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Final Reflection

When it came to deciding whether or not to participate in the 2011 Study Abroad Program with Robert Morris University, my ultimate decision was based upon the quality of education as well as the focus of the material. Finding out that the first half of the program would entail working for a German company that we were able to choose, helped me to make my final decision. I was looking forward to all of the knowledge I would gain in addition to the experience that came along with being in a different country.

My main focus with Funk-Gruppe (The German Company I had an internship with) was software development and broadening my knowledge in more programming languages. I spent the majority of my time learning from the employees and the MSDN website on object-oriented programming and structures using Microsoft Visual Studio, focusing in C#. I also assisted my German tutor Julius Walther in designing, developing, and testing an internal tool and configuration console that collects text fragments from an Oracle Database, groups the fragments, converts them into structured XML-Documents and imports them into a DMS.

In reflecting on my experiences at Funk Gruppe, I could not have asked for a better experience with not only broadening my knowledge, but also introducing me to the IT field in general. Each day was more exciting than the next, and I enjoyed every day’s 9-hour shift in front of the computer. I would love to be in an office environment where the entire office goes out to lunch together, and even has a convenient coffee room right down the hall. Having coffee in an IT Department, especially one focusing on Software Development is a feature you never thought you would appreciate. This internship opened my eyes to a whole new world, a world that I feel I would never work a day in my life. From this experience, I have made it my ultimate plan to have a job; however, I will not work a day in my life.

Hamburg, Germany is a great city filled with beautiful architecture, great food, easy transportation and a fun-filled night life. Being a working city with a large harbor to generate its economy through, you really see the type of people that either shuttle or drive into the city. It is not a popular tourist area; however it is a beautiful place to see that nobody really talks about. When I make my next trip to Germany, I will without a doubt, stop by Hamburg and say hello. I will never forget all my memories and friends that I attained while being in Germany. It was a long six weeks, however, now that I am back in the United States, I really do miss the people and the experiences I had. Thank you, Robert Morris University.

I will leave you with some things I would recommend to do not only in Germany, but in all of Europe. My first recommendation is to not be turned off by the site of the food; try it all. The food not only in Germany, but in Europe in general is delicious. Secondly, I would recommend seeing Paris. After I had visited Paris, I thought to myself, “I could live here the rest of my life”. In addition to seeing Paris, I would recommend experiencing the night life in Germany, especially the beer. Also, you MUST go to the Hofbräuhaus that is located all over Germany. Finally, I would recommend learning the language. Most of the other students would not take the time to really get into Germany and speak their dialect. I truly believe this adds to the experience of being in another country.

 

 

 

 

U.S. Women’s Open

Thursday 6/30/2011

Today consisted of the trade show finishing up as well as the finals of the United States Women’s Open. Of course, this is the bowling division of the US Open, but it still consists of the toughest pattern, and one of the toughest tournament layouts of the entire year. However, this year was exceptionally special.

You would be correct if you thought this was the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. They decided to make a full setup in center field and hold the finals of the 2011 US Women’s Open in Dallas Cowboys Stadium! We had some great seats and were able to walk wherever we wished to go. They had a large jumbotron that they were displaying what the televised show would look like including commercials, scores, and events.

During our “halftime” which is a break between the semi-finals match and the finals match, the Stadium decided to put on a little show for us. They first started with randomly selecting people who entered into the dance contest to dance on center field for some prizes form one of the sponsors of the event. Then, without any surprise, they shocked us all!

Yes, those are the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! You should have seen all the faces of all the bowlers watching this show when these girls came out. You don’t ever see girls like this in bowling, or even any type of cheerleaders. Our sport is looked too much upon as a beer, pizza, and bowling type sport. Sadly though, the people running this industry know they can make money that way, so they will not try to grow the industry as a sport, but rather a recreation.

My AWESOME thought of the day: I think it is AWESOME to have seen the first ever US Women’s Open that was finalized in a football stadium!

BowlExpo

Wednesday 6/29/2011

Even though I was only participating in the Trade Show portion of BowlExpo, you still can never really get used to the size of this convention. Not only is the size amazing, but seeing all people who are important to this industry in one location at one specific time. Very rarely can you get all of the delegates, proprietors, staff, and companies under one roof for 8 hours. The delegates and proprietors are focusing more on the meetings and seminars, however, the trade show is a nice fill-in and takes their mind off of the important stuff.

Inside the convention is a lot of exhibitors trying to sell their product to the centers. Unlike a car dealarship, though, they do not hassle you about anything. You are free to try any samples of food, drinks, or desserts that you wish. Even when you try their product, most of the time they will not talk to you about it. However, if you were to attempt to grab a flyer or brochure, that is all they need to see. Once the hand moves towards the brochure, you are saying I would like your product.

It is also a fun experience because of all the professional bowlers broadcasting themselves as well as their sponsors. I know a good amount of the professionals, so it is kind of like a reunion. I will not say that I know a lot of the bowlers, but some of the younger guys I am friendly with. So, it is nice to walk around and say hello to them.

