Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reality Check

The flight back to the States from Munich went very smoothly for Jackie, Mike and I however I wish I could have been with the group in the Crown Plaza; AF. Unpacking everything and putting my entire suitcase into the washer was a very good feeling along with the nice cool breeze of air-conditioning as I walked into my house. But for some reason I feel like I miss German and a part of me really enjoyed their lifestyle and culture. I thought the first bite of my chicken number seven from Taco Bell would be the best thing ever, I was wrong. My body rejected the grease-filled tortilla and I missed the doner or the freshness of a deli.

I feel like the experience in Germany really made me feel part of their culture as I used their mass transit systems, ate the local grub, drank the best tasting beer and conversed with other locals, so coming back to the States was kind of a letdown. I feel compelled to live a greener lifestyle here in Lincoln and try to eat as healthy as I can. I want to ride my bike more as opposed to driving to limit gas usage, I want to make my own food and use the least amount of electricity as possible.

Also I don’t really know what to do with my days yet. My job starts on the seventh and I’m so use to attending media appointments that an open/free day feels like forever. Overall I really enjoyed Germany and there is no doubt in my mind I will head back to Europe as soon as the cash flow starts running again. I want to experience all other cultures in different countries and learn how they operate because as most of the agencies said, you must understand others cultures in order to appeal to them.

Berlin vs. Munich, Reflection

Berlin and Munich may only be one hour away from each other via plane, but they are extremely different cities. I witnessed these differences firsthand during our walking tour. Munich architecture is much more uniform; Berlin had several different types and eras clashing, sometimes on the same street. Berlin also seems to embrace its past more than Munich. In Berlin, there were memorials and signs everywhere for important places and events from the last 100 years. In Munich, the memorials are often not marked and are there only for those that want to see them.

People in Munich seem to be less pushy and friendlier. The city is busy and the streets are full of people, but the pace is not as fast here. Munich seems more leisurely. It is also prettier; there is less litter, less graffiti, and more trees. Berlin was a very industrial city.

Looking back on the trip as a whole, it was an incredible eye-opening experience. I learned so much about a country and about my profession. I had never been to Europe, so it was great to see the German lifestyle. One of the things that struck me was how quiet and “plain” the cities were; there were no neon signs or loud music playing, like in Tokyo or New York City.

The best parts of the trip were the meetings with the advertising agencies. The variation in the companies really made it worthwhile; the difference between McCann Erickson (with 24,000 employees worldwide and a 6 story building) and Fritzsch and Mackat (18 employees and one floor) were staggering. I got the impression from both of these visits, as well as from Scholz and Friends, that the number of people does not matter. The things that matter in advertising are research, dedication and passion. This is what I will take away from my experience in Germany. I have a new understanding of the ad world and the real world.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


After awaking early to begin the long journey back to the United States a portion of the group were shocked to realize we had another day coming in the European Union. Today was a day where most of us went from sadness over the trip ending, to excitement to getting retell our stories to loved ones. However, in the end of the emotional roller coaster, we were left with a feeling of acceptance and understanding.

After leaving Munich and saying our goodbyes to friends both old and new, a group of eight of us were left, stranded in Amsterdam. We arrived in the Netherlands airport to realize our flight is leaving the next day at eight in the morning.

Some were angry, some were shocked but everyone was slightly lost. We made our arrangements (provided by the airline for the inconvenience) to stay in a nearby hotel and provided meal vouchers.

After letting the new opportunity to discover (a little bit) of a new country, some of our rag tag bunch set out to discover the city that is Amsterdam.

With time running short, we all decided to hop on a train and head to the only place we had all heard of about Amsterdam:

The Red Light District.

This was an interesting experience as both marijuana and prostitution are illegal in the United States, but are common place here.

It still strikes me as weird to see women offering themselves for a price. It just seems so strange that someone would subject themselves to that, but I understand that it is their choice to do it. However, it does leave me with many questions that I would like to ask these women, the most prominent one being: how did you get into this job?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Soo..I guess I'm famous in Germany

So as you all may know…I’m famous in Germany. For those of you who didn’t, well…let me tell you why.

First off – my last name is Mosel. In the Southwest region of Germany, you can find the Mosel River and the Mosel Valley where they make Mosel wine. If you look on almost any German wine bottle, you will discover my “famous” last name stamped across the lower back. I have seen my “famous” last name at the grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Of course, it was exciting to see my last name everywhere. It’s also a little reminder of my family tree and the connection I have with Germany.

So....if you haven’t already figured it out – I’m not famous…(not yet anyway! Ha-ha!)

How high did I get?

Adrenaline ruled me today as I entered the Alps. Snow capped mountain tops, majestic architecture and one high flying experience. Tijgan was his name. A short rather bulky man who has been Para-sailing for 21 years now decides he doesn’t have enough time for a wife and kids in between his soaring sessions. That was my instructor slash pilot for my trip 8,000 plus feet high in the bitter cold Alps.

Strapped in, ready to set flight, reality sunk in as I stood looking over the edge of a mountain. Knowing that one slight slip up of the take off could serious cause some damage (no offensive to my other flying mate, much love). You ready? Those were the words I heard before taking the leap of faith. Two steps forward followed by a jolt back as the sail shot to life then catapulting off the edge into one experience I will never forget.

My first thoughts were oh great I’m going to die as we raised altitude at an alarming rate. A constant beeping noise assured me we were getting higher. The horizon was endless and the views were breathtaking, I knew right then it was worth it. Leaning right and leaning left we were able to direct ourselves soaking in all the landscape from a bird’s eye view. The feeling of no boundaries, controlling the wind and experiencing life is all components to a risk-seeking junky.

Today was a day I will never forget and the experience of Para-sailing through the Alps was an amazing opportunity only one could dream of. My trip to the Alps exceeding all my expectations and gave me a lifelong story.

Good Thing I Can Only Say ‘thanks bye’ in German

As Kayla and I sat in the U-Bahn riding along to our next destination we were rudely confronted by a large German man. At first we were caught a little off guard due to the fact that we were just simply sitting there and spacing out. He kept pointing at the floor, then at the seat and then at us. He was speaking strictly German, which is totally acceptable considering we were in his, what I would assume, home country. More people began to notice what was going on and the tension was building. Others from our group were looking at us just as confused as we were. As the man went on for about 3 minutes as Kayla and I just sat there, not saying anything. After awhile we caught onto what this man was so distraught about: Kayla’s shoes touching the seat for a mere 30 seconds. 

Although we knew that this was a bad thing to do, it wasn’t on purpose and in no way did it deserve a German scolding. Not only did we not understand what he was saying but his attitude about the whole thing was completely unnecessary. He definitely belittled us and I personally hate that feeling. Not only was it not fair, but also super confusing. We appreciate the German culture but not the verbal embarrassment.

"Work Brings Freedom" - Dachau

This past semester, I had the opportunity to take a course about the history of the Holocaust. In grade school, I was always told the so-called basics of what happened during WWII, never all the details. This particular course did just that. I was deeply moved and saddened what my professor had told me. How could people be so cruel? Question after questions filled my head.

Once I had decided to go to Germany, I thought it would be a perfect way to get to visit a concentration camp, preferably Dachau located right out of Munich. It wasn’t until a survivor came to speak with my class that I knew I HAD to visit one no matter what. He explained to us in perfect detail about his time before, during, and after the war. I could envision everything he said clearly. The last thing he said to us was, “I want you all to realize that you are the last generation to hear a survivor from the Holocaust.” I knew after this I had to make the visit a priority.

Unfortunately, we were not able to get to Dachau till about 5:00pm (which was when it closed). We were all a little upset but decided to make the most of it anyway and walk around to see as much as we could. The words, “Work Brings Freedom,” are above me as I walk through the main gate into Dachau. I instantly get chills and begin to think of the people that walked through the same exact gate and never had the chance to walk back out. My emotions were real and something that is hard to explain. I am extremely glad that I got to travel to Dachau while my stay in Germany. It will forever be with me.

Tour Guides

We have had a lot of tour guides on this trip, but three of the most interesting people accompanied us to the castle today. The first and most “colorful” was a man named Tex. This name is apt, as he is a stereotypical Texan man. Tex was tall, brash and wore a vest with cigar pockets and Cubans. He liked to make inappropriate comments, but he was a good herder of people and he got us to the right train.

