|Trinity Students Analyze the Euro During Inaugural European Union Trip
By Richard Burr and Jorge G. Gonzalez
Fourteen students and two Trinty University professors left from various places in the United States and Europe on July 14, 2007 to meet in Frankfurt on July 15, 2007. After arrival, the group traveled by private bus to Mainz to stay for two nights.
The first day also included an orientation by Customized Educational Programs Abroad (CEPA), a tour of Mainz and a welcoming dinner.
On Monday, the 16th, we traveled by bus to Heidelberg where we visited the Heidelberg Castle in the morning and, then, drove to Frankfurt for our afternoon visit to the European Central Bank.
Tuesday morning, the 17th, we left Mainz by bus to travel to Darmstadt, Germany, where we visited Merck, the oldest chemical and pharmaceutical company in the world. After a two hour tour and a discussion session, we were hosted at a luncheon Merck. Returning to Heidelberg, we visited Wild, the largest private producer of natural ingredients for the food and beverage industry and the producer of Capri Sun, the fruit drink in a pouch. Following our visit, we traveled to Strasbourg, France, to stay at the Château de Pourtalès the next five nights.
The Château was built in 1750. It is located in the beautiful forested area in Robertsau, outside of Strasbourg. It is now owned by the parent company of CEPA.
On Wednesday morning, the 18th, we visited the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly Hall in Strasbourg. After an explanatory presentation, we had an additional hour of discussion. That afternoon, we toured Strasbourg and took a boat tour of the city on the River Ill.
We drove, again by bus, to Rheinmünster, Germany, on Thursday morning, to visit the Dow Chemical plant. We learned about the production of epoxy and had a full tour of the facilities. We returned to Strasbourg for the afternoon.
We began that afternoon with a lecture by two women who shared their experiences working as expatriates in Germany.
For the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening, the 14 students each made Power Point presentations on the book relating to the European Union that they had chosen to read. The presentations were well done and stimulated more breadth in the understanding of the European Union.
On Friday, July 20, we drove to Stuttgart to the Daimler-Chrysler production facilities to learn about engine production and to tour a portion of the factory. We also toured the new Mercedes-Benz Museum.
That afternoon, we drove to Untergruppenbach, Germany, to the Getrag transmission development facility. Getrag makes the transmissions for Ford, among many others. We saw how transmissions are developed and tested.
We returned to Strasbourg through Baden Baden, stopping for a brief visit to the city and for dinner.
Saturday, July 21, was spent entirely on the Route de Vines, the French Alsatian wine countryside. We visited Ribeauvillé, Colmar, and Riquewihr, and ended the day with dinner in Stutzheim, France.
On Sunday, the 22nd, we left Strasbourg, and, still by bus, drove to Luxembourg to visit the Court of Justice of the European Communities. We had a guided tour of the Court and an informative question and answer session. We, then, drove on to Brussels.
We purchased transportation passes, “Cart Jum~ d’un Jour,” to make travel much easier and more efficient in Brussels. In the afternoon of the 23rd , we visited the European Parliament of the European Union.
Tuesday morning, July 24, we took the high speed train to Paris, arriving at Gare du Nord at mid-day. After checking into our hotel, we received our five day Paris Visite Cards for the public transportation system in Paris, which allowed us to travel as much as we liked by metro, bus, or train. Late in the afternoon, we took a boat tour on the Bateaux Parisiens to see the city from the Seine.
On July 25, in the morning, we visited the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Our hosts commented on how attentive the students were and what thoughtful and pertinent question they asked.
On Thursday morning, the 26th, we met at the Schiller International University campus for a classroom session. We discussed the program in its entirety, did the course evaluation, and discussed the logistics of our upcoming departures from Paris on Saturday. In the afternoon, we went to Versailles
Friday morning, we visited UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. We had a brief presentation, a question and answer session, and tour of the organization’s grounds. In the afternoon, everyone was free to visit the museums, parks, monuments, and churches of Paris. That evening, we had our farewell dinner at Les Noces de Jeannette.
On Saturday, we went our separate ways. About half of us went to the airport at various times in the early morning to fly back to the U. S. Others stayed in Paris for several more days, and still others left for other parts of Europe.
Every indication, at this point, leads us to conclude that the program was a definite success. It was fast paced, varied, informative, educational, and enjoyable. Students learned a great deal about the European Union, the European economy, traveling together for an extended time, coping with “foreign” languages, real major city commuting, eating differently, and much, much more.
Our plan is to repeat the program next summer, very much in the same format.
For a first-time program, we believe it was highly successful and, certainly, a benefit to our students’ international education.
Richard Burr, Ph.D, is a professor and former chair of business administration at Trinity. Jorge Gonzalez, Ph.D., is a professor and former chair of economics.
© 2007 Trinity University