Hallo! I am Viengvilaiphone Botthoulath, a lecturer at the Faculty of Food Science, Savannakhet University, Lao PDR. At 12:08 p.m. on May 2, 2019 I arrived at Karlsruhe, Germany. I will stay here for two months as a staff exchange under the Erasmus+KA107 programme. Dr. Martin Remmele (my partner) and Mr. Napha (my Lao colleague) went to pick me up at the KarIsruhe train station. I was really excited to meet them again. I also thank Ms. Julia Friedl (Akademisches Auslandsamt – International Office) for helping me in running official documents and booking accommodation for me. The room was really comfortable and there was a sharing kitchen next to my room. I enjoyed cooking Lao and also German cuisine there.
May 3, 2019 was my first sunny day at Karlsruhe University of Education. I walked almost completely around at the Karlsruhe Palace. I was really impressed with this place. It is huge, and is where visitors can encounter the cultural history of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. I came to Germany in Spring, and so enjoyed a lot of diverse blooming flowers beside the palace, called “Botanischer Garten or Karlsruhe Botanical Garden”. There are more than 20 species of exotic trees growing in the garden. There are stunning collections of tropical and Mediterranean plants in the greenhouses. Furthermore, there is a lake full of ducks swimming, and green grass outside the castle. Another museum impressed me is called “ZKM, Centre for Art and Media”. Here, I enjoyed art and high-tech public collections, and a media library. It acts on fast IT developments and Changing social structures. It is the combination of contemporary art, media, image media, music and acoustics. I love to visit museum a lot. I should also mention one that is called the “State Museum of Natural History, Karlsruhe”. It is well organized with a clear separation of various sections and collections of the beauties of nature. The aquarium section attracted me the most. It was my first time and I spent an hour watching aquatic life.
Well! There are still many things to describe about Karlsruhe. The population of this region is over 300,000 and KarIsruhe is a city that can be referred to as a “knowledge factory with savoir vivre”. Next, let me tell you about the city centre. It is the heart of the city where people work, shop, study, live and spend their leisure time. The city centre consists of an eastern and a western district and is organized and built systematically. Many people (including me) prefer to use the train service. It costs 2,26 Euro in the city. Also, people love ride bicycles. It is healthy, and saves the environment.
I really like the Traffic and Environmental management rules in KarIsruhe, Germany. Let’s talk about crossing the street here, it is simple and respectful. Just wait for the green man! I could say that few cultures appreciate good social order quite as much as the Germans. This includes crossing against the line. They will most likely wait for the green man to showed up, even if no cars coming. Crossing against the light you may get some sterns stares and you may even be ticketed offense. I truly appreciate this rule because it is well-managed, safe, and reduces accidents. Regarding Environmental management there are waste bins located everywhere. People going to markets need to carry their own bags to carry things they buy. If you need a bag from the shops, you must buy one. This rule has been applied in European and some other developed countries, as it can reduce pollution and save the green environment.
Well! What have I learned while living here the past month? At the beginning, I was not really confident to use train to go anywhere because I always confused with the direction of the trains. After a week later, it was really easy to go everywhere, just understand the map and remember the name of the streets. Also, I have learned how’s German teachers teaching or working styles and how’s German students’ learning. These issues will be my next topic publications. Now, I seem to have a clearer understanding of living styles in European country.
Thank you, Erasmus+ KA107 program, Savannakhet University, and my special thanks goes to Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin to give me such a fantastic opportunity.
Text by V. Botthoulath
Photos by V. Botthoulath, T. Keokaisone & C. Grisot