Amber is a barely 5 foot tall girl from Dallas, TX. It was great to have her lead the bike tour; she had a lot of knowledge about Ludwig, the castle grounds and Fussen in general. I have really been impressed by all of our guides; they know so much about this fascinating country and they are able to repeat it easily to us. Amber had a lot of fun cracking jokes and talking too, making the long day go by fast.

Brad proved my theory that everyone from South Africa is cool. He was a laidback guy that goes para-sailing every free day and had been skydiving and bungee jumping as well. I think a small town like Fussen is perfect for people that like to spend time outdoors. The view of the lake is phenomenal and the beautiful trees that lined the Alps Mountains make the city even better. I now understand why Ludwig would want a huge castle here.

The castle itself was magnificent and sprawling, even though Ludwig died when only 16 of the 60 planned rooms were built. The story of Ludwig was very interesting and only adds to the colorful history of Germany (and especially Bavaria). The ornate decoration inside each of the rooms was likewise fantastic. I was especially intrigued by the intricately hand-carved wooden bed in Ludwig’s room. This visit was the perfect capper to a great trip in Berlin and Munich.

Stairs Are Not My Friend

As a grand finale to our two week excursion to Germany we spent the day at Neuschwanstein Castle. As yet another castle belonging to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein has to be his most most impressive and beautiful.

This castle was constructed in 1869 and was never completed due to Ludwig's death in 1886. However, even though the castle has never been (and likely never will be) finished, it is one of the most awe-inspiring locations to visit.

The castle itself is located on a cliff showing of it's majestic design. The beautiful backdrop of the Alps makes the secluded location a spectacle to see. The castle was also Walt Disney's inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle.

After an agonizing hike up at least 700 steps (I stopped counting at 147). We reached the front gate and began a tour beginning in Ludwig's throne-less Throne Room.

Only sixteen rooms were completed out of the planned 60, however the work in them was a remarkable site. Giant murals and intricate woodwork allow the mind sink into a fantasy world created from Wagner's operas.

Overall, I feel another visit to this castle will be necessary sometime during my life. My first visit was awe-inspiring and unforgettable, however a second visit (with more time to view the castle and it's surroundings) would allow me to truly realize the spectacle that is Neuschwanstein Castle.

These boots weren't made for walking.

Only let down of the whole trip: not finding black leather boots.

My wallet definitely will protest that comment and say, “It’s totally fine you didn’t buy ANOTHER pair of shoes. And you have to pay rent on Sunday.” Good thing I didn’t find any, otherwise my wallet would have been super mad at me.

In Berlin Rosemary, Brett and I shoe shopped for a good hour and a half. It’s not that we couldn’t find any cheap boots it’s that we couldn’t find any boots. But I wasn’t worried yet, because I knew Munich would come through and have the perfect pair for me. Soon after arriving in Munich I began to worry. Rosemary and I searched again throughout numerous shoe stores, but none could be found. We did get a little closer to our goal because here they had the boots, just not our size (or price range). I realize this is a silly thing to be upset about, but the thing that truly upsets me is that every other girl in Germany has a pair, so why not me?

Reality has set in now as I begin to pack my 16 kilo suitcase without my 1 kilo dream boots. But I will look on the positive side and say there is a pair of Steve Maddens waiting for me to purchase them back in the states.

Headband sunburn line across my forhead.

Today was a beautiful day in Bavaria. We traveled to Fussen to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle. Our two hour train ride was obviously long, but three-fourths of the way through we got to see the Alps for the first time.

On the coolest bikes I have ever seen (sea foam green, beach cruiser type) we got to travel through the forests surrounding the castle. Everything was so green there! It was the real grass green that people usually don’t notice; but with all of the blooming foliage around it was hard to miss. Some of us were able to jump into the original Swan Lake, while others opted to just dip their feet.

Our trail guide, Brad (hello, Brad!), who also could be recognized as a professional photographer after our group got done, led us up the mountain to see the castle. The hike was just as beautiful as the bike ride. So many waterfalls and boulders made up the landscape I truly felt like I was in a fairy tale. After a quick tour of the castle a few of us continued our hike up a little more to see Neuschwanstein from Mary’s bridge. This was definitely the best part of the tour. Even though the backside of the castle was covered with scaffolding the scenery was breathtaking.

A brief stop for a killer "jumping" picture and we were back on the subway headed toward our last night in Germany.

'Cause You're Bittersweet

Today was our last day in Germany. We visited King Ludwig's castle. It was so amazing. We went on a bike ride through the Alps countryside to Swan Lake. I even took a little bit of a dip into the water. It was so cold, but very much worth it. His castle itself was a very beautiful. However, I do not like how they've gutted it out and turned it into a tourist trap. I understand that he owed them money and they took his castle for that reason, but I find it disrespectful.

I hate to leave Germany, but I am ready to see my family and fiance again. This is a bittersweet day, but I will manage. I want to thank Frauke, Ali and the J school for giving me this opportunity.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Take note America

From our time in Germany I’ve found this country strives to have an eco-friendly environment.

In our hotel in Berlin I realized that the hallways were always dark. It wasn’t until I found a switch on the wall that I realized the lights must have been on a timer. It surprised me to find out that the hotel was conserving energy. Any hotels I’ve stayed at in the U.S. have hallway lights on 24 hours a day.

After arriving in Munich, we noticed that our closet doesn’t have any light switch. Instead the closet has a sensor that automatically turns the light off when you go to shut the door.

Also while in Germany, many of us have already noticed the recycling bins that are all over Berlin and Munich. This was very different for me, because the only thing I recycle at home are cans.

People who recycle cans in Lincoln can take them to a recycling place to get money back. One thing different about Germany is that many places often will have self-serve machines where you can take your plastic bottles, aluminum cans, etc. and get a little spare change. We found one of these at a grocery store in Berlin, which I think is very convenient.

Not only are people in Germany saving money by doing this, but they are taking a step in the right direction in today’s world. I would definitely like to see as many recycling bins in Lincoln as I do here in Germany.

Pure Madness

It goes up and it goes down. Sometimes it is working other times it is not. If you walk in the opposite direction it is going you might struggle a bit getting to where you need to go. It has an industrial feel with many little ridges on the steps. Don’t get caught standing on the wrong side because that side is usually for the walkers. The right side is the side to relax and give your legs a rest after a long day of walking. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m talking about an escalator. The escalators in Munich are the exact same anywhere else, such as the States but different rules apply. If you stand on the left side you may be subjected to a bump or a few swift words. The left side is reserved for those who are running late or need a little exercise. The right side is designed for the stander which usually is formed in a single file. However, having such a big group we tend to forget these simple rules and take up any and every step possible. I have learned to be more cautious of others because they have lived in this specific escalator culture. Everything seems to be on point in this city, along with Germany, when dealing with deadlines and organization. People follow these simple rules to make their lives easier and I’m sure us Americans are nothing but distractions to their strictly routine days. So next time you hop on an escalator remember these few rules to avoid an unnecessary confrontation.

Better late than never, yeah?

Today we visited the Volkswagen Autostadt. It was crazy! When you walk in the “theme park” there is a huge globe made up of the latitude and longitude lines hanging from the ceiling. Below that, in the floor there are approximately 50 smaller globes; each display a different message that the architect thought was/is important. For example: time zones, fault lines, global warming rates, places with the worst drivers and aids epidemic rates. It was uber cool to look at all of the things he thought were important ten years ago and realize how important they still are now.

We talked to Nicholas who is the director of International Media. He was a very interesting guy to speak with and had so many ideas that I am interested in. The Autostadt was in the processing of creating and opening an environmental awareness wing to the main building. Nicholas said they thought it was very important to teach children and young adults the importance of the environment and what we can do to protect it. He also said VW holds seminars for teachers so they can take what they learn at the Autostadt out into the community and raise awareness to the people who are not lucky enough to travel there. Overall, it sounded like VW is doing a lot of things to help the world and not just simply selling “environmentally friendly” cars, but teaching and exposing people.

