The first days in New York

Thursday 22nd September – We arrived at the JFK Airport of New York at 2pm and were welcomed by the team of the Joachim Herz Stiftung. Together we drove to the Kolping House at 88th Street in Uptown Manhattan where we will stay our whole internship. There we met Sandy Jones the Senior Manager of the German American Chamber of Commerce the first time in person and were welcomed warmly. After we left our luggage at our rooms we went to have dinner all together at a Burger Salon in Upper East Side.

The second day in NY we started early at 9am at the Financial District in Manhattan Downtown and visited the GACC. There we had some Meetings about the Program, Internship and New York in general with Sandy Jones. We also met other Members of the GACC and went to dinner at an Italien restaurant in Queens.

The third day we did some Sightseeing with David from the GACC. Starting at Battery Park Downtown Manhattan we went on the Ferry to Liberty Island and afterwards to Ellis Island where we went to several Museums and where we got introduced to the History of the Statue of Liberty and the relation to the immigrants. Returning to Manhattan we went to Ground Zero to visit the memorial of the Twins and went up to the 102nd floor of the World Trade Center were we had an amazing view of the Big Apple.

Azubis in New York

Yesterday 10 Azubis arrived at the JFK Airport in New York!

After 2 years of waiting, we can finally start with our new pilot programm in New York.

The internships will be in Manhattan, the Bronx and Georgia. We are looking forward to their posts here on this blog.

The last days in canada!

The last week was again very exciting and eventful. In addition to the final exams and presentations at the college, the much anticipated boat party was scheduled for Wednesday evening. The Global Summer School students were divided into three buses and brought to the harbor – at the east side of Toronto. On site a big party ship was waiting for us. Besides the GSS students, many other young people from all over the world were on board. The three-hour boat trip started in the early evening and we cruised along the Toronto skyline towards the sunset in an exuberant atmosphere.

boat party

On Friday morning we all met for the certificate ceremony after we had successfully completed the courses with the final exams and presentations on Thursday. At the ceremony, individuals from each course were chosen to give a short, emotional graduation speech. Afterwards we celebrated apprpopriately, with a BBQ in the courtyard of the campus. It was a perfect ending and a great opportunity to spend time with everyone again and say goodbye.

certificate ceremony

On the day of departure, we went to the airport, directly after check out. Just like the arrival, everything went as planned and fortunately there were no problems at all.

Summer Language Program & Our second week in Toronto

Through the Summer Language Program, one of the courses you could choose at Humber Global Summer School, we were able to improve our English a lot. This made it a little easier for us to get into conversations with other international students and to make friends. The main focus of the course was on strengthening grammar, pronunciation and expanding vocabulary. This included repeating tenses, getting to know each other’s games, creative writing, summarizing articles and leading discussions. 

The second weekend started on Saturday by going on a trip to Canada’s Wonderland. 3 yellow buses were in front of the residence, ready to pick us up. When we arrived, the first impressions were overwhelming and everyone was eager to try the first rides. We experienced many beautiful moments as a group and were able to enjoy the day to the fullest, especially because of the great weather. 

At the end of the day, some of us went to Lake Ontario to cool down from the very hot day.

For the following day, the next exciting activity was already planned, because it went for all to river tubing. Thereby we went with small inflatable boats and paddles over a river, at the same time we saw turtles while paddling.

Intercultural Communications & Activities at Humber College in Toronto

In our first week we got to meet the other students taking part in this programme, from all different countries and all different parts of the world. Together with our professors we got to learn about new cultures and got an insight about the different types of communications.

With the help of diverse discussions and other creative exercises like roleplay we got to expand our way of thinking and became more open-minded when it comes to overcoming communication barriers. Through the different activities with the other Humber College Students we got to also put everything we have learned in practice.

After this first week, we can all confidently say that this course we are taking has definietly given us more understanding about the world and its people and are very excited to keep learning and see what other things are ahead of us.

Our first weekend

Yay! Our first weekend has finally started and we had so much to do and discover!

On Friday we got to take part in a Tunnel Tour located under the campus. We walked through the dark paths of the tunnels, learning about the history and even heard about a ghost living there!

Niagara Falls

Yup! We got to visit the Niagara Falls! This day was going to be a very exciting one!

We made our way with the bus – about a one and a half hour drive from the college. Upon our arrival we got greeted by the beautiful view of the falls, which got us so thrilled!

Not only did we get a nice view of the falls, and not only did we wear cool pink ponchos, but we also got to see the falls up close, thanks to the boat trip we took part in!

Treetop Trekking

This Sunday was definitely this weekends highlight! The weather was perfect for this!

We needed to gather up some courage, but once we did, we got to choose our difficulty rate and high up in the trees we went!

It was 100% worth it because we got greeted by the nicest view of the nearby lake.

Our first days in Canada

We did it! It was 2:55 p.m. when our plane landed in Canada. At the airport we were warmly welcomed by Humber staff with welcome signs.

After a short cab ride to the campus, we explored our college rooms. A short rest and most of us moved on to the Rib Fest nearby. There we spent the rest of the evening and already felt the American flair.

