IGCSP 19-20| Stay in Germany, Report by Indians

Sunday, Report by Aishani Chakraborty and Chiranjeevi Vijayaraghavan

Our first experience in Germany was the train journey from Hannover to Braunschweig. We were met with an enthralling scenic beauty. The view through the windows revealed a picturesque countryside with wide roadways, colourful graffiti and streets lined with houses of marked architectural distinction. Especially the traditional half timbered houses, the archaic renaissance architecture and the gothic styles had us captivated. After the journey we freshened up for a while and then gathered at ‘Lord Helmchen’ for our first dinner at Braunschweig. Everyone was delighted to have met after such a long time. We had a lot to share and talk about. The German students helped us with the delicious German cuisine and the wide-ranging variety of beer. We had a very pleasant and hospitable evening.

Monday, Report by Yash Batra and Sandhya Rathee

After a long wait of 3 months, we were very excited to meet German students. A morning walk of 20 minutes from hostel to the campus freshens us all. On our way to campus we find out some good German architecture. There were very less students on the campus due to Christmas. The different departments of TU were widely distributed in Braunschweig unlike concentrated in campus boundaries. We reached the lecture hall and received an “official” welcome. After general instructions, everyone was determined to work together as a team and close out the challenge in next few days. All the teams self-check their status and decided to work collaboratively to connect various pieces of puzzle. Then all of us went to Mensa to have our lunch. There was a variety of dishes from salad to dessert. Our teammates helped us in choosing the best dishes for us by explaining them. Although there was hardly any spices in the food for Indians, but it was delicious. Everyone was recalling the memories we had together in BITS Pilani 3 months ago. After one-hour long feast, we headed back to our Group work. It was a good first day experience in Germany, exploring different parts of the city in the latter half of the day.

Tuesday, Report by Shrinidhi Sambamurthy and Ananya Pupneja

The day started off with us being invited to IFU for a session on lean manufacturing 4.0 which included a small enlightening presentation by Mr. Jonas Wullbrandt and Mr. Christian Ortmeier (leaders) followed by a fun activity session on the manufacturing line for a small music box. The line included assembly, thermal treatment in the oven, a quality check after which the pieces that cleared the check were sent ahead for delivery and the others were sent back for reworking.  We were divided into groups for three assembly stations, an oven, a quality check station and a rework station. After our first iteration, we realised this method was ineffective as we couldn’t complete and dispatch the required number of orders. For our second iteration, based on our ideas and input from the leaders, we decided to change the manufacturing line by separating different parts of the assembly and changed the line of production which turned out be a successful change as we not only managed to reach the production target, but had extra in store.

Post the activity session, we went our separate ways to continue with our group work at the end of which we all came back together to go to the Christmas Market. The Weihnachtsmarkt was this beautifully lit and decorated place that really put all of us into a Christmassy mood. We started off our experience with a glass of Glühwein with the whole group and then went ahead to roam around the whole market and the more we saw, the more we all fell in love with everything there. The food and the desserts, although new for all of us was lovely to try and I think all of us would come back for the caramel almonds if we could. The night was so wonderful that we briefly forgot we still had work to do for the challenge.

Wednesday, Report by Aishani Chakraborty and Chiranjeevi Vijayaraghavan

Wednesday was our third day in Braunschweig and was also the only day left before our final presentations…The entire day was spent by the groups in completing their respective analysis and presentations interrupted only by a lunch break and a short tea break.
Specifically, Enersmart (The LCA-2 team) worked on comparing the emissions in two different production scenarios, two further ways of procuring raw materials for the process, the final coordination with the other teams and the final conclusion and presentation of their analysis.
Working together with our German counterparts helped us develop a better understanding of the different cultures. All in all it was a wonderful and a very enriching experience, in terms of both our academic enhancement and cultural exposure.

Thursday, Report by Ahmad Faraaz and Saharsh Agarwal 

We have had the opportunity of working with students of one of the finest institutes of Germany, TU Braunschweig. Thursday, 19th December 2019, was the concluding day for all the efforts put in by all of us as a team in the past 2 months. The day was scheduled for beginning at 10 am, to have the final presentation for all the 5 teams, with each entitled to 50 minutes of presentation and question-answer time. Nervous about performance, the day started much early for some of the students.

But all is well that ends well. The presentations went really well and everyone was able to see their journey from an unstructured and disaggregated set of teams to a well bonded group of individuals who knew what their final aim was.

The stressful day ended on a happy note with the final certificate awarding ceremony. Evident in our German counterparts – work hard, party harder attitude, we all decided upon dining at a restaurant for the dinner. This was the last official day for working and called for a celebration. The time we spent there with everyone is something I believe we all will cherish. From foosball to random stories and jokes, the environment was full of enthusiasm and bit of nostalgia that some of us wouldn’t be seeing the others again sometime soon.

Apart from  the skills we developed from the project, we made great friends for life. Their was much to learn from them. Skills like punctuality and proper planning are some of the traits that we have imbibed from them over the course of time. Knowledge transfer and communication between 2 such groups of diverse cultures has surely helped us grow as individuals and also broaden our horizons. Braunschweig is a place of surreal beauty punched with progressive vibes. It was great learning experience from such phenomenal minds.

Friday, Report by Aryan Mehra and Bhagyesh Trivedi

After the successful completion of our presentations a day before, it was now time for the much-awaited industry visit to the Volkswagen Autostadt on 20th December 2019. It was exciting because many of us were car buffs, and Volkswagen is “the” car manufacturer. All of us took a train from Braunschweig to Wolfsburg and started off with some amazing clicks of what was essentially a sprawling automotive theme park.

We began by seeing the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and then proceeded with a tour that introduced us to the main building and the “Level Green”. There we saw some amazing exhibits related to green production for automobiles and about the resource divide in the world in general. Some of the German and Indian groups along with us actively took part in the racing simulations and games at Level Green. Some new innovations in augmented reality windshields and guided systems really caught our attention.

The tour also took us to the automated car parking tower, which apart from being an architectural marvel, was also the mimic of the mission impossible climax scene set in Toronto. We went on to explore the Christmas market on our own afterward. Exploring the Lamborghini, Bugatti and Porsche buildings was like every engineer’s and car buff’s dream come true! We saw Carrera GT and Tycan Electric among other marvels like the W-16 16-cylinder engine, the beast producing 1000HP. Many of the car buffs fell for the classic iconic orange colored Lamborghini Aventador. While some of us parted ways after that, some stayed back for the ice-skating show, which was a visual treat indeed, reminding some of us of our visits to Disneyland as kids. After an eventful day, the remaining contingent took the 6pm train back to Braunschweig and said our final goodbyes to one another. The Indian participants finally packed their bags to leave for their personal pre-planned Europe trips the day after.