If you weren’t able to participate in the 2019 Alabama Germany Partnership Study Trip to Germany, you really missed a tremendous opportunity for learning so much about German education, culture and industry. The trip provided us with deep insights and critical understandings, and our sponsors and hosts were exceptionally gracious.
We began our trip with a reception in Berlin on Wednesday, June 19th. We saw some familiar faces and some new ones as well. Our delegation was comprised of a well-balanced cross section of industry, academia and state and governmental representatives.
The delegation’s outings started with a visit to the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. We were welcomed by Professor Dr. Andreas Zaby, President of the Berlin School of Economics and Law, as well as the chair of UAS7, a country-wide consortium of seven leading German Universities of Applied Sciences. This visit included several presentations by experts in their fields with a focus on the German approach to apprenticeships and technical education. As you can imagine, we had many questions. They even treated us to lunch in their cafeteria.
The next stop was cultural in nature. The group visited the Berlin Wall Museum and an area which included a preserved portion of The Wall. This was a somber but important visit.
Afterwards, the US Embassy welcomed us with a detailed briefing of current US-Germany relations. The insights provided were of particular interest and gave valuable perspective to the information we hear from most news sources. The embassy is located next to the picturesque and historically rich Brandenburg Gate.
Over the next two days, we spent time with a number of Berlin organizations including:
- a briefing and tour of Berlin Partner, a startup ecosystem and electromobility incubator,
- a briefing and tour of MotionLab Berlin, a coworker and makerspace for young entrepreneurs in Berlin Kreuzberg
- a tour of the Bundestag Parliament
- Meeting with Kevin Heidenreich, Director of Foreign Trade, Development Policy for DIHK, Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry
- cultural site visits to the DDR (Former East Germany) Museum and Checkpoint Charlie