Study Trip to Amsterdam, Osnabruck and Berlin

36 students from 10 Business programs, two faculty, John Finley, Business General & International Business Management Programs Coordinator, Monique Finley, Office Administration Program, along with a lead person Tanya Orban, International Partnerships Coordinator traveled to Amsterdam, Osnabrück and Berlin in May, 2016 as part of the intercultural expansion at Niagara College. This opportunity was approved under the Be World Ready 

 umbrella to cultivate globally aware students / graduates with the purpose to build inter-cultural competencies and skills while enhancing the students’ college experience.

Niagara College in partnership with Osnabrück University  recognises that students are enriched and acquire life skills when they have the opportunity to learn and interact with students from outside their country’s borders. Making these kinds of travel experiences available to NC students encourages an entrepreneurial mind-set, offers opportunities for applied research, and opens eyes and minds to other cultures in this global economy. NC students attended classes with German students; learning, working on assignments and presentations and playing together. This unique travel experience was an opportunity for NC students to achieve two credits (a total of 6-credit hours) towards their NC studies. Niagara College also contributed $500 towards the students’ travel once they completing a 500-word reflection page.

NC students were able to visit Amsterdam Stock Exchange AEX centre, the oldest in the world, and practice their investment skills in a business incubator. We had a number of students who invested, making a profit! At the Rijksmuseum, a National Dutch museum dedicated to arts and history of the Golden Age, students admired paintings created by the masters: Steen, Vermeer, Hals, and most notably Rembrandt. A boat cruise on the Amstel Canal system was also a delight and enabled the students to hear about the founding and building of the city and the canal. Students had time on their own to further explore this world class city. Some cycled around Amsterdam, many participated in the Heineken beer tour, others indulged tasting a wide variety of scrumptious cheese at the Dutch Cheese Market Festival , or explored the neighbourhoods that are unique to Amsterdam… you can imagine!

Time in Osnabruck was a chance to live and study in a fairly small German community that enabled the students to bond and form friendships with the Germans. NC students walked, cycled or bused to classes each day, visited town’s historical sites, shopped for groceries at the local grocery stores and cooked meals together, and enjoyed evening chats on the terrace of the hostel. One outstanding tour was Nightwatch, a guided excursion of the old town. The students took part in the Osnabrück’s old town committee meeting, similar to the city council. From there they were taken to the top of the city hall and to the watch tower. Joseph, the outstanding tour guide vividly retold the historic events of Osnabrück as though the students were right there at that time.  At the end of the study week at Osnabrück University NC students attended the town’s May Festival and together with the Germans enjoyed food, vendors and shopping, folk music, and rock band concerts. It was an evening of fun, laughter and celebration. 

Then a trip to Volkswagen Autostadt and a few days in Berlin. The VW visit showcased the advancement of automotive technology and chronicled cars throughout the century from old classics, like the Bugatti 57 SC and the original VW Beetle, to new futuristic Audi models. In Berlin at the Rathaus (German Parliament) students visited the House of Commons and learned about German’s four ruling parties and their day-to-day work. The Berlin Cathedral (The Evangelical Supreme Parish) was another gem with astounding paintings, glass, stone and tile mosaic, and many golden adornments. The whole trip was exceptionally wonderful!

This trip will be remembered for years and years to come and the students’ comments says it all:

“While in Germany I had the opportunity to go to Osnabrück University. I never thought I’d be attending University so it was quite an exciting time for me.”

 “The group of people I got closer with and the new friends I created is something I will never forget and always have Niagara College to thank for this wonderful opportunity.”

 “This trip was absolutely an exceptional experience. Not only did we get to integrate and learn from other students one-on-one and from the people of another culture, but it also allowed me to appreciate the differences between people.”

 “I have no idea how to speak German and communicating can be very difficult in some situations. Although communication was hard throughout this trip, I have significantly improved on how patient I can be and having an open mind in all situations.”

ᾮThe thing that I most enjoyed about the trip was all the friendships that I built in the trip, getting to know all those wonderful places with my new friends is priceless for me.ᾯ

“I believe that having class with the German students was one of the most eye opening and coolest learning experiences I have ever been a part of.”

 “I also noticed that there weren’t any drive-through windows. Meals consisted of a lot fresh bread, buns, cheese and meat.”

 “In closing, I would truly like to thank Niagara College, Tanya Orban, and John & Monique Finley. I would also like to thank the Be World Ready program and anyone else involved for allowing me to partake in this fantastic and unforgettable experience. The learning, experiences, and memories will last a lifetime.”

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