The next day we started with a “Welcome Breakfast”, where we met the other students for the first time. While having beautiful weather we were guided through the Lake Shore area. There we saw our highlight of the day – the skyline of Toronto.

In the afternoon we went by bus to downtown Toronto. As the first stop of our trip, we visited Nathan Phillips Square, where we took our first group photos.

Afterwards we went to Yonge & Dundas Square, where we split up into smaller groups to explore the city on our own.

We are looking forward to the coming days and hope to continue having a great time in Canada!

First group flies to Canada!

Today our first group of 15 German “Azubis” from Bavaria, Berlin and Hamburg is flying to Toronto, Kanada!

They will spend 3 weeks at the Global Summer School of the Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. They will attend different courses and meet joung people from all over the world.

We are excited to read about their adventures in this blog.

The Earth Day, the KSU Food Forest and the last moments before departure

What exactly is the Earth Day?

Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 in 175 countries. On Earth Day, people are reminded to think about their own consumer behavior and how they can get involved in protecting the environment themselves. Each year there is a new theme – this year it was about “Invest in Our Planet.” It’s about combating climate change and activating citizens to do their bit for the environment and nature.

How fitting that we visited the KSU FoodForest that day!

At the food forest aren’t only growing plants and trees. You can also learn almost everything about gardening.

A further project of the KSU to get more “green”

KSU’s Food Forest sustainably supplies its own cafeteria (Commons) with homegrown fruits and  vegetables. The fruit comes from the orchard meadows where the bees can really have a good time. Vegetable plots are available in the immediate area. However, the most efficient way to grow vegetables is in the in-door greenhouses. In the first one, a hydroponic system is used to grow lettuce plants and herbs, for example. This means that the roots of the plants are suspended in a nutrient solution. This method can be used throughout the year, and another advantage is that you can grow more plants without soil in a short time with little water. In the second greenhouse, plants such as tomatoes and zucchini can be grown. Here the plants are attached to strings. The advantage here is that a lot of plants can grow in a small space. Of course, the amount of fruit and vegetables produced here is not enough to supply the cafeteria on a daily basis. But with this project, a start has been made towards a sustainable future.

 A real rollercoaster of emotions at the end of the journey

Now the last full day has dawned and we are already mentally preparing for departure, but before that the activities that are on the list and need to be checked off will be done. Whether a visit to the shooting range, a trip to Anni Hill’s house or even a last visit to our favorite fast food restaurant. In the late afternoon around 4:30pm we all met (Peerbuddys + German students) at a restaurant called “the Nest” in Kennesaw’s Downtown, where we all got to experience the diverse cuisine of the American South one last time. 

After dinner, it was time to present our Elevator Speeches to each other in groups. In doing so, we became aware of everything we had experienced in the last 2.5 weeks and how this time had shaped us. No matter if it was the personality that was brought to a new level or friendships that were made or deepened. Also the excursions to different areas gave us a new impression of Atlanta or Kennesaw and thus cleared up all stereotypes.

Later in the evening, we sat together for another and for the time being last time in a cheerful round and enjoyed the good group dynamic. On the day of departure we were full of mixed emotions, with almost all of us more sad than happy that the 2.5 weeks had passed so quickly and that we had to travel back again. After a last morning, which was enjoyed once again to the fullest, we left for the airport and home with some very tearful and extremely heartfelt hugs. 

Last but not least, on behalf of all participants, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the program organizers of the Joachim Herz Foundation, the Joachim Herz Foundation itself, Kennesaw State University with all of its professors and, of course, all of our peer buddies, because without them the entire stay would not have been possible in the first place.

Relationships are the currency of business

Logbook entry nr. 4

It’s Tuesday, April 12, 2022, and a group of highly motivated apprentices are about to embark on their next adventure. Lurking in wait for them is part of the industrial jungle in Gainesville. Between modern machines and autonomous LGVs (laser guided vehicles), employees of “Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen” (ZF) give us deep insights into the production halls. Considering the upcoming dangers, we were equipped with protective clothing to be prepared for all eventualities. Thanks to the presentation of Plant Manager Brandon Loftus, we got valuable information about the company. ZF is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of driveline and chassis technology. As an automotive supplier, its customer base includes Tesla and Caterpillar. It also produces parts for public rail transport (e.g. Marta in Atlanta) and construction machinery. A special highlight was the quality assurance, especially the testing laboratory. This particularly pleased the group’s materials testers.

Contrary to this, our journey continued the following day in a young start-up company. “Vivint” is a young company which is active in the field of smart home security. In a short presentation we were introduced to their unconventional sales model. The young team works very independently and is in constant exchange with many American households. For us, this model was an intercultural experience, as it is not very familiar in Germany.

In our free time, we had the opportunity to gain insight into a typical American high school through a peer buddy. Our expectations from typical American high school movies were fulfilled. One of the German teachers gave us a guided tour through Kell High School in Marietta. We were fascinated by the variety of social clubs and recreational activities. Through the German club, we were able to talk with three students about cross-cultural differences. Who would have thought that the lockers, as you know them from the movies, are not used so extensively by all students? Nevertheless, sports equipment or similar items can be stored there, for example sports equipment for the school’s lacrosse team. They had a sports game today on their own sports field, which we enjoyed very much. To top it off, we were allowed to listen to the school orchestra rehearse, which we enjoyed very much.

