Kurdish residents of Cologne, Germany, demonstrate in Cologne, on Saturday, October 19, following the withdrawal of American troops, Turkish air strikes and, most recently, the agreement between Vice President Mike Pence(on President Trump’s behalf) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey for the pause of Turkish military actions, other than self defense, in North-East Syria. (Photos by Rachel Jones)
On Sunday, October 13, I exited the Cologne Central Station in front of the Cathedral just before 6 p.m. and faced a Kurdish demonstration. This followed the week President Trump withdrew United States forces from Kurdish-held territory in Northeast Syria, and Turkey had begun airstrikes on the region. (Photos by Rachel Jones)
I didn’t know how much it rains this time of year here before I left Florida. It has rained most days in October so far, and the last week of September. So, our trip to Bonn was wet and cold. We had intended to go to the castle (maybe next time!), but ended up making the quick decision to go to the Haus der Geschichte, the German History museum nearby purely to be dry and warm.
I have lost count of the number of museums I have explored in Germany, but this one was still fascinating. I will not recount Germany’s history here, but here are some images from the journey through time.
My GlobalMBA peers and I took a train to nearby Bonn, where we walked through the house Ludwig van Beethoven was born in. Photos were not allowed inside, where instruments and very old sheet music were among the pieces.
I learned the Beethoven kept a routine schedule, which including waking up, eating breakfast and then focusing his attention on his compositions. Other activities included walks, correspondence, receiving guests, going to coffeehouses, sketching new ideas in his pocket sketchbook, and going to inns in the evenings, occasionally attending a concert.
Our small groups of international dual-degree graduate students that had been trickling into Cologne from different parts of the world became Cohort 19 on Monday, September 30, when we were all together for the first time. Students from the United States, Germany, Poland, China, France and Italy filled the seats in Ubierring 48, room 211.
We started the day with orientation and a campus tour which included the other building, Claudiusstraße, and had lunch in the Mensa (student cafeteria). We thought we were going on a City Tour after lunch, per the schedule, but it turned out to be a hurried scavenger hunt.
We returned to Claudiusstraße, and champagne was poured. There was even a barrel of Kölsch specifically for us. (Talk about cultural differences! Drinking has never been encouraged in an academic setting in the U.S. in my experience.) At this point, everyone was exhausted, but managed to keep drinking, eating and socializing through the full 10-hour day.
Tuesday and Wednesday were Intercultural Training days. This presented us the opportunity to get to know each other a little better with games and activities before classes begin next week. We talked of differences in the university settings in each country, among other surface cultural differences. While some of us looked forward to delving a bit deeper, we are going to keep looking forward to it, because it was not the space for dialogue beyond the bullet points. The place for those conversations will likely be in our actual Intercultural Communication classes.
October 3rd is Germany’s National Day of Unity, so everyone had Thursday day off, and the shops were all closed (like on Sundays here). Friday we had off, too! Monday we have our introduction class with Professor Sander, and on Tuesday the semester officially begins.