Good morning from the Springhill Suites Hotel, today is one of the warmest days so far with an average high of 22 degrees Celsius. It is our second campus activity day, therefore most of the students will be participating in different classes. We have received permission to attend a total of 29 different classes for the day, amongst the classes are lectures in the arts, engineering, history & philosophy! We are excited and keen to start the day with a healthy breakfast, followed by writing postcards to our beloved ones back home, before we head off to our lectures.
One of the most visited morning lectures was the photography class by Greta Pratt, a renowned American photographer concerned with issues of national identity and American myth. She works as an associate professor in the Art Department. Her work has been shown in Art in America, New York Times Sunday Magazine and The New Yorker. Her photography class was exceptionally well-perceived amongst the students. Mrs. Pratt started her lecture by welcoming the German students and then continued her class with photography theory. After the theory, it was the photography student’s turn to showcase their homework on the assignment that they had received prior to the class. Mrs. Pratt initiated a photo critique session in which the students would learn not only from her, but from other students as well. The photo critique was followed by a tour to the mural “A rat above Haight Street” which is currently being shown at the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries from an anonymous English street artist known internationally as Banksy.
As foreign students, we noticed the strong self-identification amongst the American students between themselves and their University. For some of us, we used the break between the morning lectures to head over to the university merchandise store, which is located just behind the Ted Constant Convocation Center and is within a 5-minute walking distance from the Hampton Boulevard. We were successful in finding the right ODU outfit for the day.
Some of our Electrical Engineers took part in the course of Communication Systems. The course was taught by Professor Dimitrie C. Popescu a longtime acquaintance of Professor Herzog. After we had introduced ourselves and exchanged our thoughts, we began with the lecture, in which we learned about the PPL demodulator and the model phase error in terms of input phase.
The Sports Center
After the early classes in the afternoon, some of us decided it would be a great idea to participate in some sports activities. This included throwing football on the lawn in front of the University Sports Center and playing basketball with some of the ODU athletes. From a German student perspective, the sports facilities are phenomenal and unmatched within German universities. It is fascinating to see the degree of professionalism that maintains the facilities and the backing of the athletes. I believe the strong athletic competitiveness amongst the American Universities helps to from a stronger identity amongst the students themselves. A few days earlier, we had been fortunate to witness the strong university team spirit while watching the ODU basketball team participate in the Eastern Conference Playoffs in Connecticut in a bar located close to the campus.
Holocaust and Film Class
One of the last activities to take place on this late Monday afternoon was the “Holocaust and Film” class by Dr. Finley-Croswhite in the Health Science Building. Mrs. Finley-Croswhite was trained in European History at the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she took her doctoral exam in both early modern and modern European history. The students that had participated in the 3-hour lecture from 4:20 until 7:00 PM really enjoyed her class. They mentioned that Mrs. Finley-Croswhite was very welcoming and interested in the way that Holocaust History is taught within Germany. In a dialog between her and the students from the USA and Germany, we were able to distinguish that one of the main differences within the teaching of the Holocaust History is the fact that within the United States, the Holocaust is part of the high school history curriculum and there is a certain, but limited time allocated to this particular chapter of history. Whereas in Germany, the allocated time to this particular chapter of history exceeds the American time frame by far and is part of the history curriculum from the 5th grade up until the graduation year. German students in comparison, spend a lot of time on this era and are very familiar with the underlying structures and political machineries that led to this dark piece of history. Within the class of “Holocaust and Film”, Mrs. Finley-Croswhite was able sensitize us to critically question the origin and the intention of the media, by showing a range of different film material from the early 1930 years right up to the late 1960ies by taking a more subtle and nuanced look.
Due to the heavy rain and the cloudy sky in the evening, we had to give up on our evening program in which we had intended to visit the ODU Pretlow planetarium which has a free show on Mondays and Thursdays.