Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by B-Section senior Lisa Mitchell, who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and works as a co-op at UTC Aero Systems LK in Connecticut, and will occasionally post her thoughts about her Kettering student experiences on Life at Kettering. If you’d like to write a guest blog post, e-mail jmurphy(at)kettering(dot)edu. Lisa’s other posts: Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3 | Post 4 | Post 5
On Thursday night, I met up with Becca (a Kettering Alumni) and her husband (they met during his study abroad term at Kettering, she is American and he is German) for a traditional Passover Meal. It was amazing. All the food was so incredibly fresh (I’m talking straight from the fields/market), and she had done research to find all the food that was traditionally served at a Passover dinner.
As always, our travel plans got changed and rearranged Thursday night. We decided we would go to Strasbourg, France for the day on Friday. This was an interesting experience primarily because no one in our group speaks any French. So it was a bit more of an adventure language-wise, and even though the city is very close to the border of Germany, the culture is still quite different. For example, when you order a “Big Coffee”, you get about as much liquid as you would in a tablespoon. The coffee is stronger, but you certainly get less than one would expect in America. Strasbourg has the tallest cathedral, so naturally we climbed all 330 steps to the top. It was a marvelous, and breathtaking (literally) view! We also got to sit in on a service (held in French) because it was Good Friday. The Choir and the atmosphere was magical.
The next day, we spent in Berlin. I was specifically excited for this city because there is so much history embedded into it’s grounds. It was a very artsy city filled with graffiti and street art. Much of it is still empty. The Berlin Wall was surprising because it wasn’t as large or as advertised as I was expecting it to be. Nonetheless, It was still a neat experience.
On Easter, we had a great brunch (seriously, so delicious) then I split from the group and took a train to meet up with one of my Turkish-German friends, Alper, to celebrate his birthday with him and his friends. It was a 6 hour train ride, but since train-rides (and any mode of public transportation) put me straight to sleep, I wasn’t bothered. It was great to celebrate with my friend as well. I met him when he studied abroad at Kettering during my first term, and we have kept it touch over the years.
The next day, I slept in, then decided to go to Munich for the evening to meet my cousin and her fiancé for dinner. I ran into Kyle Taylor at the bus stop, and convinced him to come with me so he ran home to get his eurail pass before the bus came 10 minutes later. After we got there, we were enjoying dinner, and I may or may not have made the mistake of looking only at departure times of trains instead of also looking at arrival times, so after it was too late I realized that the only train we would be able to catch would put us in Plochingen, Germany for 3 hours from1am to 4am…. So we explored Munich at night, then ended up in Plochingen. It was a pretty horrible mistake on my end, but we were able to finish some homework late night in a McDonalds, and we figured out Plochingen was only 10 mins from Esslingen, so we just took a taxi. It was humorous in the moment, and looking back, it’s still humorous.
The following evening (Tuesday evening) I got to go to Frühlingsfest (it’s the Spring Beer Festival in Stuttgart, like Oktoberfest, but in the spring). I have now listed this Festival amongst the top 20 experiences of my life. The atmosphere was so incredible! I got to wear my dirndl and I met up with one of the Finnish students after class and went with him and Kyle. As soon as we got there we ate bratwurst, then immediately rode one of the fast and spinning carnival rides. Afterwards, we went to one of the beer tents and joined the other international students with table standing, singing, and “Prost-ing” (the german word for cheers). It was an absolutely amazing experience.