I'm Ready For My Close Up

In a single day I’ve scurried through a submarine, rode a dragon like dog creature and starred in a short film. These were my adventures at the Bavarian Film Studio. This is where several films have been made. It has become a theme park now. The first thing we did was create our own mini-movie. I played a crew member on a spaceship. It is fun to be able to make a fool of yourself and it be totally acceptable. Afterwards we roamed through several sets to movies, these included Das Boot and The Never Ending Story. It’s amazing to have images you saw on your television become tangible. Our finally was to watch a stunt show. I was floored! If I attempted anything similar to that I would probably break about 17 of my bones and puncture several vital organs. Overall today was a great experience, next time I won’t eat the McDonald’s. It was pretty raunchy.


Today could not have been more beautiful. I only have one word to describe it – BREATHTAKING! If I lived in Potsdam, the Sansouci Palace and vineyard would be a place I would go to relax everyday. I have always wondered what it would be like to live in a palace and over look a vineyard with fountains and statues placed throughout. When I walked inside Sansouci Palace, I was speechless. How could anyone design something so ornate? The moment I walked into each room, my eyes were glued to the ceiling. I could not look away because I was astonished of how gorgeous it was. Yes, at times it got to be a little much but this was real Rococo art to the max.

One of the reasons I loved this palace so much was because it’s still the same as it was when it was first built. I love to think of how Friedrich the Great walked down the very same halls I got to walk down or how I was able to stand in the entrance of the grand ballroom where many royals stood before entering the ball. These are just a few reasons why I appreciate moments like these.

The Past Few Days at a Glance

The Munich walking tour was amazing and so insightful.  I knew there was history in Munich, but not to this extent.  History aside, I would have to say my favorite stop of the entire walk was at the chicken display, part of the advertising campaign for the European elections put on by Scholz & Friends, the advertising agency we visited in Berlin last week.  I am so glad we got to see it.  It accomplished its mission with us as we all gathered around to take photographs and further disseminate their campaign. 

That night, a few of us went to the Hofbräuhaus.  Originally built for Wilhelm V., Duke of Bavaria and his royal court, it is now the quintessential German pub visited by tourists and locals alike.  There was music and dancing, quite the atmosphere! 

Wednesday, we went to Dachau Concentration Camp.  Even though we were there only under an hour, it was still powerful.  After taking one u-bauns too many, we ended up arriving at the memorial after closing time and therefore were not allowed into the museum or crematory areas.  Armed with no audio tape and too late for a guide, we made the most of the experience and resorted to reading the plaques and exploring on our own.  I definitely think the trip, regardless of how it is done, is an important one to experience.  There was an eerie feel to the place, and I was almost a surreal feeling to stand in the place where so much tragedy has transpired. 

Fritzsch and Mackat Advertising Agency in Berlin by Michaela and Emma

Fritzsch and Mackat is a local Berlin advertising agency founded in 1993 that specializes in East and West advertising in Germany. Our speaker was Mr. Mackat, the CEO of the agency. Fritzsch and Mackat currently employs eighteen people and they see each other as a close family instead of a large corporation but are interested in future growth. Our speaker showed us a slide show called “The Secret of Eastern and Western Germany.” The object was for brands to be equally successful in each region of Germany. To determine how to proceed with this challenge the agency used quantitative surveys and research studies on East and West Germany to see how to steer their advertising campaigns toward the correct audiences in these two areas.

Mr. Mackat described the Eastern Germans as not liking advertising, being more critical, and responding more to messages based on trust and community. The Western Germans were more liberal, enjoyed adventure, and prided themselves on being unique individuals. Even though the wall fell twenty years ago, that does not erase the fact that it still stood solid for forty years. Because of this, the Eastern and Western Germans still see themselves as being very different. In fact, only 1.4% of all marriages in Germany are comprised of an East and West union.

Through their research, the agency found that most Germans responded better to advertisements geared towards the East German qualities of family, values, and compassion instead of the Western values of individuality, the high life, and abstractness. The agency said they would never tell West Germans this because they would take offense and deny it. Therefore, the mix of values in West Germans allowed the East German advertisements to be successful all over the country. That thesis led to a “balance of me and we” in advertising for Germans.

When asked, “what would you recommend to aspiring advertising students?” Mr. Mackat said to, “use your brain. Don’t forget your brain. Never give up fighting for the right thing and never believe too quickly.” The visit to Fritzsch and Mackat Advertising Agency gave our class a view into the smaller scale side of advertising but also inspired us to reach out and find new niches to specialize in and explore.

A Ride on Falkor

After a recent trip to Orlando, where I visited the Disney Parks as well as Universal Studios, I was reminded of two parks from the area specifically while visiting the Bavaria Film Studios.

Immediately as we began to approach the sign at the front of the Bavaria Studios gate, my mind returned me to the trek up to both Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) as well us Universal Studio's studio (the studio lot). Within those two parks there are many attractions to see and rides to be ridden. The Bavaria Film Studios, while similar in many aspects, was also very different.

The Bavaria Studios begin with an entrance area with a gift shop and food, however once you enter, there are not as many things to do, but rather to see previous films produced at the site. I found this to be very interesting as well as entertaining. It was like taking a trip through the movies themselves.

Overall the tour was an excellent glimpse into how a studio is run in another country. We got to see clips as well as receive information on how shots were done and how the picture was made.

Das Boot and The Never Ending Story were among films to be made there, and while taking the tour throughout the lot we visited the sets and studios used to make these movies. Essentially we were placed inside the movies, the atmosphere was there and for a brief moment it felt like you were in those movies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This afternoon we traveled to Dachau Concentration Camp. Unfortunately we got lost on the way there, so we made it to the memorial site only ten minutes before all tours ended and buildings closed. We were still able to walk through the camp for about an hour though. There not many people there at this point, which made the camp seem even more eerie.

A lot of the trip has been focused on what is important in our career. I have thought a lot about the things I need to do in the future to be successful and how learning about other cultures will help me advance professionally. The visit to Dachau was instead about what is important in life. One of the first memorials inside the camp reads “May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933-1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defense of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow men.”

This statement struck me deeply. After studying the Holocaust this past semester, I learned not only about Hitler’s Final Solution, but also about other genocides occurring in the world today. A mass genocide must have three parts – victims, perpetrators and bystanders. In the genocides of today (Darfur, Bosnia, etc.) I am a bystander. I hear about these events often, but I have yet to take action. The above quote was an inspiration to “unite” and do something. It is truly is up to us to keep this world peaceful. In a world that is growing constantly, there will always be evil. Those who have strong morals must portray them without fear and most work to keep what is right above all else.

Another memorial at the camp displays the quote “Never Again.” After WWII so many people thought that the world had finally learned its lesson. Many countries said there will never be another Holocaust and vowed to act sooner in such events leading up to one. Today, however innocent people are still persecuted for their beliefs and backgrounds. Being at the camp really made me think about what I have done to prevent another genocide from happening.

Hitler’s anger was fueled by the treatment he received from this father and his rejection to art school. I personally believe that he suffered from many psychological problems, of which were worsened by such rejections. Although it is a small task, I try to make others feel valued. I do think that there is a place for all backgrounds and people on this Earth. Although I cannot assure everyone that they are important, I do my best to illustrate how they can contribute to the greater good. Someday, I hope to do much more.

For now, visiting Dachau and learning more about the Holocaust has been extremely informational. The concentration camp felt so real. The emotions one has while there are truly indescribable. We were not able to enter the crematoriums, but there was a great sense of loss and emptiness. No matter how much I learn about my career on this trip, I will always remember the acts that were carried out on the very grounds I stood today. It is for those victims that I will continue to study the Holocaust and work for equality and liberty, no matter what job I may end up with.

McCann Erickson

McCann Erickson is a household name in the advertising world. They have been around for over 100 years and have developed a reputation that has turned them into a powerhouse when it comes to global brands. Of their 205 offices in 130 different countries, the office in Munich is new, as it opened in 2004. Today we got to speak Frank Riedel, the Managing Director and his colleague, Sebastian. Frank spoke about the company as a whole and the 22-24,000 employees throughout the agency. Although this seems like a large company, Frank said that his team in Munich is just a small fraction. The reason the office in Munich was created was for their main client, Microsoft. Microsoft is only located a few miles away from the Munich office so it worked out well for both companies.

Frank spent a great deal of time talking about global brands, and how McCann Erickson creates these powerful brands. He began by saying that each campaign is looked at in both a local and global market. To make sure that something can be global, it has to be able to work locally too. For example, MasterCard ads were acceptable globally because people understood the emotion of "priceless". Other ads such as Red Bull's "Gives you wings to fly" could be translated differently making the overall point of the campaign suffer. He said his company always pushes the one concept that can work in the most countries.

