- ACHTUNG! Samstag 18.06.16 Tagesausflug zum Haus Doorn, 13:30 Uhr Führung und Orangerie
- 2016 Juni 24-26 Jugendbildungs- und Begegnungswochenende in Bremerhaven 
- Sonntag 03.07.16 um 14:00 die 4th of July-Party - mit BBQ und Musik im Botanischen Garten Du-Hamborn, vorher, 13:30 Aquarienführung
Wir freuen uns auf Ihr Mittun. Jeder letzte Do. im Monat: 19:00 offener Treff (Café-Museum in 47051 Du, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Str. 64)
Zwischenbericht, Lea Haverbeck, Central Michingan University
My time at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan
About a year ago, when I started to think about planning my big adventure, I contacted my fellow scholars – Simon from Munich and Tanja from Nuremberg. During a skype conference, we got to know each other and booked the flight to Chicago in the beginning of August 2014. Before we started our academic year 2014-2015, we spent three days as tourists in the windy city. We had an amazing time, and finally made our way to Michigan with the Greyhound bus, which was already adventurous. People always tell crazy stories about Greyhound bus rides and this, indeed, is true. When we arrived in Lansing, Michigan, former exchange student Ben Prout (2013-2014) picked us up and brought us to our apartments on campus. Simon, Tanja and I were exhausted but super happy when we finally arrived at our new home for the next 9 months. Our first days in Mount Pleasant have been very interesting and fun: because our apartments are next to each other, we spent a lot of time together, and discovered the campus and everything around. I felt overwhelmed by the size of everything and the width of the sky in Michigan. Even though Michigan’s countryside seemed to be very similar to Germany’s, the open space is still amazing to me. I am used to the packed Campus of HHU Duesseldorf and in general crowded areas like the Ruhrgebiet. Here, there is so much open area; next to my apartment, there are parks and a river; when I walk from one to another building on campus, I see many green areas. I still admire Michigan’s nature and CMU’s campus even with everything covered in a solid white snow dress since December.
At the Orientation week for international students, we met people from all over the world, but in the end, we had a close friend group the exchange students from the Netherlands as well as from Germany. We also found our first American friends there - mostly students from CMU who studied abroad and who now want to help internationals to have a good time in the US. I was and still am very happy that the American mentality is so friendly and open-minded. It was always very easy to get in contact with Americans and especially in Michigan, where lot of families have their heritage in Germany, all people I met were extremely interested in me because of that fact that I am German. I cannot count the phrase “Oh, I am German as well” or “Oh, I’ve been to Germany because my grandparents are German”. Because of the big interest of CMU students in internationals it is easy to find persons to hang out with, who show you the area, drive you to the grocery store, work out with you and eventually become your friend.
In the first semester, I took six classes, 15 credits in total. Because I am a Biology major, I took two Biology related classes: Biochemistry, which I needed for my degree in Germany and Nature Study, because I wanted to learn about Michigan’s nature – plants and animals. I studied lots of different birds and fishes, which you can find in and around the Great Lakes. Because of this class, I also recognized the popularity of hunting in the states and especially here in Michigan. Many classmates already knew most of the animals because they were somewhat related to hunting seasons. I was very surprised that it is so common to go hunting or at least shooting at a range. I met boys and girls who go hunting on a regular basis with their whole family, and who would use the meat and cook with it. I did not go hunting, but as an exchange, I went to a shooting range with lot of other international exchange friends, two Americans and in company of a dad, who introduced us to some techniques. We also did archery, and I were told that they even have target archery school clubs here, which impressed me because it was a lot of fun and I have never heard of it in Germany before.
My other classes this semester are Teaching Aerobics, because at home in Germany, I am a group fitness instructor and I felt lucky that I could get a college education in it. I also have Teaching Outdoor Skills, where I have the topics archery, fishing, compass and canoeing. I like how CMU supports outdoor recreation and wants students to spread knowledge and skills, so I am pleased that I learn more about all those topics, because they are especially popular in Michigan. Since I am spending one year here I want to get to know as much about it as possible. I meet many students who are interested in the outdoors and we have plans to go hiking and canoeing, so I can actually apply my knowledge to my activities here and learn about how Michigan deals with topics such as hunting and fishing licenses and their economics. My other two classes are Yoga and Swing Dance, which I attend with friends. I appreciate CMU’s variety of classes and I am so thankful to work with very friendly and engaged teachers. Even though I spend a lot of time studying in the library, which is huge, I very much enjoy the American University with all the homework and midterms. I can feel that compared to being in Germany I study more efficiently and I am glad that I make this experience, because here I really realize my new skills.
I have to add a paragraph with a rather negative touch: during our second visit in Chicago with my sister and exchange friends, we made the experience of thievery. While we were watching a Chicago Bulls Basketball game, people broke into the car we borrowed from friends and stole almost everything, including my sister’s passport. Moreover, we had to drive back to Mount Pleasant with a broken car window. I did not park the car, which is why I felt disappointed by the decision of my friends because that was the reason why my sister was crying. In the end, I can only say that friends will always help you! We worked together as a team and everybody helped me to get a new passport for my sister because she had to leave the US soon. I have to say that I felt more disappointed by the US police, which did not help us at all because the states are not communicating internally. It also took a long time to finally getting to talk to somebody in the German Embassy, but once I reached somebody, everybody was there to help us; a good American friend drove us back to Chicago at 3am in the morning so that my sister could get a new passport and catch her flight. It was an unpleasant adventure, but we learned from it and I am thankful for all the help.