Time to say goodbye!
We are concluding our blog with mixed feelings, it makes us happy and sad at the same time. On Thursday, our last evening in the USA, we had dinner with Dr. Sabine Smith, all of the peerbuddies and some roommates. It was a nice evening, with tasty food, and after that, most of us went to a charaoke bar.
But in the end of this night, the atmosphere turned sad, because it was time to say goodbye. During the six weeks we met many Americans, and most of them became very good friends. It was diffcult to say goodbye, but we are looking forward to their visits. Some of them will visit us during summer, and we hope we will be can be as hospitable to them as they have been to us.
On Friday our group split up, because some of us had a couple of free days for travelling in the USA befor returning home. Another split-up happened between the participants from Hamburg and Munich bcause of the different flights. We are happy that everyone arrived fine, and we are looking forward to our next and last joint meeting in June.
I think I can speak for everyone in the group that it was a plesure for us all, to be a part of this programm, and we want to say „Thank you“ to our companies and to the Joachim Herz Foundation. During this programm, everyone became more independent and we all considerably improved our English. Everyone has got an idea of American culture now and we want to use a lot of things we learnt here also back home in Germany.
The Joachim Herz Foundation enabled strangers to become friends, and got two different cultures to come close together. Personally we have all grown a a great deal during this exchange, and we will keep those expieriences in our minds. This programm opened new doors – we are excited and looking forward to step in!
Rapid Design and 3D-Manufactuting Class
During the six weeks stay in the U.S. ten members of our group had the opportunity to attend Rapid Design class. We were divided at the beginning in groups consisting of two American students and one German trainee. Each team had to select a project, which had to include a 3D-printing task in any form.
We could choose between the following projects:
3D wind tunnel
Design and building a 3D printer
Aluminium part for racing cars
For all of the participants this course one of the most interesting parts of the program, because we learned a lot about project management in the USA and could work with a 3D-printer. We also had fun with the team members and were able to incorporate our own ideas into the project.
Thank you for the great chance to participate in a3D-printing class!
Leonie and Andrej
On April 20th, 2016, a group of 25 trainees visited the International Airport of Atlanta. We were welcomed by two guides, Kiara Washington and Sylvia O’Neal. They shared with us many interesting details, such as the fact that the airport has already got many awards and therefore, many tourists come just to visit the airport. Afterwards we had a guided tour around the airport area where we were directly beside the departure and arrival lane.
The airport operation manager Mattew Coffelt told us the most important facts which we should know about the company: for example, approx. 200,000 passengers are dispatched daily and there are 3,000 starts and landings per day. Moreover it’s the most important transit airport and has the world largest passengers’ amount.
Afterwards we were greatly honored to visit the Air Control Tower. There we could have a look behind the scenes at the employees during their work as Flight Coordinators, who coordinate airplanes to the gates and fight attendance.
We thank all people who were involved in giving us a chance to do this unbelievable tour. It was very exciting and informative to see what happens behind the scenes of an airport.
Tamara and Regina
On Tuesday, April 19th, 2016, eight trainees (Simon, Tim, Sebastian, Dimitrij, Elias, Rupert, Andrej, Leonie) visited the company Fastenal. Over the past 49 years, Fastenal has grown from a small-town business into a thriving local company.
At the beginning of the visit, we were given a comprehensive insight into the company’s history, success formula, and their range of products obtained with the broad field of specialization of Fastenal.
After lunch with the new staff we got a tour of the whole company building. First, we were led through the training center for the new employees and then we were allowed to see the storerooms and many other areas. What we really fascinated with the machines for tools and other materials which they produce and also fill up.
It was very interesting to visit the company and to learn more about them. We thank the company Fastenal for the great opportunity.
Leonie and Andrej
The Walking Dead
Last Friday before our flight back home, we had the great opportunity to visit shooting locations from the worldwide known series The Walking Dead in Atlanta, Senoia and surroundings. Our tour guides who took part in the shoots as bit-part players, gave us a lot of background information and showed us some short videos from the series. It was very interesting to see the shooting locations which had high recognition value for the viewers.