This main point of concept he continued to repeat throughout the meeting. The concept deals a lot with the culture of a person; their lifestyles, how they use social media, and even religions. Every little thing plays an overall role which could make or break a campaign. Frank gave the example of social media and the difference between Germany and America. Instruments like Facebook and Twitter are not as big of an advertising outlet in Germany as they are in the States. This statement shocked me, but as he went on to explain, Germans do not use Facebook and Twitter to communicate full conservations like Americans. They use it more for the networking business area, whereas, Americans use it more as the private sharing of relationships.

Frank and Sebastian also took time to share with all of us about advice for the future. Frank encouraged all of us to take time away from work and learn from traveling experiences. I would love to do that, and hope to possibly do something next year to extend my studies abroad, but I was just so confused by his advice. In America we are constantly told to work hard while we are young and make it big fast by being the better employee. Here in Europe I got the message of relax and take your time, your experiences will pave a career path for you. I am loving the European response, but need to make sure I have a retirement plan started soon! Sebastian also gave great advice telling us to question everything. Make sure to question things and prove why your idea could possibly be better. I love this advice because it is telling me never to settle and believe in my work. I hope to start a career with this confidence some day soon. Overall, I truly enjoyed McCann Erickson and really appreciate having a contact in Germany. Who knows, maybe I will find my way back to Munich in the future!!

McCann Erickson

Global brands only work if the companies understand localization. This is the core belief I walked away with after a three hour meeting with McCann Erickson. Both Frank and Sebastien stressed the importance of not simply taking an ad and translating it, but understanding the local audience and then writing to them at an emotional level.

Frank spoke about MasterCard, one of McCann’s biggest clients. They have an enormously successful “priceless” campaign; however, there are obstacles to transporting this campaign across the globe. In America, people use credit cards on items like gum at the gas station. Someone in Russia would never dream of doing this, so having this little moment as part of a TV spot would not connect with consumers. This is where research in advertising plays a huge role. Finding out what the audience can connect with is key.

I was very interested to hear about how McCann operates on a global scale. The story about the email that unintentionally was sent to 8000 employees was funny, but also enlightening; people who never talked to each other inside this huge company were instantly connected across countries and continents.

Frank’s views on a giant company like Microsoft were also appealing. He stated they were trying to defend themselves against Apple rather than act like the market leaders they are. By trying to be “funny” Microsoft was betraying its company identity. I learned so much about thinking globally during our meeting with Frank and Sebastien.

Frank the Tank

Visited McCann Munich was different. Frank gave us a very informative briefing of the company along with how to cope when working with global branding. Frank seemed to know all and then only time I was distracted was when the uber cool automatic blinds would go up and down, nerdy I know. However, one thing definitely resonated with me during his speech when he talked about why he got into the business. I feel that if you aren’t passionate about your profession there is no point in pursuing it.
He mentioned that he enjoyed competing first off and that is something I have been doing my entire life. I love to win even if the win is something small like a class assignment. I feel having a new client is more or less an opportunity to win. I remember looking back on previous class projects I worked on and when I “lost” (which rarely happens) it hurts. I always strive to have the best team with the best campaign. I want to prove to myself, team and client that our time spent was not a waste of time and wanted to make sure we can seal the deal.
He also talked about communication when dealing the company and client side. You really have to be a good presenter to ah your audience by making them believe in your approach and selecting your camping. Also I want to have that “job well done” feeling when you do get selected. It proves to your team and company you are worth something valuable and each member brings a separate attitude but as long as they are going for the same goal you will be okay.
Also something I mentioned, was not knowing what the next day will bring. As I’m sure most of you have already found out, I’m pretty off the wall and enjoy joking around being spontaneous. I think this profession is fun, always changing and excited which is why I chose it. I am up for slamming eight Red Bulls, pushing curfew and still presenting an award winning presentation if that’s what it takes.
To sum up I thought what Frank had to say when dealing with why he chose this profession were the exact same thoughts going through my head and that gives me some sort of assures me that maybe I can do this and be good at it.

Heavy Air

Dachau was quite the experience. We arrived late so we weren’t able to go into the museum or in certain areas, but walking around the barracks was enough. The second I walked in my throat closed. The air felt heavy. It was like you could just feel those that suffered in the concentration camp. As I walked around the once crowded camp, imprisoning thousands of people, the feeling was overall sadness for those that passed away in the camp and those who survived and witnessed so much. I may not have a direct family history to the Holocaust but I am human and I do understand what happened. It seems so unreal and distant but the truth remains: lives were lost, families destroyed and that dark part of Germany’s history will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Changes from Berlin to Munich

When we first left Berlin I was a bit nervous to go to a new city because I had become so comfortable in Berlin. I knew how to get around, how the people acted and where the cheap food was. Getting off the plane in Munich I was in for a whole new experience. However, the subway riders were no different than the ones in Berlin, as we still got stared at for being loud. Once off the train we walked onto an almost empty street. It was around 11:30 in the evening when we were walking to our hotel and the streets were empty, there were maybe two or three people on each block. This was much different than Berlin where there seemed to always be a large amount of people wandering the streets at all hours of the night. Another big difference I saw was when a few of us explored the night life. In Berlin, the Germans never came up and talked to me or asked me where I was from, I always had to approach people. In Munich, I felt like I was meeting new people left and right. This plays true at restaurants to, as when I was at the beer house in Munich a couple needed a place to sit and we had room at our table so they joined us. I have never seen that done at a restaurant before, but it was like everyone was doing it so others could experience the great beer house. I would have never thought that would happen in Berlin. Overall in my opinion, the people just seem more nice and open to tourist rather than in Berlin.

Another large difference between Berlin and Munich is the entire setup of the city. Munich is filled with churches all over the city and roads that only service cars can drive on, even the streets seem narrower. Berlin is filled with wider streets, car lanes and trash. In a prior post I discussed how dirty the beautiful city of Berlin was, which is the exact opposite of Munich. Munich has almost no graffiti and even the beer gardens are clean for the amount of people eating and drinking there. Although there are many differences each city has its own characteristics that make it what it is. For now I will just keep continuing to compare.....

A change from Berlin

After arriving in Munich last night, I noticed right away slight differences from Berlin.

First there’s hardly any graffiti. It surprised me when I noticed there were no sign of spray paint art within the U-bahn. In Berlin graffiti was something that became more familiar everyday. You can’t walk or get in any transportation system without seeing graffiti.

Also after arriving late in Munich, I was surprised to see a lack of people riding the U-bahn and walking the streets. This definitely is a major difference than Berlin, because no matter what time of day there are always people roaming the city. It only confirmed the city is much more conservative than Berlin.

This is also partly because the U-bahn and S-bahn do not run 24 hours like in Berlin. So if you’re going to a bar or club at night, make sure you find another mode of transportation.

So far, one thing I like about Munich is that the town square has no thru-traffic for vehicles. This makes Munich much more enjoyable to go shopping, and I think makes it a lot easier. Like many other students I’ve noticed a much more homey feeling being in Munich.

It’s bitter sweet that our trip is almost coming to an end, but for now I’m going to learn as much as I can from Munich.

I'll stick with Jimmy Choo, thanks.

Today was our first official day in Munich. The Bavarian town is beautiful. The day was super hot and humid, so our three hour walking tour was trying but worth it. Although the sun gave me pink shoulders I was so happy for the heat; it definitely made it feel like summer.

Munich seems so much more crowded than Berlin. The subways are always packed and it takes strategic movements to get through the crowds on the sidewalks. But everyone seems to have a mellow attitude toward life here. It isn’t like Berlin where everyone seems too serious for their own good. The people in Munich feel more inviting. I see people in shorts, colored clothing, and talking and laughing with one another. The Marienplatz is busy with tourists awaiting the Glockenspiel and locals trying to enjoy their lunch. We walked down Maximilianstraße, which is where Valentino, Jimmy Choo and Channel all reside. On this street they can also charge 12 Euros for a single cup of coffee (no big deal).

Overall, my first impression of Munich is a positive one. It is definitely a city that has such an immense history I can’t help but be consumed in the fairy-tale lifestyle.