Everyone knows everyone. Because this industry is not the largest of all the other sports, everyone knows everyone. You will be walking through the trade show and get stopped several times to say hello to other center operators, delegates, professionals, or proprietors. It really is an eye-opening, jaw-dropping experience.

My AWESOME thought of the day: I think it is AWESOME that we can have as much free food, drinks, beer, and desserts as we want at BowlExpo!

The Gaylord Texan

Tuesday 6/28/2011

After about 16 hours of flight time, 22 of the last 24 hours being in airports, hotels, and airplanes, I finally made it to Dallas. No more flights! My Parents were already waiting for me at the gate and I could not have been happier! I could have been a little more awake, to be honest. I had planned on sleeping on the plane but I was just too excited to finally get back to my family.

Then they had a surprise for me, and that was the Gaylord Texan. If you are not familiar with the Gaylord hotel chain, it is one of the biggest resort hotel chains in the world. There are hundreds of locations all around the world, each one having its unique qualities. The best thing about staying at this hotel was that the Bowling Convention (BowlExpo) was at the convention center in this resort. On top of that, they overbooked the rooms and upgraded us to suites for no additional charge! For the next two days I would be lounging in an entire suite to myself!

The Gaylord Texan has a river running through its 15 acre property, with a beautiful atrium in its center. There are several 4 and 5 star restaurants inside, with sports bars to fill in the gaps between the restaurant. You really would not have to leave this resort for any reason; everything you need is right here.

The convention starts tomorrow, and I am actually pretty excited .I always love going to BowlExpo to see how the industry is changing and what is planned for the future.

My AWESOME thought of the day is: I think it is AWESOME that you can get upgraded to a suite by giving the Receptionist a nice smile after dealing with a high-rate customer. 😀

Chicago

Monday 6/27/2011

Today, I finally made it to Chicago. Chicago, one of the biggest cities in the world, and my home for the past year. However, Chicago is not my true home. The other students are being picked up by their families getting hugs and greetings and signs and flowers, while I am hopping in a car with my friend here in Chicago and heading to my hotel for the night. My flight does not leave until 6 in the morning tomorrow. I did not get into the hotel until about 12am because of Passport Control, Customs, driving, and running errands with my friend. Now, I have to be up at 4 am to get ready for my taxi that will be here at 430 am and take me to the airport to catch my flight to Dallas, which still is not home.

I will be in Dallas for a few days with my parents at a Bowling Convention and seminars. It will be a great time, I am sure, but I still have not been home in such a long time. I really haven’t had that true comfort feeling you get being in your own bed and around your family. This leads me to my AWESOME thought of the day:

I think it is AWESOME that I am only about a week from being in my own bed, in my own home, with my own family!

Best Friends

Sunday 6/26/2011

What is a best friend to you? Is a best friend just someone you hang out with on a regular basis? What constitutes someone being “labeled” as your best friend? Personally, it took me a long time to realize and consider who is my best friend. Over time, it has become more and more clear to me, with no doubt whatsoever.

My best friend Jody is someone that no matter how far away, how long between talks, and how mad we are at each other, will always be there for me in a heartbeat. Years ago through some tough times in my life, he was always there to talk to, always there to go to, always there with the best advice. He helped me get my life back on track. We have this saying with each other which makes us somewhat unique: If a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it. This explains our friendship. We don’t call each other crying or tell each other it will be okay, we make it okay!

You really cannot put a price on what a friendship means to people. Friendships are something that will last forever, unlike relationships. Yes, some relationships do make it the distance. However, more often than not, the friendships last longer than these “relationshits” as I like to call them. Today I spent a lot of time talking to my best friend and planning all of the things we are going to do once I finally get home this week.

 

My AWESOME thought of the day is: I think it is AWESOME that this is the last night I will be sleeping in Hotel Wagner in Dammtorpalais!

The Final Reeperbahn Visit

Saturday 6/25/2011

Bright lights, thousands of people, unlimited amounts of drinks, all-night parties, utter mayhem, and a night you will never forget; this is what St. Pauli will give you each time you pay the Reeperbahn a visit. This night did not let me down whatsoever. The Germans, as always, are so eager to show you a good time when it comes to the night life.

The night started with a great dinner at a restaurant called Block House. Block House is a steakhouse that the German students promised me I would like their steaks. I was not disappointed! They actually had an option on the menu for an American Sirloin. When I first saw this item, I spoke outlaid and said, “I’ll be the judge of that!”.

After dinner, the Germans wanted to go to the lake for some reason. I had no idea what the reasoning could be, I could only imagine. They stopped at a liquor store and bought two bottles of liquor. They said they wanted to “pre-game” as the Americans call it. Sitting around the lake allowed me to reflect on my experience here in Germany. I was able to look at the beautiful scenery of Jungerfsteig, where the town hall is and where we were taken our first day here. Now, I am spending one of my last looking on it from the other side of the lake. Kind of ironic that I started not knowing anything on one side of the lake, and slowly made my way to the other side where it is more comfortable.

Then it was off to the Reeperbahn, and well, the rest is history. Many bars, clubs, and food stops made up the rest of the night, one I will never forget.

My AWESOME thought of the day: I think it is AWESOME how good German beer is, I am really going to miss it,