Beside The Walking Dead we also got some information about other movies and series which were filmed in Georgia like The Hunger Games.
All of us were surprised to learn that Georgia is the third largest film producing place after Los Angeles and New York and many movies have and had their main shooting location in Georgia.
During our bus drive we were able to see a live shoot which took place in the streets of Atlanta. Our guides rumored that it was a shoot for the movie Baby-Driver.
In the end we had the chance to win some souvenirs from The Walking Dead by taking part in a quiz.
All in all it was an amazing tour and we really want to thanks MEBUS and Sabine Smith for the organization!
Carina, Joanna, Chiara und Merle
KSU Fashion Show
On April1 14th 2016 we’ve been to the fashion show organized by ISA (International Student Association). The show took place from 7 to 9.30 pm on the Kennesaw Campus. Members of our group were also part of the fashion show. They had two meetings in Kennesaw every week to prepare themselves for the show.
The fashion show was presented as a world travel and the hosts were traveling as tourists from country to country. The various categories were: East Asia, Middle East, North America, South Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and The Caribbean. In addition, the models were equipped with clothing by the Red Boutique, “All men” by XMT and KSU Spirit.
The models consecutively walked the catwalk. After the completion of each category, there was a small show which represented the continent it came from. The show had music and dances which fitted the represented continent.
At the end of the show they presented prom dresses and clothes from KSU itself.
We found the commitment of the students and that everyone had to participate very admirable. It was a very nice evening and we really enjoyed it.
UPS – United Parcel Service
At the moment it is spring break in the U.S.. Still, we had the opportunity to visit a company. The company is a global playing mail delivery service and a big logistic company: „UPS“ – „United Parcel Services“.
At the start of our visit at „UPS“ headquarter in Atlanta our personal IDs were checked. After that we were asked in the lobby. Two employees – one of them was a from Germany – told us a lot of facts about „UPS“ and the logistic business in general:
The company was founded on 08/28/1907 under the name of „American Messenger Service“. First time they only delivered messages and only from 1919 they began to deliver packages in main company branch. The company was renamed in „United Parcel Service“.
Currently the main branch is in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. In 1976 „UPS“ opened the first office in Europe. Up to now there are about 2000 locations and 8800 vehicles in Europe.
They told us about the normal logistics problems too, such as for instance that every week 52 container are broken or get lost. This was very interesting to learn.
After the presentation we were invited to have a look at the big location and the small „UPS-museum“. The „UPS“ – timeline presented the company history and impressed me a lot. Unfortunately they have only an office at this location. It would have been very interesting to visit a UPS warehouse and to watch daily business.
This day provided an interesting insight of „UPS“.
I am looking forward to the next company visits.
Kennesaw Community Meeting
On Monday evening we had the pleasure to experience the monthly Kennesaw community meeting. This event, which is perceived as very important in the United States started with a welcome of the community members and in this case a welcome to us as „visitors from Germany“ by the mayor. Due to the fact that he spent some years in Germany Mayor Derek Easterling was able to welcome us in German.
The meeting started with a prayer for the victims of the Brussel terror attacks. A police officer and mother were introduced and had to render the vow of fidelity to the nation and the flag.
Next, candidates for a public judgeship could compete in a kind of election campaign. They introduced themselves briefly to the municipality and tried to convince the council to select them, in part underpinning their introductions with catchy slogans. After this, a group women was honored by the emergency service for their commitment. Afterwards, the mayor expressed his praise applauding those honored with a standing ovation.
Then the public hearings started. They proceed as follows: First a citizen presents his/her concern under oath, then there is an opportunity to contribute a public comment and then the council members decide via show of hands vote. A resolution for a newly opening alcohol shop was adopted, which determined how much tax the shop owner has to pay and which regulated the amount of beer it is allowed to sell.
After the participants of the meeting left, we were shown around the mayor’s office. There we were told, among other things, about the so-called Great Locomotive Chase, in which a train was stolen by a group of Union Army soldiers in order to destroy a railway bridge. Regardless, the train driver followed the soldiers first on foot, and then using a hand lever handcar to finally catch up and prevent their plans. This event, later made into a film, still fills many residents with pride over the re-captured train, which is still on display in a museum in Kennesaw.