V-Dubs for LIfe

I was really impressed with Autostadt in Wolfsberg aka Volkswagen epicenter of brilliance. Car buyers or those interested in Volkswagen have a lot to see and do, everything from test driving courses to designing your very own car. 

In the approximate 4 mile amusement park there are four different pavilions that you can visit: Volkswagen production and development, Bentley, Skoda, Lamborghini, Audi and SEAT. Each pavilion has something different to offer its visitors.  One of the most fun options is their test drive course for off-road Volkswagens. It was so much fun being able to test drive a car, especially for me since I can’t test drive cars in the states yet! You had to drive over rail road tracks, on the side on tunnels and even up stairs. Another thing that I thought was very cool was the way the incorporated children with the Volkswagen experience. There was a place where young children could learn about road safety and take a test to get their very own license. Once they took their picture for their license (since everyone passes), they were able to go outside and test out their knowledge of road safety in small electric cars that are made to look like Volkswagen Beetles. Very cute. 

Volkswagen is definitely ahead of the curve in all that they do. Just experiencing Autostadt and talking with employees that are just as excited about the cars as you are makes Volkswagen an extremely appealing company. I just might have to get myself a Tiguan so I can be apart of VW family... and drive up sets of stairs. 

It's a Secret

Our last day in Berlin was a sad day. It was a place that we had called home for ten days and we had to get on yet another plane to head to Munich. Even though it was a sad day it turned out to be a real eye opener when we visited the advertising agency Fritzsch Mackat.

For those of you reading this blog that might not know much about East and West Germany, here is a simple explanation about their consumption possibilities. In the East they were socialists, which meant that you couldn't just buy whatever you wanted. Most items where rationed out so you only got so many apples for instance. Another example of the East was you could walk by a clothing store and see something that you wanted to buy but when you went in there to buy it they didn't even sell it.This was different from the West where they could buy whatever they wanted.

Fritzsch Mackat has worked with many studies to find out how advertising works on East and West Germans. Believe it or not people in Germany still consider them self either Eastern or Western after all these years. The fascinating thing to me about this agency is how they focus a lot on this fact for their clients in order to reach a larger consumer audience. What a great way to help their clients. Even though the East and the West purchase different brands their studies at this advertising agency found that by incorporating the more traditional Eastern ideas into their ads, the Westerners tend to like the ads as well. Mackat said that if you actually told an Easterner or a Westerner this they would not believe it. I just really liked this agency approach to marketing. I think it's important for an agency to be as proficient as possible and produce quality for it's clients and that is what this agency does. But shhh don't tell an Easterner or Westerner that they might not be so different after all.

Some Times You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't

It's a bittersweet experience leaving Berlin behind and moving on to Munich. You notice some very distinct differences between Munich and Berlin. Munich seems a lot cleaner to me. It is a very large city so undoubtedly there will be litter, but far less then in Berlin. Also people seem to be more reserved here, where as in Berlin there would be rambunctious folks running the streets at all hours. In a way I prefer the cozier atmosphere of Munich. But on the other hand I like to wreak havoc on occasion. Perhaps if Munich and Berlin conjoined to become one super city I would find a place that would be perfectly befitting to me.

Berlin vs. Munich

Today was our first real day in Munich. I already love this city. It's quite a bit different than Berlin in so many ways.

Berlin is such a big city with so many people. The streets are crowded day and night with people shopping, drinking and in a hurry to get to who knows where. The people in Berlin were friendly for the most part and of course like any big city you run into the people that are just plain rude. I felt that Berlin could be a little overwhelming just because I came from such a small town, where I was used to people saying excuse me or I'm sorry when they run into you. I've found that this is not the case really in Berlin. I also heard that Berlin is a lot like New York in that aspect. I've never been to New York so I've never encountered this problem before. I was blown away by this just because people in Nebraska are generally polite.

Munich on the other hand has been a totally different story so far. The people have been generally really nice. In fact, on the S-Bahn and U-Bahn today I heard almost everyone that wanted to pass you say entschuldigung ("excuse me" in English). That was a good feeling. Another thing that I really liked about Munich so far is that it's cleaner than Berlin for the most part. Berlin has graffiti on just about everything, where as here in Munich I haven't really seen any. Overall, I just think that Munich is a beautiful city.

Don't get me wrong Berlin is a great city and a must visit city for any travel lover. We had so many good times there. I just like Munich the best so far. Maybe it's because it is so much smaller. Both cities have so much to offer as far as history and architecture. They are truly places that everyone needs to experience.

Oessie, Oessie, Oessie

I will admit I did not know much about the differences between East and West Germany before this trip. Sure, I knew about communism vs. capitalism, but I incorrectly assumed that both cultures had similar values. I found out that easterners and westerners have started to assimilate, but there are still core differences. Fritzsch and Mackat laid out these differences effectively.

East Germans have more “traditional” values like the importance of family, safety and concern for the common good; Westerners value individuality and freedom. However, over the past 20 years both cultures have adopted values from each other. Today, Germans are family and self-centered, adventurous and safety obsessed, freedom-loving and dutiful.

The most interesting part of the presentation was the finding that East Germans have influenced West Germans more. Therefore, an effective campaign is a campaign that uses East German values, because these values resonate more with both groups. We were given multiple examples of why this is true.

The trip to F and M was a great learning experience. I was surprised because I thought Westerners would have influenced Easterners, as they had more purchasing power initially. Mr. Mackat showed the importance of research over presumptions in advertising.

Munich's Subway (not the resturant)

Today was the first day in Munich in which a group of us were left to figure out the subway structure. Back in Berlin you could hop on and off each subway without bothering too many people minus when we talk loud. The trains would be there pretty much every five minutes without any confusion. Here in Munich the system is run a little bit differently. First off there are like 3 levels in the subway all with different symbols such as S or U. In Berlin you either took the S or the U but they were separated more define by up and down. Here you simply have to take an elevator or stairs to find your train. Those through me off a bit because when looking for the S trains I wanted to go outside and search. Secondly, you can pretty much get connected to anywhere in the city by using five or so main stops and conveniently all the rails go through those stops then disperse off towards other outlets. Back in Berlin if there were open seats I would gladly give my seat up for someone else because standing really wasn’t an issue but in Munich if you find a seat you better take it. The entry/exit isles in the train are so packed and congested it makes one frustrated and scanning the train for an open seat. I have learned to just take the seat if it is open to avoid the awkwardness of maneuvering around the oncoming passengers. Also the trains seem to be louder and there is a bigger mix of individuals, meaning the location of our place is home to many different ethnicities and backgrounds. Munich seems to have a more laid back atmosphere along with a more artistic feel. I am very excited to see what else Munich has in store for us and hope the people enjoy our company as much as I enjoy all of theirs.

Munich: The Experience

Our first full day in Munich came with an extremely informative and fun tour through the capital of Bavaria.

We took our second city tour of the two week excursion to Germany in Munich. The three hour tour (cue Gilligan's Island) started in Marienplatz, dead center of the city. From there we made our way to the Frauenkirche or "Church of the Lady." This is a reference to the Virgin Mary, whom the entire square is named after.

We learned the church was one of the only buildings to survive World War II as it served as a land mark for Allied forces. After that we made our way back to the front of the New Town hall, which is actually older than the old town hall due to destruction and damage from the war. On the New Town Hall is the world famous Glockenspiel, which we watched part of, because, just as the tour guide told us, it got boring and is highly overrated.

Skipping ahead we reached another point to learn about the Beer Hall Putsch. We stood on the very spot where Hitler's life was in serious jeopardy from German police in the 1920's. At this point, Hitler's bodyguard took eleven bullets to protect the future leader of the Nazi party.

After learning more facts about Hitler's life, such as assassination attempts and various actions taken by him, it is amazing to thing how history would have been effected if any of these attempts or plans would have turned out differently.

But even after spending three hours touring the city, I feel there is a lot more to know. I wish we had more time to explore Munich and learn more about its history during the Third Reich.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Last Day in Berlin

Today we went to the Fritzsch and Mackat ad agency in East Berlin.  On our jaunt to the building, we saw graffiti everywhere.  Supposedly graffiti is illegal now, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone.  This particular neighborhood was very diverse, one of the most I have ever seen.  I heard someone in a bus there talking about how he had just been eating a restaurant where the 7 people surrounding him were all different nationalities.  This rich culture is because of all of the Turks and other immigrants that came over originally as just a short-term job opportunity for Germany as they needed workers.  However, the workers ended up bringing over their families eventually and the population of immigrants rose. 

