Beautiful, isn’t it? The university of Hohenheim resides within a grand old palace built during the time of dukes and duchesses in southern Germany. One walks through the halls wondering of all the history that has passed, and then they turn into a classroom with an overhead projector and WiFi. That’s the strange beauty of Europe. The people here live not apart from their history but thoroughly within it. They live and breath the stories of generations before them and hope to take some semblance of wisdom from those tales.
When the great volcano of Mount Tambora erupted, sending fiery rock and dark ash into Earth’s atmosphere, none could have predicted the effect it would have on the poor farmers of southern Germany. This was 1815, and the volcano was across the world in Indonesia, so when the skies darkened and unnatural cold enveloped the land for years no one knew quite why. This rare climate event caused great famine here, and the people’s beloved leader, King William I, wanted to protect his kingdom from future disaster. He decided to establish an institution of study in one of the old, then abandoned, palaces of the region. In 1818, the University of Hohenheim was established, originally purposed with the task of researching new, improved methods of agriculture so that no famine could strike the people once more.
The city of Stuttgart has flourished ever since, providing its people with an economy the envy of the rest of Germany. I came here three weeks ago, and have come to love this bustling center of friendly people and ancient treasures. Every corner there is something to do, someone to greet you, or a song to be enjoyed. Never have I been to a place more fond of festivals, concerts, and the outdoors. Of course, one can hardly discuss the pleasures of Germany without mentioning the marvelous beer and fresh baked bread, the two of which I have enjoyed more than I care to admit here.
My time here is spent studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation, two topics that perfectly top off five years of business study at Texas A&M. We bounce between classroom lectures from some of the finest minds at Hohenheim and Stuttgart, and on-site visits of companies that are happy to welcome us into their offices. We have seen small start-ups, massive multi-national corporations, and intriguing R&D departments. Stuttgart is home to Mercedes and Porsche, so we have had the opportunity to speak with some of these companies and visit the local museums dedicated to their achievements.
Finally, we have gone on a few road trips. Jumping on a train here is so easy a free weekend can turn into a castle-exploring excursion in no time. I’ve stared out over the Neckar River from the battlements of ancient castles, swam in the icy waters of the beautiful Lake Constance, and canoed down calm canals in the village Johannes Kepler studied astronomy. I could write pages upon pages about these experiences, but it suffices to say that my time here will be a permanent fixture in my memory and a source of great pleasure to recall. I’ll discuss other, more interesting things about this journey during my closing post after my return to the states, but for now I will say bye. As I’m writing this, a light rain has broken out and the view from the window is too peaceful to miss