Concluding our meeting took a few photos with the mayor. Then we had time to share our impressions on this very instructive and interesting evening in a restaurant around the corner.
Greetings from Kennesaw
Field Trip to the High Museum of Art
On Friday, April 1st we went to the High Museum of Arts in Atlanta to get a new view on modern art. In the building they showed a very special kind of art, for example dresses made by a 3D-Printer and pictures of a very special kind.
After we meet at the BOB bus station in front of the Student Center we went directly to the inner city of Atlanta where the museum is. The building already is a work of art, with three big screens which show you a preview of what is inside. One fun fact was that two of our English teachers surprised us by meeting us at the museum and gave us a guided tour of it.
Right after we entered, in the first room we could see some mannequins with very specials dresses. The dresses where made of metal, leather and plastic. The exhibition was spread over three floors and everywhere you could watch short films about the exhibited artwork and check out the materials used for the works.
The rest of the tour was also very interesting. After the dress exhibit we went to the photos. But these pictures were quite unique. The artist builds large pictures out of things like toys, garbage, dirt and more. Then he makes a photo of the whole thing. It was a very special experience to see such a great kind of art.
All in all, it was one of the most interesting visits we have made. The museum is very interesting, especially for people who are interested in unconventional art. If you ever visit Atlanta, you definitely should stop here and enjoy one of its ordinary exhibitions. We surely did.
On Wednesday in our 3rd week in the US we went to a Company called Coregistics. This company is very innovative and unique due to the way they work, although they are not the only company in their field.
After about 20 of us met at the Marietta Campus, we started our 20 minutes’ drive to Atlanta and the Headquarter of Coregistics where the CEO Mr. Wilhelm and the EVP Mr. Hall received us very friendly.
Mr. Wilhelm guided us in his big but comfortable office where they served us some snacks and refreshments. Right at the beginning Mr. Wilhelm asked us what we expecting from the company visit and answered our questions very well. Also he and his co-workers tried to talk slow and clearly, which was very friendly. After a great speech about the history and the working field of the company, they prepared a great lunch with pizza and drinks for us.
But was is this Company actual really doing?
The answer is for Europeans maybe a little bit weird, but for the American market its absolutely necessary. For example: if a Supermarket wants to sell a special box with different products in it, Coregistics make this possible. They put the products together and create a whole new box. For the producer this would be too expensive, so they instruct Coregistics to do it.
This company visit was absolutely great because Mr. Hall and Mr. Wilhelm created a fantastic atmosphere and tried to answer our questions a good as possible. And they were not afraid of a little discussion and asked for our own opinion. We also learned a lot about logistics and the American Market.
Career Fair – Georgia Skills Road Show
This Tuesday, March 29th, we participated in the Georgia Skills Road Show and introduced our own workplaces. Here we had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people and companies, make some publicity for our companies and improve our Business English.
After the Intercultural Practice Course with Dr. Sabine Smith we went directly to Kennesaw and started right away. We received our nameplates with our name and the company’s name and built our stand. Five people had to share one table and decorate it with laptops and prospects. After a short welcoming introduction the fair officially started. Then the guests arrived and took a look at our pictures and presentations.
From the beginning the fair was full with visitors – professors, students, and many others. It was really interesting to see how interested the visitors were in what we do and to explain to them what exactly an apprenticeship is and what the German companies do.
In the U.S. the school system and the kind of working are very different from Germany. Usually in Germany you finish your school and start an apprenticeship or you go to a university to study. You have to choose very early what you want to do with your future, but in the United States most people wait a long time to choose their job or way of education. One reason for that is the Hire and Fire in the U.S. In Germany its usually much more difficult to dismiss an employee than it is in U.S. And in the U.S. employees usually do not want to wait long until they can start working at a company.
Everybody in our Group was very surprised to see how many people visited the Career Fair and how interested they were. One of us even got a job offer.
Of course we had the opportunity to visit all the other stands and take a look at their presentations.
