My third week in the internship phase started with an adventure on Sunday. My next door neighbor from my home recently moved into a flat in Frankfurt, and my childhood friend was visiting during a break in her study abroad adventure in Dublin, Ireland! I got to see some familiar faces and enjoy a little tour of Frankfurt for the day. We saw the River Main on a boat tour, which is a beautiful.
A huge benefit of the travel in Germany is that there are ample options of places to go, and they are all relatively cheap! Busses and trains are always available to go to other countries, and flights aren’t expensive either. It is really easy to explore without any access to a car and on a budget. I have learned a lot about saving and having fun at the same time, and hope to bring some of these lessons back with me.
After getting back from my Frankfurt day trip, I had a very exciting week at work. I met with some Masters students from the Technical University Dortmund, and we toured the Kaisergarten in Oberhausen with my boss, Dr. Oldengott. I really enjoyed seeing the art piece/bridge “Slinky Springs to Fame,” which connects the old Emscher to the current engineered Emscher, and looks over the Rhine-Herne Canal. It is a super funky bridge, with bright colors, and it lights up at night. It also bounces a little bit when you are on it, looking and feeling like a slinky.
One of the highlights of the whole praktikum was attending the UNESCO World Heritage proposal meetings for the Ruhrgebiet as a UNESCO Cultural Landscape. These meetings took place all day for three days, and I was able to meet some really interesting and wonderful professionals trying to get the Ruhr region recognized by UNESCO as a special heritage site. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I really learned how tedious and difficult it is to create a proposal for a cultural landscape. Every element of your proposal needs to ensure protection, and the Ruhr is a huge area.
Since the meetings took place at the Hansa Kokerei in Dortmund, I also was able to get a private tour of the formal industrial site. It is so beautiful and unique, due to the way it is preserved. Unlike a place like Landschaftspark, where many structures are repurposed, the Cokery was left as it is, with less restoration and repurpose, allowing it to show itself for what it is. The outdoor areas were redesigned, but some insides of buildings were eerily unchanged, and the stench of coke oven gas still lingered.
As for my weekend activities, I enjoyed hanging out in the city of Bochum, watching the Supercup Soccer game, rooting for Dortmund, and meeting new people.
Currently, I am halfway done with my praktikum – which means I have been away from the US for a total of 11 weeks… It’s been a crazy ride so far and has gone by so fast. I’m excited to go home, but will miss this way of life.