In exactly one week, at 3:30p.m., I will be flying from Detroit, Michigan to Frankfurt, Germany for the Burch Research Seminar on European Smart Cities and Renewable Energy! I’ll be spending six weeks traveling through Germany and the Netherlands with UNC professors Prof. Greg Gangi and Prof. Cor Redemaker. I’m excited to post pictures, videos and blog posts here!
I feel so lucky to be able to participate in this seminar. Thank you so much to my family, especially my parents and grandfather, for supporting me in this venture! I have lots of travel experience within the United States and have traveled abroad twice previously (to Italy and Costa Rica), but this will be my first time traveling internationally alone; truthfully, I’m a bit nervous. Even so, I’m excited to push outside my comfort zone. The trip organizers have kindly made the hotel and travel arrangements post-arrival, so once I make it to the first hotel in Freiburg, I’ll be traveling with the seminar group until the trip ends in Berlin on July 16.
I’ve gathered my important documents (passport, health insurance, train/plane tickets, etc), ordered euros and started packing. I’m only going to bring a backpack and a carry-on suitcase. Packing light will make life much easier during travel. Less to carry while traveling between cities, less clothing to wash, fewer outfits to choose from, etc. Efficiency efficiency efficiency.
To prepare for the two courses I’ll be enrolled in, I’ve been reading up on German history. Per recommendation of Dr. Gangi, I’m in the middle of The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans. Some of the descriptions of pre-Nazi German leaders eerily resemble those of some modern political leaders. Evans writes, “These increasingly ambitious dreams of world power were articulated above all by Kaiser Wilhelm II himself, a bombastic self-important and extremely loquacious man who lost few opportunities to express his contempt for democracy and civil rights, his disdain for the opinions of others and his belief in Germany’s greatness.” Food for thought.