Beside our stands there also were stands of Porsche, a university and of companies from the field of medicine.
In the end of the fair the buffet was opened and that also concluded the fair.
This week Mirjam, Joanna and I visited Velociteach, a publishing company that produces books and audio materials.
After we got to the company by car we had a guidance through the building. Then we went into a conference room with three employees and Louis Alderman, the Instructional Designer, where they told us what Velociteach is and what they are doing.
Velociteach is founded by Andy Crowe and specializes in preparing employees for the so-called PMP Test. This global test certifies Project Manager and prepares them for their tasks. Because this test lasts several hours, involves 500 questions and costs round about $300, being prepared might be a good choice.
The preparation they offer is about books, Live-Training and e-Training. The base for these products is written by the CEO Andy Crowe and the content is used for different portals. For example they create videos which visualize their content, or create books to show people how to teach other people how to pass the PMP.
After this overview we got separated in order to see what the employees are doing the whole time and continued asking questions. One thing we have learned was that they have got no deadlines. Of course they should not work slowly, but this strategy aims to promote good working atmosphere. Another measure to create good atmosphere are the little boxes they are working in. These open offices should support communication so that everyone can share their ideas at any time.
To put it in a nutshell it was a really informative and interesting company visit, which showed us not only the American way of working in a publishing company, but also the possibility of interaction between employers and employees where both benefit from each other.
Thank you very much for this invitation and this interesting company visit. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot!
Past Sunday our group had the chance to watch a real American Football game. It was just a practice game it was still very interesting to watch. Just like real Football Fans we were equipped with hats, stickers and other merchandise stuff to cheer for our team.
Even in Germany, American Football is becoming more and more popular, so everybody was very interested to learn more about this sport and its rules. Luckily our peer buddies and a few members of our group were familiar with American Football and could explain it to the rest of the group. Just like at the cinema you could get nice food and refreshments at the stadium, like hot dogs, pretzels and more.
After the game we can say that everybody should be more interested in American Football. If you are a European you usually don’t know very much about this sport, but as soon you are familiar with the rules you will realize how awesome it is. And it has a lot more to offer than just a few big guys who punch each other. The coaches and the players have to think very intensively which tactics they use. Just one little mistake can be the reason for a big failure.
Therefore we can recommend everybody to do some research about the rules or get somebody who can explain them to you. Because if you know what is going on, the Hollywood films suddenly are easier to understand. Also you will be able to follow the next Super Bowl Party easily.
In the end we only can say we are now big fans of American Football and that we looking forward to convincing more people of this fantastic sport!
Company visit to Kuehne + Nagel, one of the main forwarding companies in the world
It is Friday again, our second Friday in Kennesaw. Today we have visited Kuehne & Nagel, one of the main forwarding companies of the world.
What is the main business of them and how do they earn their money? With 30 scholarship holders, including three forwarding agents-to-be, we drove to Atlanta, where we wanted to clarify all these questions. All three of us – Merle, Linn and Chiara – were very excited. The other company visits were interesting too, but to visit one of the main forwarding companies was a really big thing for the three of us. The others were also excited and informed themselves about the company and wondered what we are going to learn and see there.
After a two hour drive from Kennesaw to Atlanta (there was so much traffic around Atlanta) the vice president of Kuehne & Nagel, Mr. Juergen Gentzke, welcomed us. He is responsible for southeast of the USA.
After a snack in the cafeteria of Kuehne & Nagel with cookies and sandwiches, Mr. Gentzke’s presentation started. He informed us about the foundation of Kuehne & Nagel 125 years ago and also about the different application areas, modes of transports for different continents and volumes of goods in the different states in the USA. The greatest part of the imported and exported goods in the US come and go to/from Canada, Mexico and China – none of us expected this. Mr. Gentzke also informed us about the clients of Kuehne & Nagel in Atlanta, e.g. Delta Airlines. In addition he took time to explain some specific forwarding details and definitions like the measurements of containers, what is the meaning of FCL (full container load) and LCL (less than a container load) and gave information on the main seaports in the world especially in the USA.
