RUB Bauwesen CompEng
Between 16 November and 18 November 2012 the international Computational Engineering Master's course in cooperation with the CompEng student council offered the students one very special weekend that provided a welcome change from their every-day student life: An excursion to the German capital Berlin. For the students it was a great opportunity to discover the famous German city and also to get to know a bit more about German history and consequently about German culture. Being a group of about fifty people, including first to third semester students, the CompEng tutor team and Course Coordinator Jörg Sahlmen, the excursion could start.

On Friday the group met at university at 5.30 a.m. in order to start very early and hence avoid the heavy traffic in the Ruhr area. After a drive of around 500 kms and a couple of short stops the bus arrived in Berlin at about midday. Checking in at the Berlin youth hostel near Potsdamer Platz everybody was keen to explore the famous German city.
With no fixed plans for the first evening the group made its way to the well known sights Brandenburg Gate, Siegessäule (Victory Column) and the Holocaust Memorial by foot: a short distance for Berlin, a huge distance for the group!
It was Friday evening - the best time to get to know Berlin’s night life! Everyone was free to follow their own plans and thus the group split up. A few started their evening in a bar called Ankerklause in Neukölln, others visited bars and further tourist attractions in the vicinity of the hostel. As Berlin offers a wide range of different bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants and clubs, there was something to find for everyone!

For the second day an English guide was booked for 3 hours for a sightseeing tour through the city. He joined the group on the bus, and provided the most important (and some of the most ridiculous) facts about Berlin and the different quarters with their specific cultural character. Considering the international background of the group, the guide emphasized Berlin's, and, related to this, Germany's historical past in particular. After three hours the group had a good overview of Berlin, its size, its cultural variety and also its history.

On the following morning the students had the opportunity to discover the quarters they liked the most on their own. One outstanding opportunity, for example, to visit the Bundestag with its huge glass dome which most of the students had already known from the icon of the RUB Chair of Statics and Dynamics (Prof. Dr. tech. Meschke). It also was a great chance to learn more about the German political system.

On the third and last day of the excursion the group went to the “DDR-Museum” to learn about the average every-day life in the Eastern part of Germany (the former 'German Democratic Republic (GDR), or DDR, in German). Up to 1989, before the historic German reunion, the GDR was separate from the Western part of Germany with an independent government and an indigeneous culture of its own. Having a six hour drive ahead the group left Berlin in the afternoon.

Altogether it is not exaggerated to say that the trip was truly unforgettable! The group definitely grew together in this three eventful days and everyone learned a lot – not only about Berlin but also about Germany, "the German way to do things" and, of course, how to have a ball the German way. Hopefully, there will be many more of such events to come. So what will be next – Munich, Hamburg, Bremen or Stuttgart? Let's just see... :-)
Special thanks to the CompEng student council, the General Students’ Committee AStA, the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering for making this trip possible. Thanks also to the CompEng students, who were a gorgeous group to have fun with!

The CompEng-Support Team