Fritzch and Mackat really seem ahead of the game as they are considering the idea that both East and West Berliners still differ to this day.  The statistic I found most intriguing was that “1.4% of all marriages in Germany are east-west German pairs.”  Before the presentation, I also didn’t know that East Berliners were stereotypically shorter, fatter and more critical than those in the West.  However, despite all of the differences mentioned in regards to the East and West Berliners, it was found that mixing both modern and traditional values was the best advertising strategy for both segments.  More specifically, East Berlin advertisements worked the best for both Eastern and Western markets.

After leaving the agency, we were off to Munich.  A bus, plane and s-baun trip later, we arrived.    

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vee Double YOu

The trip to the Volkswagen Autostadt is one I will soon not forget. The grounds were so big and so interactive for visitors it is easy to see why it is a destination for all travelers. My favorite part was the test drive of the Volkswagen Tiguan. At first when I saw the instructor bring everyone through the course I thought for sure that was all we were going to do but when I saw the other group members jump into the driver seat I knew it was going to be tight. The course was not designed for practical driving conditions rather it pushed the limits and allowed the driver to experience alternative routes to overcome. As the instructor took us through the course I thought to myself, yeah right I’m can’t do that I will for sure tip, ruin, or get the car stuck. However, the Tiguan was able to tackle any challenge it was presented. The best was when I was able to drive the car up the steps because to me that was the most radical. With the seat belts locking every step and the accelerator firmly pressed I felt on top of the world. The dance recital during the night time was different, interesting and hot. I don’t mean hot in a weird way, I mean the temperature was hot. The performance embraced this idea of not having an idea and being able to change and mimic certain things. I thought overall the performance was solid but I would need to attend more to appreciate the storyline.

A New Friend...Well, sort of...

As Emma and I were at the Literature House today wiriting in our journals, we had a friendly little sparrow visit us. He was not scared of us trying to shoe him away nor was he afraid to eat off my plate. He approached us as if it were no big deal at all. It was actually quite funny to us both. I had ordered the delicious apple strudel and once I was done, I set my plate to the side. There were a few pieces of apple still left on the plate but I never thought I would have to share my dessert. The sparrow flew to the seat right next to me. He sat there for a moment looking around, and before I could shoe him away he took a piece of apple and off he flew. Emma and I sat there with our jaws dropped. We could not believe our eyes. The couple sat next to us laughed and all of a sudden he was back for more. I quickly tried to cover my plate with my napkin but the sparrow was too quick for me. He snatched a tiny piece on the uncovered part of the plate. There was nothing we could do but laugh and go on writing in our journals. It wasn’t even 5 minutes later and our little friend was back again. Only this time he was at the table of the couple next to us lookin around for food. I have never seen such a hungry little sparrow.

I guess birds in Germany aren’t afraid to take food sitting unattended whether you’re in a beer garden or café. It makes you wonder if these birds are finding enough food in Berlin. I highly dout they have any trouble thoug. I hope my new little friend was satisfied. I just wished he had helped me pay for half the bill.

Das Auto

The Autostadt was unlike any theme park I’ve ever been to. There were no rollercoasters or bumper cars. But there was a Lamborghini building, a sterling silver Bugatti and two glass towers with 400 cars each. The complex was sprawling and employed 48,000 people.

It was interesting to note how each building was different structurally. The VW building had rotating glass panels, the Bugatti building was a VIP clubhouse and the Lamborghini building was a plain black two story windowless building. I was surprised by this until a man explained that the Lamborghini car was the “star” of the building.

If I were a young child, I would beg my parents to buy a VW so I could visit the Autostadt. Kids could test drive tiny Beatle cars to obtain a license. There was also a car design studio and artificial intelligence characters that would criticize the cars. The Autostadt was a family experience.

In the evening, we were treated to a dance performance from an Israeli troupe. It was modern dance and the interpretive style with music and movements that were not necessarily in sync. Frauke’s connections let us meet and greet the dancers afterward. We have had so many opportunities to meet diverse people; this is one of the reasons why this trip is so great.

I'm Clean, I'm Clean!

Nine days really doesn’t sound like much, but it is plenty when looking at the pile of dirty clothing you’ve collected. Today was dubbed laundry day. I’ve never used a laundry mat before, not even in the U.S. However, I doubt that they are like the ones we used today. All of the washers were linked to a master control board, no pumping quarters repeatedly into the machine. The machines also seemed to be very energy efficient. Barely any water was used and the dryers were even more impressive. You pat for 12 minutes at a time, this way the clothes aren’t tumbling around for an hour when they were dry in 30 minutes, I am an impatient person when it comes to stuff like washing clothes so I put mine in for 24 minutes and are letting my jeans just air dry in the room. I blended in at least some people were taking full loads of wet clothing with them to dry later. It may have taken us a couple of hours but at least I will no longer be the smelly kid.

Free Day

The milk was warm this morning, as it is every morning we wake up, but there is more to it than that.  Germans rely less on refrigeration and more so on daily (or almost daily) grocery shopping.  This way, their fruits are always fresh and as Ali explained, the process of shopping becomes more than just that, it becomes an experience.  Germans take pride in their fresh goods.   Americans on the other hand stock up and rely heavily on refrigeration to preserve their foods.

Right after breakfast, we headed to a flea market on the outskirts of Berlin.  I have never seen such a large and eclectic mix of first and mostly secondhand trinkets.  I bartered a bling ring from 25 euros to only 10!  I was very proud of myself...until Michaela got hers for 5.  There were people everywhere, many had dreads and "hippie" type clothing.  I have never seen an event like this, I loved it.    

At 6 p.m. we headed to the Berliner Dome, the protestant church in Berlin.  To our surprise, only around forty people were in attendance.  With such a beautiful church and service, we were all a little curious as to why there was such a small crowd.  Ali informed us that ever since the end of World War II, atheists have been in the majority.  It is so hard for a people who have seen such tragedies in the name of religion to accept the idea of it again.  This is such a sad realization.  Religion in America on the other hand has been revitalized.   

Today concluded with dinner at an American-style restaurant.  While dining, I was surprised to learn today that the mayor of Berlin is a married gay man and that Berlin has had legalized gay marriage as of two years ago. 


TECHNO and Party in Germany

The nightlife in Germany is much different than the nightlife in Lincoln. In Lincoln everything closes at 1am but in Germany young people start to get ready at 10 or 11 pm. The reason for that is that the going out time is midnight and the people party till early in the morning. A lot of Germans start to go home when the sun begins to rise.

The music is also different because Techno and House is a big Music style for European culture. Of course Hip Hop is very popular too, but Techno is very Big. Especially Berlin is known as the heart of Techno and there is one event which brings millions of people to the city “The Loveparade” which is a big Techno parade.

In addition, you can see people drinking in public because in opposite to America you are allowed to drink in public. The drinking age in Germany is 16 for beer and 18 for liquor. It’s pretty crazy for Americans to hear something like that  right?!

VW Autostadt

On Saturday we went to VW’s Autostadt which was a big theme park. They had different Pavilions for the different brands which belong to Volkswagen like Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini and Seat. Every Pavilion had some active interactions which made it really fun to go through the Pavilions. Autostadt is the biggest car distribution center in Europe and everyday over 600 people to pick up their cars at Autostadt.

We talked to a PR executive of VW and he said that they expected 1 million visitors, true fact is though that Autostadt is visited by 2 million people each year. As we entered the main building we could see a big globe but no VW sign till we got to the VW Pavilion. Nicholas Ashley Batten the PR executive said that they want that visitors get to know VW’s Autostadt and that they don’t want to brain wash them with Ad’s. I think that is another approach to think about the marketing of their brands. They’re trying to built a connection and good experience to their visitors and offer the people something but doesn’t force it on them.

Another thing that I found was very impressive was the children’s corner where they could build their own little cars which would be moved by solar or electric energy. They try to give children the idea of a green way to move a car. There was also a driving license that children could get if they took a driving course.

It was a very nice experience and definitely something complete different that I ever saw.

Did you see what I saw; did you think what I thought?

