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Naval Academy Midshipmen Study in Munich, Hamburg

Posted on: March 18, 2013 09:00 EDT by the International Programs Office

Midshipman 1st Class Alison Reed and Midshipmen 2nd Class Andrew Miller and Tom Uyttebroek spent the fall semester studying abroad in Germany.

The trip began with a week in Flensburg, Germany, a small town on the coast of the Baltic Sea.  The mids sailed on the Baltic with German Naval officers and followed German officers-in-training in their training at the German Naval Academy, the Marineschule Mürwik. This afforded the midshipmen the opportunity to observe a part of the standard year-long education for all students at the Marineschule Mürwik.

The exchange midshipmen participated in small arms qualification with the standard German assault rifle in a simulated range with pneumatic action on the weapons. The midshipmen also took part in the classes involving planning and public speaking.

“We also got to tour German history museums and see the German World War II U-Boat Memorial. Seeing history from another perspective was very eye-opening,” said Reed.

The midshipmen then took a train to Munich, where they spent a month studying at the Goethe Institute, completing an eighty-five hour language course and experiencing the unique culture of Bavaria. Southern Germany offered a unique contrast to the midshipmen’s time in Flensburg and Hamburg, as the southern province provided a traditional perspective of the German culture. 

During their time in Munich, they were able to gain familiarity with the German’s southern dialect and learned the differences between the daily lives of a German and an American. They witnessed the differing perspectives on public transportation, cuisine, dining, and the Germans’ love for regulations and order. 

The midshipmen lived in apartments twenty minutes away from the city center and the Goethe Institute. With just a five-minute walk to the nearest subway station, travel in and out of the city was easily accessible. 

“What I enjoyed most about our time in Munich was the opportunity for travel,” said Miller. “We were able to visit destinations all around Munich, such as churches, government buildings, the Dachau concentration camp, and the Olympic facilities.”

Their last weekend in Munich was spent observing the opening weekend of Oktoberfest, including the parade, amusement park, and brewery tents.

From Munich, the group traveled up to Hamburg.  The remainder of the semester was spent studying at the Helmut-Schmidt University, a university solely for the German military. 

“Hamburg provided an awesome opportunity to integrate with the Germans and make friends,” said Reed. “We attended courses taught in German, joined athletic teams, and participated in military training activities.” 

The midshipmen noted that their speaking and comprehension abilities increased dramatically during their stay in Hamburg. Being able to see how another military chose to train their officers, learn how they approach and solve problems, and participate in daily activities was a unique opportunity for the midshipmen, and they were very grateful for the chance to represent the U.S. Navy while abroad.  

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