Cultural Cafe: Germany

Mathew Ward

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Felicitas Luis, an international student from Germany, gave a presentation featured by the U.S Department of State and Department of Education in the Union Grand Ballroom on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

 The event was open and free of charge to the public and started off with a German lunch: Schnitzel, German pork loin, potato salad and Apfelküchle a German baked apple with cinnamon. Luis then begun her presentation by explaining the geographical aspects of Germany.

 “It’s like half the size of Texas but more population,” Luis said. “I had a friend who traveled to Paris for breakfast and traveled back the same day.”

 According to Luis, southern Germany is the most populated and they wear some unique clothing.

 “(Southern Germany is) the only place in Germany where people regularly wear slumberpants and pajamas,” Luis said.

 Luis then spoke about some history of Germany and World War II. She explained the differences of both sides of the famous Berlin Wall.

 “The east and the west (of the wall) had completely different standards of living,” Luis said.

 She said that sides had two different types of currency, political systems and economic standards. The social standards were also different: the west side resembled western civilization with political freedom and indulgence while the east side resembled socialism and political unrest.

 “There were also a lot of people who enjoyed living on the socialist side,” Luis said. “People have (also) tried to get through it in very adventurous ways.”

 She explained that thanks to some politicians like John F. Kennedy, the fall of the Berlin Wall reunified the country.

 “There were some really skillful politicians at that time that were responsible for the fall (of the wall,)” Luis said. “You can call it like a rebirth of the German republic.”

 According to Luis, Germany is the founding father of the European Union (EU) and she favors its presence.

 “The good thing about the EU is you don’t need a visa to travel around (Europe,)” Luis commented.

 Luis continued her lecture by moving on to the various politics of Germany. She explained that there are 16 provinces and that the people elect deputies for each province. According to her, the President doesn’t have any actual power and “is like a Queen.”

 Luis said that the current chancellor, is Angela Merkel, is part of the “conservative party.” She explained that it is in quotes because it is “less conservative than
America’s conservative.”

 Merkel has been chancellor for 10 years and is on her second term and about to run for her third. The most pressing topic for Merkel is refugees.

 According to Luis, 500,000 refugees from Syria, Eritrea, Iran, and Afghanistan have applied for residency in Germany.

 “I’m really excited what it’s going to look like when I get back [to Germany],” Luis said. “My personal opinion is I think it’s a sign of progress. People now come to Germany for safety.”

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