Did you see what I saw; did you think what I thought? When you apply these questions to the interpretive dance performance we were fortunate enough to see at the Autostadt factory, the answer would definitely be, "no!"

Our class was treated to a theatrical performance unlike any we had ever seen! The stage was inches deep in white foam balls that were so small they looked like snow. There were also three "dog house" type structures that the dancers used as props and entrance and exit points. Another constant element throughout the performance was the background sound of wind. It was "blowing" through the entire show with other musical melodies playing over and with it.

The dancers wore simple black outfits at first and then changed into full-body hose suits. Their movements were fluid and graceful at times, then sharp and calculatingly accurate at others. The story line was so open to interpretation that each student said they saw something different. Some of the themes we saw were: death, life, love, lust, betrayal, competition, humor, and oddity. All of these emotions and struggles were simple suggestions that the viewer could choose to follow in their idea of the story line.

After the performance we were ushered into a candle-lit bar area where the dancers from Israel soon joined us! As journalists we were quick to ask questions and learn more about these performers. Most had been in the Israeli Dance Company for many years and spent the majority of their work-year traveling around the globe performing in many different countries. They called dancing their passion and their job and used about three months out of the year learning, practicing, and perfecting their show. Lauren and I interviewed a 21 year old girl named Shir who seemed shy and hesitant at times with her English; however, we assured her it was very good and continued to learn that she had spent a year at a performing institute before opting to start her career in dance instead of finishing school. It was odd thinking of a girl, the same age as us, having a career and being on her own in a business that takes her far from her home. Her strength gives me hope that when it is my time to venture into the world of real work, this time next year, I will have the same drive and determination and will hopefully be just as successful.

Der Autostadt And You

Typically when I think of a theme park, I think of places like Disney World and Disneyland. However a recent excursion to Volkswagen's Autostadt has made a new impression on me.

This Autostadt, or car city, is an area in Wolfsburg in which VW has turned an old factory into a tourist attraction of sorts. But this place does not feature roller coasters or thrill rides, but tries to promote its brand and educate people in the advancements in automobile technology.

In one similarity to Disney World, however, VW does feature all of its currently owned brands. These brands showcase their new models as well as their brand objectives all with in one building, similar to Disney's different lands (Adventureland, Tomorrowland, etc.).

We also learned the this location is used to distribute vehicles purchased, which is its primary function. The distribution center delivers about 600 vehicles per day, and people who have purchased a VW vehicle make a trip to Wolfsburg and spend an entire day looking at the pavilions and learning about the different brands of Volkswagen.

The education aspect gives great insight to all age groups. For the children the Autostadt features several locations where kids learn about and create renewable energy vehicles. Another station teaches children all about safe driving and rewards them for learning by giving them a "drivers license" which is then used on a mini driving course.

For the adults, besides seeing new cars that are available there are test tracks for adults to test drive cars on and try all features that are currently available in certain vehicles. The location also features a history museum featuring the development of the automobile.

Overall the place is a great way to personalize the brand with customers (as well as potential customers). One thing I did notice about the place was that there were no major signs promoting any one thing, basically there was no advertising. I thought this was a great idea, they do heavy promotion, but it is subdued and very much a more interactive and involving process for the customers. It allows the customers to view what they wish and skip what they don't. A very innovative place, and they are always looking for ways to improve themselves.

Time, teeth and nudity

A few differences that struck out to me today are as follows:

First of all, I have noticed that almost everywhere we go, the people we meet have not had orthodontic care or possibly ever even seen a dentist. Is dentistry uncommon for Germans? I thought maybe the discoloration could possibly be due to the teatime everyday? Although, a lot of Americans also drink coffee religiously and do not have the discoloration.

Also, today especially, I noticed that Germans are a lot more particular when it comes to time. Americans are much more informal about it, and showing up a few minutes late is neither rude nor uncommon. In Germany however, it seems that being on time is a must. They become very irritated if you are even five minutes behind.

Lastly, upon looking at a front page of a Berlin paper today I saw a nude photo of a man and women. I was shocked. Even the advertisements I noticed throughout the paper were full of nudity. At breakfast, I made the remark that photos like that would never fly in America. Frauke then enlightened me and made a good point. She said that here, nudity sells, while in America, violence sells. Neither is better, just different.

Having fun while also building relationships

Yesterday we went to the Volkswagen corporate headquarters. When we got off the train and walked into the building I only knew it was Volkswagen because Frauke told us that. The main entrance has no symbols, advertisements or even cars marketing their product. The main entrance is a place open to anyone, avoiding all intimidating marketing schemes. I thought this was brilliant in the sense that people know that they do not have to be looking to buy a Volkswagen, but just open for a day to have fun and explore. This same theme is repeated throughout the entire park. The only time I saw cars with sale prices on them was from the building where the purchasing and delivering of cars was taking place. After spending the day there, I felt it was time for me to not necessarily invest in a Volkswagen, but be aware of the brand the next time I am looking to purchase a vehicle.

This theme park was any car lover's heaven. I thought the masterminds of the place did a great job gaining a rush out of the viewer. My favorite was probably the Lamborghini exhibit. It starts with the heart beats pumping. Next comes the lights and the engine getting louder and louder, flash backs back to heart beats, smoke and then wow! Your mind feels as if it just went 0 to 60mph within seconds. I'm not the biggest car fan, but that made me leave dreaming of owning a very fast vehicle someday. If you did not get the opportunity to see it, Jess recorded it, so check it out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Do you speak English?

What I’ve found after being in Berlin for a week is it’s really not that hard to get by speaking just English. There is the occasional awkwardness when you sit down at a restaurant and can’t read the menu. But still, you can always just point to something on the menu and say “this one”— hoping that whatever it is it’s tasty.

Same with bakeries, except you have the opportunity to see what you’re purchasing. And it does help to be on this trip with a few people who speak German and can direct me in the right direction if need be.

However, after an encounter with a German woman while paying to use the bathroom, I realized how annoyed someone can get if you don’t speak the language. I’ve already become familiar with paying to use the bathroom since we’ve been here, but at this particular bathroom I didn’t know how much it cost.

After realizing she didn’t speak English I ruffled through my purse—still speaking English, but now to my purse— when I found some change and put it on the small plate hoping it was enough.

Also traveling can become a major problem if you don’t know the language or are not familiar with the transportation systems. Some people can be very unhelpful when asking for directions in Germany.

We found this out today when Frauke asked two different bus drivers how to get where we were going. The first had his door shut and continued to ignore her when she knocked on the window. A second bus driver was very annoyed when she asked for help and was ignored once again.

All in all, it’s not that difficult for an English speaking person to get by in Germany. However, if you don’t know where you’re going or what you want to eat it may be a little difficult.

Sorry About That

Exploring through a museum dedicated to the history of former East Germany was an odd experience for me. It's depressing to think of how the citizens were unable to make many purchases due to their emphasis in exporting goods. Also the fact that the Stasi spied on the people boggles my mind. I've noticed myself having a difficult time paying attention  in these museums. This probably a result of my ignorance to German history. I feel as though I don't appreciate these types of outings as much as I would like to. Perhaps this roots back to the fact that in my high school we learned absolutely nothing about Germany. Except we did briefly cover WWI and WWII with extensive coverage of Hitler. He seems to be the only topic we'd discuss because his actions were so outrageous. I shouldn't blame my lack of knowledge in German history on anyone but myself. However, I believe that my stay here is helping me expand my mind.


Birthday Wishes, Captain Morgan and The DDR Museum

I would first like to say Happy Birthday to our wonderful teacher Ali Moeller. I'm so glad you're on this trip with us because you're so fun and knowledgeable about Germany.

You might think the Captain Morgen and the birthday go together. You guessed wrong this time. Actually, Captain Morgan was the name of our tour boat on The Spree. It was a wonderful and relaxing way to get a different look at a few buildings we already saw and a few new ones. It was even better to take a load off of our feet. :)

We also visited the DDR Museum. The interactive museum was a hands on informative way to learn about East Germany. It provided information about everything from their cars to nude beaches, to music and overall general life for the East. The tour guide really surprised me today when she told us about how the Berlin Wall was set up. I had this idea in my head that it was just a wall but in fact, even if you had gotten over the wall to East Berlin there was still yet a death zone that you had to pass. The death zone consisted of two more fences so it was extremely hard to cross. If you did you could have been shot. It's still mind boggling that this all happened not that long ago. This whole experience still doesn't seem real to me. It's such an amazing experience.

