From May 6th to May 15th, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe with Dr. Lee Tesdell and a fellow student, Lindsay Miller. After a full semester talking about cross-cultural communication in class, it was fun to get to know the people and places of southwest Germany.
Visiting the University of Applied Sciences was an interesting experience, partly because their Communication and Media Management classrooms aren’t part of the main campus. Instead, they are located in a rented space several blocks away. After giving presentations to two classes about life at our university, we had the opportunity to sit in on Sissi Closs’ Information Architecture class. Students presented updates on projects they were working on, many of them affiliated with Women Empowerment in Kenya e.V. (WEIKE). WEIKE is a non-profit organization, founded in part by Closs, that aims to provide Kenyan women with the tools they need to provide for themselves and their families. I was impressed that students were working to solve real-world problems that affected people outside the classroom. That personal connection to a project is something I haven’t really experienced in any of my classes, but I would love for more MNSU professors to implement service-learning pedagogies.
Visiting Heidelberg Press, SEW Eurodrive, and TEKOM gave us an inside look at how technical communication functions within European industries. I didn’t observe too many differences from what we’re used to, but working primarily in German seemed to present some interesting challenges for translators. At SEW Eurodrive, the technical writers write documentation in German first, English second, and then use the English version as their template for other translations. It hadn’t occurred to me that translating from one language might be easier translating from than another. It was also fascinating to see how SEW Eurodrive and TEKOM were using technical communication to build online learning modules for students and employees.
Lastly, it was awesome to connect with Christine and Fiona, the two students who will be studying at MNSU in the fall. They were very generous with their time, which made our stay in Karlsruhe special. It truly felt like a cultural exchange when we sat around the kitchen table at one of their flats, eating a traditional German meal and talking about the differences between our countries. All my encounters with people from other cultures have led to the same thought: There is more that unites us than divides us. Hopefully we’ll have the chance to reciprocate Christine and Fiona’s hospitality when they arrive in Mankato. Until then, this is Jace Lancaster signing off.
Karlsruhe Castle, at the center of Karlsruhe
Today was a fun last day. We went to Stuttgrat where we visited Tekom. We had a good conversation about technical communication and why we choose to learn about it as well as learning more about what Tekom does.
Toby and Claudia (who were exchange students in Mankato last year) met us in Stuttgart and attended the Tekom presentation with us. We then went out to lunch with them and they showed us around Stuttgart before headed back to Karlsruhe.
Jace and I meet up with Fiona and Christine one last time before we leave. We had dinner and then got some ice cream. We can’t wait to see them in Mankato in just a few short months!
Can’t believe this trip is over….looking forward to going home but going to miss it here. Hope to visit again soon!!
After our time at TEKOM on Rotbuehlstrasse in Stuttgart, we went off for lunch with our old friends (they both spent Fall 2017 in Mankato). Afterwards we had 30 minutes before our train back to Karlsruhe so we walked the main pedestrian area of Stuttgart with Tobi and Claudia. Thank you, friends!
We are headed to Stuttgart today for a visit to TEKOM, the European professional organization of technical writers and communicators. We will be learning about their work to represent technical writers and to promote the profession. One of their most important activities to to hold conferences where vendors and professionals can meet.
Dr. Daniela Straub was a superb host, discussing e-learning with us. She kindly fostered discussion with all of the students so we heard from every one on topics including the value of on-line learning, cross-cultural themes, and prospects for employment in the technical communication field.
Dr. Daniela Straub addresses uis.
Students with Dr. Straub
Dr. Tesdell at the TEKOM entrance.
Today we did a city bus tour. It was cool to see all the landmarks of Karlsruhe and learn alittle bit more about it’s history. The tour took about 2 hours all together. It was a nice way to spe d our morning.
We then spent the evening with Christine and Fiona at Fiona’s flat. They made us a very German dinner of cheese spätzle. It was very good. We then ended the night watching a movie before heading back to our hotel.
Can’t believe we in My have one more day here. Grateful for the memories and friends we have made here.
Not only did we celebrate German Father’s Day on our trip here, today is Mother’s Day. Lots of families are out in the parks, strolling with their little ones, walking their dogs, and exercising. Jace, Lindsay, and I compared notes on our mothers over a sandwich lunch after our bus tour today. Since my wife is gone, the only mothers in my own family now are my two daughters-in-law. Happy Mother’s Day to Elizabeth and Lidija!
Cool concept…two-hour city bus tour. Get the highlights of Karlsruhe. You can get on and off as you like and there are audio guides in 10 languages.
We had a 20 minute stop at the Durlach tower for pictures and restrooms. Otherwise, we got all the way around the city (population is about 300,000) in 2 hours. It was very informative and worthwhile. Next time we should probably do the tour in the first day or two of the study abroad trip.
Today we spent the day in Karlsruhe. We went to a football game in the afternoon. Sporting events in Europe are a lot different then American sporting events so it’s cool to experience that. Unfortunately the Karlsruher FC lost a close one 3-2.
After the game we had ice cream at a little cafe in Karlsruhe. It was a nice time to just sit and talk about differences between American culture and German culture.
Jace and I then walked around alittle bit more before getting dinner and heading back to the hotel for the night.
We are headed to Wildpark Stadion here in Karlsruhe for a soccer game between Karlsruhe FC and Jena FC, both in the 3rd division of the Bundesliga. Hope to bring back some photos.
Today we’re over half way done with our trip which is sad but we had a wonderful day. Today we headed to SEW where Diana Fushs gave us a tour and some information on the company. She is an alumni of the University of Applied Sciences so she was very invested in the presentation and we had very good hospitality from her.
We got back from Karlsruhe around 2 and Jace and I headed back to our hotel where we rested for a couple of hours. We then headed to a market where we bought some food for dinner and came back to the hotel to eat. After dinner we decided to walk around Karlsruhe alittle bit and vist the main campus of the University of Applied Sciences because we had only been to the other building. We then walked around alittle bit more in a park before heading back to the hotel for the night.