back and forth, while at the same time many diverse groups communicate with others through English, which is frequently the only language people have in common. The community at the college as a whole is a very open one, and it is hard to be shy and not get to know at least a few new faces at meals or in the common rooms over a game of pool or foosball.

As if the school itself isn’t enough of a cultural experience, life outside of the “Jacobs Bubble” too has surpassed my expectations. The local town of Bremen itself is interesting and draped in history. A little further away, about an hour by train, you can get to Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Hannover, and a host of other places. Each town or city has its own unique flavor and place in history. I have already traveled to all of these towns, as well as further away to Berlin, Koln, and the Netherlands. The European rail system is amazing in its scope and efficiency, and makes traveling all the way from here to Paris, Austria, Sweden, or virtually any other place very easy.

Once in a town, it is great to simply walk around the city, look at sights, and go to random museums and memorials as you find them. In Koln for example, you can walk up 509 stairs of a spiral staircase to the top of a Cathedral spire and look out over the city. I won’t soon forget the view, looking out over the River Rhine, with the morning sun glinting playfully off of gentle waves. Another unforgettable view was that of the Red Light district in Amsterdam, but perhaps for different reasons.

So far this semester, I have had a wonderful time seeing new sights and meeting new people, and I am looking forward to visiting even more places–and studying for midterms too, of course, just in case my parents are reading this.

  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Study Abroad
Categorized in: Academic News, Engineering, German, Mechanical Engineering, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students, Study Abroad
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