We have spent beautiful five months in Erfurt, an experience that showed us the typical German cities and its internal differences. We enjoyed many of the city's historical attractions such as the Zitadelle Petersburg, the Alte Synagogue and the Domplatz. December was a special month, we had a great time visiting the Erfurt Christmas market and tasting German food and the hot wine. We had a chance to visit other cities in Thuringia; like Eisenach's Wartburg Castle, a historical and Medieval Castle where Martin Luther translated the Bible and where Saint Elizabeth lived. We also went to Gotha and visited Friedenstein Castle that holds the biggest library in Thuringia. We visited for the first time a concentration camp; it was the Buchenwald concentration camp in Weimar. We enjoyed our stay in Erfurt where we made some charming new friends and we got a chance to go out and visit many places together.
The capital was our first destination outside of Erfurt. It was in November shortly after the 25th commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall. We visited the East Side Gallery, went to several museums and made a stop at the Brandenburg Gate and the Parliament as well as the Berliner Dom that still holds many tombs of former Prussian Monarchs and Royals. We concluded by visiting the Berlin Wall memorial.
Hamburg was beautiful and different with its harbour and lakes, it was unfortunate that we didn't get a chance to see everything we wanted because of the snow, since we visited in January. But from what we saw and visited it's a charming city. We did get a chance to tour around and see the Harbour, the town hall and historical churches and many other attractions. We also enjoyed the nightlife there, nice pubs and clubs with a lovely atmosphere.
Studying in Erfurt
The MESH program is an exchange program that helps the Lebanese-German cooperation and intercultural involvement, where different topics are discussed and shared from both the Lebanese and German angle of seeing things. As the image given about both societies overseas in the media tends to be biased and doesn't match necessarily what's on the ground. The common history between Europe and the Middle East also helps with the success of the program as both parties are interested in the history of each country and how it developed throughout people's evolvement. The papers we had to handle were like the Lebanese universities projects we use to write for each class in Lebanon, so it was easy as we already had an idea of how to do it. Free discussions were open during class where the ideas get more logical by handling and comparing it with concrete examples. Even by learning the German language and by the use of their words logic mostly help to understand the German culture and how it's functioning.
Our stay in Germany was a once in a lifetime experience, we had a great time, we learned a lot; we advise this program to other students that are looking for a unique exchange experience.
Eliane Abi Sleiman & Jessy Daccache
Anlässlich der 5. Gothaer Kartenwochen besuchten die MESH-Studierenden am 19.11. die Buchvorstellung „Das Heilige Land in Gotha“. Zum ersten Mal waren damit Vertreter aller drei bisherigen MESH-Generationen zusammen im Spiegelsaal der Forschungsbibliothek auf Schloss Friedenstein anzutreffen.
Die Präsentation des Buches schloss den Kreis zur letztjährigen Ausstellung mit dem gleichen Titel, die auch bereits im Rahmen des Studienganges mit den libanesischen Studierenden besucht worden war. Prof. Dr. Folker Reichert sprach in seinem Festvortrag über „Geld, Geduld, Glaube – Die Reise zum Heiligen Grab nach Zeugnissen in Gotha“ und damit über verschiedene Aspekte der Pilgerreisen, welche die Kartensammlung zur deutschen Palästinakartographie im 19. Jahrhundert interessant abrundeten.
To get in the mood for Christmas the team of the chair as well as German and Lebanese MESH-students paid a joint visit to the Christmas market in Erfurt. There, we explained to our Guests from the Levant the local customs and traditional beverages. Judgement: highly interesting – especially the mulled wine. Also the intercultural component was tended to by translating German and Lebanese songs for Christmas.