As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Hans Joohs Sister Cities Exchange program, the Sister Cities commission has asked past visitors to update us on their lives. Here is a letter from 2010 Hans Joohs Sister Cities Intern, Mona Mors.
My stay in New Ulm took place from September to December 2010. I had the honor to physically represent Ulm and Neu Ulm, whose German spirit is still present in the minds of people, in the culture and last but not least in last names. Koch and Kraus are two of those names for example, whose adjacent families were so kind to host me during my stay in New Ulm.
The positive attitude of the New Ulmers expressed itself in warm welcomes, curiosity about me and my home town, and through the joy of people as seen in the festivals such as Oktoberfest which I had the pleasure to attend. I even had the chance to actively participate in the entertainment by impersonating the Narren "Gusty Wind." In Germany the Narren are commonly only seen around Carnival, but seeing the happiness they spread in New Ulm, we will not worry about this detail.
Mona Mors, during her stay in Paris.
Whereas a non-New Ulmer might have the prejudice that a town of 12,000 inhabitants wouldn't offer much to do, it has what some other big cities are not capable of offering: golfing, a recreation center, a theater club, musicals, parks, including tracks for cross-country skiing and most of all, attentive, friendly people. At the same time, the internship at 3M gave me insight into industrial production on a plant site, valuable experience for an engineer in the making, as I am, and it let me acquire capabilities in Quality Engineering, which are vital so as to offer a technical quality product.
After Christmas, I left New Ulm for a two-week vacation heading towards West Lafayette, Indiana, for a semester of bachelor studies of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. On the trip I not only went skiing in the Lutsen Mountains but also had the chance to do some dogsledding at Ely.
My semester at Purdue was also very enriching, not only because of the classes in Fluid Dynamics (Do I get more wet if I walk or if I run in the rain?), in System Dynamics and Modeling (How do I design spring-damper systems such that I will not notice the bump I am driving over?) and the Design class (Designing and constructing an automatic blackboard cleaner) but also because I got to know another teaching mentality, another student mentality and another way of realizing life.
I returned to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Karlsruhe, Germany, to finish my Bachelor's degree and continue with a Master's in Mechanical Engineering. I did not stay much more than a year before transferring to my French partner university in order to pursue a French-German double degree program. I had the good luck to relocate to no other city than Paris which signified a whole life change all over again. From the calm and green Karlsruhe, which had been nothing else but the vacation residence of Charles, I switched to a city packed with people, cars and the recently installed bike system with bikes you could rent. You may expect that I, as a German, took the bike to school and I did. Believe me, traffic in Paris is an adventure in itself.
The six months I spent in Paris passed quickly. It followed an incredible four weeks of vacation in Argentina, the beating heart of my favorite hobby, the Argentine Tango. For me it was a dream come true.
Afterwards, life got even better with my being placed on the "cote d'Azur, the French Mediterranean coast, which let me do my internship and work on my Master's Thesis in a start-up company in what is called the "Silicon Valley of France", Sophia Antipolis. It will be my task to develop and enrich the innovation management tool of the company ViaNoveo with my knowledge of methodical product development and the scientific research that I am just about to begin. "Functional Analysis" is the keyword, a method to specify products or others by verbally expressing its functions. This article, for example, has a function to "inform New Ulm readers about the Hans Joohs Sister Cities Intern exchange student Mona Mors." This said, I congratulate you on the 25th anniversary of the Hans Joohs Sister Cities program and wish you many more to come!