Azubis at the High School

This laid the foundation for future expeditions into the wild corporate culture of South America. Off to new adventures!

KSU MEBUS Program, the Savoy Automobile Museum and History of Native Americans

The last two days were characterized by excursions and museum visits, which our peer buddies (exchange students from Kennesaw State University) planned and prepared for us. This was part of the German lessons with Professor Dr. Sabine Smith, who also accompanied us during the visits and always provided us with snacks.

MEBUS

Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program

MEBUS is a renowned music business school at Kennesaw State University. We received a great tour of MEBUS from Director Keith Perissi and Assistant Director Danny Howes, who impressively demonstrated their passion for music.

Azubis at the MEBUS facility

The tour started with a general introduction of what MEBUS is, what the business school stands for, and what the goal is. One inspiration that could be taken away from the tour: Music is not only art, but a huge business, which can also be a very fulfilling profession. Whether producing and publishing music, or going further in the music industry – the possibilities in this business are diverse.

All of this is brought together by the MEBUS. Music industry luminaries teach young, motivated people to make their passion their profession at a later date. Besides a lot of information about MEBUS itself, there was also a lot of information about the person who started this institution: Joel A. Katz. Joel A. Katz is a lawyer who has represented and still represents an incredible number of big names and personalities in the music industry.

Accordingly, the entire MEBUS building is also adorned with impressive exhibits. From signed guitars, various gold and platinum records, to Grammy Awards of world-famous musicians, all conceivable, formative moments of music history were captured.

In summary, a very nice experience, with many impressions that we will keep in mind for a long time. For us personally, this has been a trip that will surely resonate and inspire some of us. MEBUS shows what development opportunities are available to young people with the right resources – including art and culture.

Savoy Automobile Museum

Opening in 2021, the Savoy Automobile Museum brings the cultural diversity of the automobile to people of all ages. The museum’s guiding principle is “Connecting people to the cultural diversity of the automobile” – True to this motto, it displays a variety of American vehicles from automotive history. This impressive exhibition is complemented by the regularly changing special exhibitions. In our case, a special exhibition on racing cars of American motorsport history, as well as so-called Orphans (orphans) and Woodies (cars with wooden elements).

The Savoy Automobile Museum was an exciting experience. We were impressed by the variety and diversity of this exhibition. In the current constellation there were many cars that are witnesses of the automobile industry and document the development over the last decades.

The 1960 Cadillac (62 series)

It is incredibly interesting to see how much the automotive industry has changed over the decades. It is highly impressive that there are still such well preserved cars from these long ago times. In general, the Savoy Automobile Museum was stylish and very tidy. All in all, a very appealing museum that knows how to showcase each of the exhibits.

Etowah Indian Mounds

The next stop on our tour was Etowah Indian Mounds National Park, which is a historic site representing the remains/structure of a Native American settlement from the 1500s and has a museum showing the life of the people. These settlements were mostly built along rivers and on fertile clay soil and were protected by protective ditches and palisades.

On a model we could get an idea of the settlement and explore the remains during the following tour through the national park, where we were accompanied by a ranger and provided with information.

A model of the village at Etowah

The special feature of these settlements here in the north of Georgia were artificially created elevations on which, depending on the status in the hierarchy of the tribe, important people had built their huts. For example, the priest lived on the highest mountain, which was now accessible to us visitors via a staircase. Also a mud hut built after the model of huts of that time was to be visited in original scale. Especially the adjacent river with turtles living in it was a beautiful nature experience and a welcome change from the American traffic we experience here every day. Also, the detailed and vivid descriptions of life back then helped a lot in dispelling some stereotypes of classic “Indians.” 

Chieftains Museum

We made another stop at the Chieftain Museum. A historic mansion whose owner Major Ridge was significant in the history of the Cherokee tribe. The Cherokees were relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma after European immigrants settled the land and lost nearly all of their property as a result. This relocation of approximately 16,000 Native Americans is referred to in history as the “Trail of Tears” because approximately 4,000 of them lost their lives on the long journey to the territory “assigned” to them by treaty. Major Ridge acted as a representative of the Cherokee in many negotiations between immigrants and natives and was thus partly responsible for their expulsion, which made him increasingly unpopular. Therefore, the visit to the Chieftain Museum was an interesting experience, as it is a symbol of the conflict in the first half of the 19th century between immigrants and Native Americans in American history.

Rome

On our way back to Kennesaw, we had the opportunity to take in the beautiful small town of Rome during a brief stopover. Its name (like that of some other small towns in the southern USA) comes from the European model Rome. It is an example of a typical American small town in the southern states. It is known for its arts and culture scene and (at least according to the word of mouth of our peer buddies) also for a culinary specialty: fried green tomatoes, which were really good.

All in all, it was a very interesting two days that gave us a lot of insight into American culture and history that you wouldn’t have gotten as a tourist!