After clarifying all of our questions he showed us the office building and the warehouse, where the goods for the airfreight are stored.
By way of concluding the very informative and exciting visit we made a group picture. In summary all of us were very glad to have visited Kuehne & Nagel and to have learned so much about the company.
Which are the next company’s visits? We are curious about the weeks to come.
Best wishes from Kennesaw/Marietta
Merle, Linn and Chiara
Yesterday evening the decision in the Miss KSU International competition took place. There were a lot of nations represented, including Germany. Gambia, Columbia and the Philippines were some of the rare examples. The competition was split in four parts:
- Presentation of the home country
- Final questions
In the beginning of the show the group „Loud“ entertained the audience with a dance. After the act the two hosts of the show introduced themselves to the audience. The first part of the competition started with the presentation of all candidates with a short sentence to each person. After this all competitors presented their home country with an act. Our candidate for Germany Carina Holl presented her home country in nearly perfect English to the full hall. In the next category the competitors showed the audience their personal talents. For this part our representative was supported by Rupert Mehringer and approximately 30 fans. Carina and Rupert performed the traditional bavarian dancing art of „Schuhplatterln“ and „Dirndldrehen“. The crowd was excited! Most of the visitors have probably never seen anything like this before. During the last part of the competition the candidates wore prom dresses and were accompanied to the stage by their partners. After that the ratings of all competition parts followed. Carina nearly won the popularity prize, but was surpassed by one candidate, so that she became second. Then the decision among the top 5 candidates followed. This small group had to answer the last questions, followed by the award ceremony for the Miss KSU International. This year the winner was from the Philippines. Although our Carina has only been in the US for one a half weeks she presented her country as if she has been living here for years!
Simon Gruber, Philipp Dörfler, Timo Langmeier, Rupert Mehringer
Visiting Zwick/Roell USA
On Thursday, March 24th 2016, Philipp, Rupert, Simon, Timo and 4 other fellows visited the Company Zwick/Roell at their Support location “Zwick USA” here in Kennesaw, Georgia. The Group was founded in 1920 in Ulm/Germany and specializes in manufacturing machinery for material testing.
As we’re all in technical occupations, it was really interesting especially for us to see how such a testing machine works and in which different styles material can be tested, whether on pull, compression, bent, torsion or many other possibilities. Everything can be tested and measured with one of these multifunctional testing machines.
At the beginning of our visit, we introduced ourselves in their presentation room. Afterwards we got a deep insight in the history of the company, its product spectrum and the extensive task areas, which consists mainly the testing of metal and plastic materials. The tear strength of a tissue, the compressibility of a LEGO-Stone or the required force to open a yoghurt cup can be measured. In a live demonstration we could see how a tensile test on a piece of plastic works and how its evaluated in real-time.
In the end we got a short tour through the office building, the workshop and the logistics sector.
A big “Thank You very much” to Zwick USA and our coordinator Sabine Smith, who has enabled this awesome visit!
Timo, Philipp, Simon & Rupert
Company Visit Airport Atlanta & Delta Flight Museum
This Tuesday Sabrina, Jördis and Lisa were able to explore the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport Atlanta and to visit the Delta Flight Museum. Due to our Apprenticeship as Air Traffic Management Assistants, this company visit was a real highlight for us.
The day started as usual with the Intense English Program Class and the Intercultural Training Class with Dr. Sabine Smith, which is scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
At 11:30 am we started our trip towards the Atlanta airport. Once we arrived there, we had enough time to explore the Domestic Terminal South on our own. Delta Airlines, which is based in Atlanta, is handling all their national flights in that terminal.
We were very impressed by the size of the airport and the outstanding passenger figures of 100 Million passengers in 2015. This visitor record makes Atlanta the market leader of all airports worldwide.
We started our tour at the Delta Flight on 2 pm with our tour guide Deon. From the beginning, we were impressed by the special location of the museum, which is located in an aircraft hangar close to Atlanta Airport. We were especially interested in the development of aviation in general and of Delta Airlines in particular. During the tour through the Delta Museum, we were able to follow the history of the second largest airline of the US. The airline started with airdropping pesticides to combat pest, followed by the transportation of cargo and mail up to the usual passenger transportation. This development is illustrated by original and unique exhibits. Not only the development of aircrafts, but also the fashionable change of the uniforms during many decades could be observed.