One day in DDR

Today we went to the DDR museum which was very interesting because we saw how people lived in the DDR. We saw the car they used at that time the “Trabi” which weighs 615kg. The Trabi is so light because it is build out of plastic because DDR didn’t want to import from the West.

The museum had also an imitation of a DDR living room. Our tour guide said that people married really early so they could get an apartment or flat. This reminded me on what my parents said about how it was in Czechoslovakia. They married really young which made it able for them to buy an apartment.

After the museum tour we made a boat ride on the River Spree which was really beautiful. The sun started to shine and we sailed on the Spree River away. We went around the museum island which made it even prettier because all the old looking building was around us. I got a Cappuccino which I really enjoyed in the sun and in my porcelain cup. After that we went on a shopping trip where we spent a lot of money  but yea European cloths is just the best .

Already Missing Germany

As the days go by “living” in Berlin I have come to realize that the lifestyle here is one that I could definitely adopt and will surely miss when I return home to the United States.

One of the main things I will miss when the time comes to pack up and return home is being able to go to any street corner and pick out a delicious bakery item or fresh made sandwich. And by fresh made, I mean fresh made. No preservatives in meats, bread baked daily in the shops. It is slightly saddening to think that we, as Americans, don’t have this kind of system anymore (i.e. 1950’s milk, butchers).

Another thing that I will miss when I leave is the ability to never be anymore than a short walk away from a “kaufhaus” or, in other words, a place to make purchases. It always seems I can take a hop, skip or a jump to the store. Whether it is for a grocery item or an electronic device. The accessibility of this city is incredible, and all the stores have a neighborhood or “mom and pop” shop feel to them.

Fashion 101

So have you ever seen what not to wear? Because I feel like every German/European person is giving me a check-up on my wardrobe. I have learned some ins-and-outs in European fashion. First off, flip flops are a thing of the past and should only be worn when in the privacy of your own home or shower. Secondly, never ever ware a pair of sweatpants because people might think you are hiding something in there which upsets me because I enjoy comfort over social status.

Also, try not to smile. I hear the cool thing in Germany is to be serious and keep your head forward as if no one else exists. Another thing is try to wear as much black as possible, here black goes with anything and is more serious. Okay that would be the last person I would bring home to my family, one who constantly wears black and never smiles, perfect.

Women, if you can avoid it don’t wear shorts but if you do, opt for some fun leggings underneath. Men, take a look around and see if you can see yourself fitting into those extremely tight pants or better yet try the mullet look it could be rewarding. I really feel the European style is one of maximum individualistic expression. Overall the fashion fits the culture and I am still getting used to all the crazy, over-the-top styles I see on the streets. From here I’ll leave you with a quote, “if you can’t do you who can you do.”

Fashion 101

So have you ever seen what not to wear? Because I feel like every German/European person is giving me a check-up on my wardrobe. I have learned some ins-and-outs in European fashion.

First off, flip flops are a thing of the past and should only be worn when in the privacy of your own home or shower. Secondly, never ever ware a pair of sweatpants because people might think you are hiding something in there which upsets me because I enjoy comfort over social status. Also, try not to smile. I hear the cool thing in Germany is to be serious and keep your head forward as if no one else exists. Another thing is try to wear as much black as possible, here black goes with anything and is more serious. Okay that would be the last person I would bring home to my family, one who constantly wears black and never smiles, perfect.

Women, if you can avoid it don’t wear shorts but if you do, opt for some fun leggings underneath. Men, take a look around and see if you can see yourself fitting into those extremely tight pants or better yet try the mullet look it could be rewarding. I really feel the European style is one of maximum individualistic expression. Overall the fashion fits the culture and I am still getting used to all the crazy, over-the-top styles I see on the streets. From here I’ll leave you with a quote, “if you can’t do you who can you do.”

It's raining in Berlin but we still love it :)

It was raining in Berlin today. So we took of and decided to visit the museum island of Berlin. We were a group of ten people and even though nobody of us has ever been to Berlin we quickly found our way to our museum. We asked a couple people for the fastest way to get there and actually we found really nice people who helped us.

As we got to the museum island we decided to visit the “Altes Museum” which had a collection of Classical Antiquities and an Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection. It was so fantastic to see all these old artifacts. It also impressed me to see what they could build at that time already.

One thing that I thought was really funny were the Mummy Flip Flop. I thought it’s crazy that they had flip flop’s at that time and even crazier that they didn’t look much different to the once we have today.


So does everyone smoke here?  It seems like the people here run on pasta, bakeries, and their smokes.  I miss pork chops and rice but am starting to wonder how I am going to do without my daily croissants and coffee that have become second nature to me here already.   

Today I saw three snipers and felt like I was in a movie.  The lady at the GDR museum seemed like it was no big deal, but I was uneasy.  It turns out security was heightened because the chancellor and other members of parliament were celebrating the 60th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic.  The snipers were clad in all black, had pretty large guns, and wore black facemasks.  I pointed up at them only to find them grab their binoculars and proceed to watch me.  Maybe I was wrong and they weren’t actually watching me, either way, I was unsettled. 

The GDR museum was quite interesting.  I did not know cars were made of plastic during these times, or that people went to schools specifically for athletics.  Nude beaches were also popular as East Berliners wanted to be free of the uncomfortable clothing and free of control.  I really appreciate how this museum, and a couple other we have been to, are so interactive.  It really drives a message home if you are able to interact with and touch artifacts from another time and place.

Saving the Planet One Cup of Coffee at a Time

We could learn a lot from German culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love America. I love cheeseburgers, free still water and being loud in public. But there is something to be said for Germany’s ways with saving energy. They may think that being serious is cool, but at least they are serious about minimizing their carbon foot print.

So far in Berlin, I have noticed that restaurants don’t use any plastic. Dishes and silverware are washed and reused, not just thrown away to build up the garbage heaps. If you purchase water bottles, you can take them back and get a refund. Air conditioning is a rare sight, most places open up the windows during the night and let the air cool circulate for the next day. Cafes have the option of “to stay orders” or “to go orders”, plastic to take and reusable glass to stay. Toilets use a significantly less amount of water than the toilet’s in the states. Even in our hotel the hallway lights are always turned off and when you do turn it on, it shuts off on it’s own.

These small changes in day to day life could really help make a difference in America since we contribute the most in polluting the atmosphere. But then again, they do just smash glass bottles everywhere at night, so maybe just some differences are good.  

sun, wind, rain, repeat

You can ask any of my friends, when it comes to the weather I like to be in the know. The one who watches the Weather Channel just to watch it, yeah that’s me. This being said, Berlin weather is throwing me for a loop. Not only can I not watch to see how warm it is going to be (which I can deal with, sort of), but the weather changes faster here than it does in Nebraska. Today we went on a boat ride down the Spree River. Getting on the boat it was sunny and warm; perfect weather to sit on the top of the boat. Yet, ten minutes into our ride the wind picks up and clouds blow over the lovely sun. All right, I can handle that, just like Lincoln, yeah?

The remainder of the day the weather went back to its’ original state of sunshine. Some of us decided to go on a hunt for shoes (which I will probably post about later). While walking toward the door at H&M we notice the small tsunami outside. We decided to wait it out inside of the doors, but finally thought we could suck it up and get a little wet. While walking to the next shoe store the rain stopped and the sun came out again. But, thirty minutes later another shower came down on us.

I think the sun is currently out, but I can be content spending the rest of the evening indoors. Just in case.


I am a very loud person. I like to yell, especially when I get excited and I have a point to make. I also like to laugh and to make people laugh. These traits help me stick out in Berlin like a sore thumb.

Berlin is the quietest large city I’ve ever been to. New York is the city that never sleeps and Tokyo is so loud you have to yell to the person next to you. I try not to be rude here, but it is hard to control my shout instincts. This is hard on the subway when we are all tightly packed and no one else is talking.

The culture here is much more staid as a whole than America. People in restaurants are not in a hurry to get their check and people on the street wait patiently for the signs to change. This is not a good or bad thing, but it is very noticeable. I have never walked down such busy, silent streets. I’ll try to change my ways while I’m here, but I don’t expect that to carry over the Atlantic Ocean.