Student Reports: Engineering in Hamburg, 2016
For our study abroad experience, we mainly spent our time in Hamburg, Germany. We studied reliability and business excellence and learned about lean manufacturing and continuous improvement. We spent two or three mornings a week in a classroom setting and had the opportunity to tour facilities and other cities in Germany the other days of the week as a supplement to our classroom learning. A few of the things we got to do in Hamburg include visiting the town hall (Rathaus), seeing the Miniatur Wunderland model train museum, climbing to the top of the iconic St. Michaelis Church, touring Lufthansa airline company, and exploring the largest warehouse district in the world. We also experienced authentic German cuisine, such as currywurst and wiener schnitzel at several places around the city.
We got the chance to tour Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg Factory, which is the headquarters for the Volkswagen group. We were driven through the plant and were able to see the manufacturing process in action. After viewing the factory, we had some time to tour the city of Wolfsburg before we went to the Autostadt. At the Autostadt, we visited a few of the twelve pavilions, each displaying a different brand under the Volkswagen group, such as Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche. We also toured the Zeithaus Museum within the Autostadt, which contained five floors of vehicles representing 125 years of automotive history.
In Berlin, we took a walking tour of a portion of the city. We visited the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, the Bundesrat Building, and several stretches of the remains of the Berlin Wall. We also saw several iconic memorials, including the Holocaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall Memorial. After the tour, we spent a couple of hours just exploring the city and taking in the history of the area.
On the first of two separate days in Bremen, we spent several hours walking through and observing production lines at the Mercedes-Benz factory. We even got to see quality testing of the vehicles on a private track at the factory. After Mercedes-Benz, we visited the University of Bremen, where we were given an exclusive look at the some of the Department of Production Engineering research labs. On the second day in Bremen, we were able to tour the town center and see the town hall and the Bremen Cathedral. We also ate lunch at the Bremen Ratskeller, where we were served an incredible local fish meal. To finish out the day, we toured Beck’s Factory and learned about the history of brewing in Germany.