In addition, we learned that fundamental innovations in the aviation business, for example the introduction of the first jet way in 1959, came from Delta Airlines.
The highlight of the tour was visiting a special Boeing-767, which 20 000 employees bought in 1982 and gave away to Delta. The reason for that was the employees’ gratitude about the fact that they did not lose their jobs in economically difficult times.
The very kind and motivated tour guide Deon, the unique pieces on display, as well as the outstanding location made this company visit an unforgettable experience for the whole group.
On our way back to the Marietta campus, we stopped at the International Terminal of Atlanta Airport to pick up und welcome Clara, who joined our group in Atlanta on Tuesday.
We are looking forward to more exciting adventures and we are grateful for each experience that we are able to gain!
Sabrina, Jördis & Lisa
we are still settling down, but it already feels like we have been here for a few weeks now. It’s incredible how easy you start speaking English all the time. You talk to an American and don’t think about so much what exactly you say although we’ve been here just a few days.
Our day started as usual: standing up, English-Course, International Cultural Training. After this some of us (Rupert, Sebastian, Julia and Tim) went to the HINMAN 2016! This is one of the largest fairs for dentists and dental technicians. All of us were really interested in this. After we arrived it was very surprising how versatile the dentist medicine is. Milling machines here, grinding machines there and a lot more but it will be too much to list all the other things. You could find anything there. At first we rummaged the whole area which was really big, like everything here in America. Every one of us learned something new even though we all work in different areas (only Julia works with these things).
Most we dealt with the milling machines, because it is really interesting how dental crowns and bridges are manufactured today. They are produced as follows: 1. Scan the teeth. 2. Mark the places where you want to put the dental implant. 3. The computer creates a model 4. Send the information to the milling machine. It is unbelievable how exactly such a little milling machine works. It produces the implant in only 20 minutes!
After we were able to turn our glances away we explored the rest of the fair. Unfortunately, it closed at 5pm, so we had to bridge the time until we get picked up. So we decided to go to the big wheel to get an overview of Atlanta and it was amazing!
We just arrived!
Four days ago we departed from Germany. Two days ago the morning started a bit cooler than the days before. After a short walk to the meeting point with all 35 exchange students at the Joe Mack Wilson Student Center we all tried to activate our student cards. After the partly successful activation of the cards we went to the KSU Campus in Kennesaw by bus. We started diligently in our first German class and helped the American students with their exercises. After that course we went to the next meeting point for our first excursion to one of numerous company visits.
We went to Exploring Inc. – a company which is building up sceneries and establishing Marketing gag’s for example for The Walking Dead and M&M. Otherwise they also have many projects in event management. Funder and still CEO of Exploring Inc., Mr. Dave Whalens told us about his hard way from the bottom as a “One-Man-Show” to a thirty million dollar profit company per year. While driving back to the campus we talked to the American Business students, who enabled us that spectacular chance to join them in that company visit. They were also very excited about it. After a great and exhausting day we let it fade away with sport at the campus gym.
At this time we would thank the Joachim Herz Foundation (especially Yulia Kozyrakis and Sabina Brusch) and the Kennesaw State University (especially Sabine Smith, Jan Niehage and our Peer-Buddies) for these unforgettable, eventful and educational six weeks!
All preparations are finished. Everyone has said goodbye to his or her family and any kind of possible fear has been forgotten. Almost seven months the students have been waiting for their flight to the USA now, starting from the application to the last orientation meeting in Munich.
Since the day we found out who is getting the stipend, the group keeps with each other in touch per WhatsApp. Since we met each other for the first time in Hamburg, it was like meeting long known friends. Everybody felt fine and felt absolutely excited about the trip.
Everyone has his or her own kind of expectation about the United States, but we´re all totally sure we´ll meet cooperative people who are willing to show us different kinds of their culture and lifestyle.