My second (and final) week of my two week class was starting and the exam was at the end of this week. Since it was only two weeks long, it was easy to create a study guide and review sheet to study for the exam. My professor was very clear about what would be on the exam, but it still was difficult to study for material I had just been exposed to the week before. I took the exam at the end of the week and was relieved to have the class over!! I had made two really great friends in these two weeks. They are in the Buddy Program at my University, which is essentially a group to help exchange students get settled in. Their names are Philipp and Sarah and are both studying Business Economics at my school, Hohenheim. They have gotten me accustomed to the school and city so much and I cannot thank them enough!! After we all celebrated my class being over, I took a train to Brussels, Belgium for the weekend to meet friends from UIUC!! I was there for two nights and absolutely loved it. The food, the beer, the atmosphere, etc–EVERYTHING was awesome about Brussels. I especially enjoyed the chocolate!! Godiva chocolate originated here, so that was a treat!! After the weekend was over, I took a train back to Germany and was back for only one day before my next adventure: London!!
After arriving back to Germany after exploring Rome and Barcelona, my next class began! This class was 6 hours a day, but it was only 10 days long! The class periods went by very slowly, but the class, itself, went by quickly. My class was called Food Safety and Quality Chains and was even more boring than my previous class. Again, since this was a Masters course, the students in my class were older and were completing their PHDs or Doctorates, so they knew so many details about the subjects discussed and I had not even heard of most subjects we discussed. The basis of this class was to discuss the processing and chain market of food production–from raw materials to the final product. like my previous class, the students were mainly from Nigeria and Asia, but also from Germany and Austria, too. The first weekend of this class, I took a weekend trip to Amsterdam! I met friends from UIUC here. We all stayed at the same hostel in the Red Light District and it was an experience I’ll NEVER forget. My favorite aspect about Amsterdam was visiting the Anne Frank Museum. Amsterdam is a city that I wouldn’t ever really consider traveling to when I have a family, so I’m so glad I went while studying abroad. While in Amsterdam, I also went to the Heineken Museum and also went on a canal ride, which was so fun! I returned to Germany after the weekend and it was time for the second and final week of my class!
Hello!! My name is Scott Stover and I am currently studying in Stuttgart, Germany at Hohenheim University. I arrived in Germany in the middle of January, a couple of days before class started; I’ve been writing a weekly blog but my dorm didn’t give me internet access until extremely late into the semester, which was horrible. My program is unlike other programs at UIUC. I am the only student from UIUC at this University and there is only one other American at my University (whom I haven’t met). I am studying Agribusiness at UIUC, but in Germany, I am in the Environmental Sciences program. My first class started and ended in January and was called Global change Issues. The first day of class was interesting because the class is actually in the Masters Program so most of the students were older and completing their PHDs or Doctorates. It was interesting to see that most students were actually not from Germany–there were students from Nigeria, China, Japan, Italy, Spain, Austria, and many other countries. The first couple weeks, we talked about greenhouse gas emissions and how they have been increasing rapidly from 1980’s until now. It was cool to hear students’ perspectives on these issues in Europe!! Most were so so surprised that everyone in my family has their own cars–this is NOT common in Europe at ALL. My class was four hours a day. I didn’t meet any great friends in my class, but they were all very nice! It was kind of like starting college again; there wasn’t a welcome orientation I had to attend and I didn’t have even have students in my class with my same major. This made it hard to adjust in Germany at first!
