This past summer ushered in the inaugural Hope College Engineering summer program in Germany. Twenty engineering students spent five weeks in Germany taking an engineering class from a Hope professor and a German language and culture class at the Technical University of Berlin. The trip was led by Hope Professors Ned Nielsen, Katharine Polasek, and Miguel Abrahantes. The students attended classes during the week and stayed in dorm style rooms at St.-Michael’s-Heim in Berlin.
The trip offered a wonderful opportunity for the students to engage with the global community and to also bond with each other. Civil engineering student, Clara Voskuil ’24 remarked, “Experiencing the excitement of a new culture while building relationships with peers was easily the best part of my experience. I learned so much about Germany and, more generally, about myself and preconceptions I had about different cultures that I wasn’t even fully aware of until actually being immersed in a different country. While workload and language barriers proved challenging at times, being able to lean on others (and to have fun while doing so) certainly made up for any obstacles faced.”
Clara continued, “The German language and culture class offered is very hands-on, and the professor (Herr Cristoph) is fantastic! Every week there is an outing around Berlin which allows students to immerse themselves in the new culture, rather than being solely confined to a classroom.”
The students also took extended excursions around Germany on the weekends. They had the opportunity to visit a variety of historical and architectural sites around Heidelberg, Köln, Bremen, and Wittenberg, among others.
According to electrical engineering student Matt McAllister ’23, “Overall, experiencing a new culture is intimidating but exciting at the same time. It is somewhat difficult at first to adjust, but it is very rewarding once you get the hang of it. Just seeing how non-Americans go about their daily lives and how different it is from the USA gives you a new perspective.”
The engineering department is excited to share this experience with a new cohort to of students and is busy preparing for the 2023 iteration of the summer program in Germany. Interested students can find more information about off-campus study opportunities on the Hope Engineering webpage.