This past week has been a relaxing week with focusing on my upcoming exams and hanging around Copenhagen while we get a few lucky days of sun. I had the chance to visit Lynettefaellesskabet, the main waste-water treatment plant in Copenhagen for my danish environmental class. This plant plus an additional plant located outside of Copenhagen are responsible for the water discharge of about 1.1 million people in the greater Copenhagen area. After being lost for about half an hour and biking down random roads by the harbor, I arrived to my first ever waste-water treatment plant and not knowing what at all to expect. Denmark has a reputation (one that they are very proud of) of being one of the most sustainable green countries in the world which is evident in their cycling culture (almost 40% of Danes cycle to work in the capital), and that almost 20% of Denmark’s energy comes from renewable energy source (wind turbines) and it is even projected that by 2020 it should increase up to 50%! Least to say I was ready to see some clean green efficiency at the plant. Waste-water consists of used water from private homes, industry, and rainwater that flows into the drains. It takes the plant about 24 hours to treat the water until it can be released back into the ocean. The treatment is divided into 3 processes: mechanical, biological, and chemical treatment. At every stage, the plant tries to utilize and re-cycle every component in the system. For example the residual products from the treatment phase are incinerated and the ash is reused for industrial purposes such as heating insulation. Although this system has it flaws to still be worked out, this plant is a great start in the step of the right direction of eliminating our carbon footprint. If you would like to learn more about Lynettefaellesskabet and the processes of waste-water treatment you can watch a great informational short video at this link http://www.lyn-is.dk/Lynettef%C3%A6llesskabet/Pr%C3%A6sentationsfilm.aspx Overall I enjoyed my visit to the plant and it was great to see this process in action. This visit definitely made me water conscience on how much water I waste and I hope to change bad habits to try and limit my water waste (which I encourage you all to do) but for now I have to continue studying for my exams next week, and then can’t wait for my spring break trip to Spain and Turkey!
After my week long adventure in Scotland and Berlin, I spent the past two weeks in Toulouse attending classes, enjoying the early spring sun, and spending time with my study abroad friends.
For the past two months, Toulouse has been strangely overcast, but last weekend spring prematurely started by a few days. Everyone came out of the woodwork to enjoy the sun by the river. I was lucky enough not to have classes Friday afternoon so I took a walk through the sunny, bustling streets. My brother’s voice came to mind: “It’s working hours, don’t these people have day jobs?” Regardless, everyone was enjoying the sun and embracing the weekend. A jazz band busked by the center square and as I passed a couple danced in the center of a large group of spectators. On the other side of the “capitole”, there was a market full of stands selling wine, bread, cheese, escargot, and fine dried sausages. I then strolled to the riverfront and found a small patch of grass to close my eyes and listen to a nearby guitar.
The next day was also sunny so my friends and I took advantage of it as we planned our future travel dates.
It has been a nice break from constantly being on the move, but I’m hitting the road once again for a quick five days in northern Spain to visit some friends from U of I.
I was thankful to have a more relaxed weekend. I have been very busy the past two weekends and the last two months as a whole. The plan was for my roommate Shawn and our friend Lila to head up to Akaroa for the day on Saturday. The weekend before, the school had organized a trip to Akaroa and everyone that went said it was amazingly beautiful. They were right.
Our day started very early because we had to catch the 7:17 bus into Christchurch where we got onto a shuttle that took about an hour to get to Akaroa. The road to Akaroa had many extremely sharp curves and was very hilly, but it was definitely one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on. The town has significant French and German history and lies on Banks Peninsula. I was so excited because we were planning on going kayaking and most of the time you can see dolphins while in the water. When we arrived, we decided that there was just too much we wanted to explore in the town and decided we would just kayak another time. It had awesome tourist shops right along the water and I was finally able to get some New Zealand souvenirs.
We did a lot of walking around and ate at a cafe and even tried some delicious fudge. Luckily, it was a gorgeous day and very sunny. We caught our shuttle back and ended up having to wait one hour for our bus back to our school because it was a Saturday. Not great, but hey it happens. A lot to us, anyways. After the 12 hour day, I was exhausted and went to bed early. Unfortunately, I found out I cannot sleep in anymore like I used to. Oh well, I just spent 6 hours at the library instead. Assignments are starting to pick up and April is becoming very busy for me school wise.
Since I don’t have much to talk about, I figured I would explain my new favorite snack. It is called the Tim Tam slam and it is absolutely amazing. Tim Tam’s are the main cookie down under. I cannot compare them to anything back home, but they do have a wafer consistency to them. They are covered in chocolate and some have caramel in them or have white chocolate on the outside. For the Tim Tam slam, it is best to use the double coat Tim Tams. You bite one corner of the cookie (biscuit down here) and then bite the diagonal corner. You then suck a hot drink like tea or hot chocolate through the corners like a straw and then hurry and slam it in your mouth because it will fall apart from melting. It may sound strange, but it is delicious.