Jacobs University is a 20-minute train ride from downtown Bremen, in northern Germany not too far from Hamburg. Jacobs is a highly selective English-medium university with an international student body, though German is certainly understood here.
Pix of the Jacobs campus…what do you think it once was?
Jacobs boasts an American-style campus, with recreation facilities and a college-based living structure…
…but a glance at its rows of garage-style entrances reveals its past as a German military barracks built in the mid-1930s (and postwar refugee camp); for a history, see http://www.jacobs-university.de/about/facts/history.
The underground bunkers are a bit more of a giveaway.
Here's the inside of the Ocean Lab, maintained by Professor Andrea Koschinsky (right) in the School of Engineering and Science (she also heads up the Resources and Environment track in Earth and Space Sciences), which is a bit more prominent on campus relative to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. There are interesting but as of yet nascent efforts to bridge the two in programs ranging from logistics to (upcoming) environment and development.
Inside the library. The volume collection is modest, but online and borrowing options exist.
The church at Jacobs as I returned my final night. I would imagine it has supported a range of sermons since the mid-1930s.
The first two students I met at Jacobs, as I was doing my early morning run and they were grabbing coffee after an all-nighter.
My student escort showed me his college, Mercator. It's typical of the accommodations our LC students would have at Jacobs, which blend a variety of students and onsite staff.
Here's a photo of a recent Mercator College class.
Colleges provide more intimate settings for students to live and eat.
They also have a full range of recreation, study, cooking, and related facilities.
From what I saw, the labs at Jacobs are quite well equipped. Here are some grad students in a portion of the Ocean Lab. Btw, it's worth noting that undergrads finish their degrees in three years, and typically enroll in six demanding courses per semester, so the bar is very high. Grad students are similarly working hard, but there seems to be great communication between Andrea and her students.
Their biochemistry and related labs stretch along a connected corridor in a newly refurbished building.
One great feature within the Earth and Space Sciences program involves their field trips (um, at least for the earth science portion), for instance this one to Ireland to study geology.
I was fortunate to take a field trip with some students to explore the linked geology and biology of the Wadden Sea, the flat expanse of North Sea between the mainland and the Frisian Islands stretching from the Netherlands to Denmark. What do you do on the Wadden Sea? You do mudflat walking! Ours (see track on Google Earth file) was a 5 mile tidal walk. Here is our guide -- required not only for interpretive assistance but to make sure you don't get stranded in the rising tide or attempt a deep route -- as we started the hike.
She pointed out a number of native and invasive shellfish along the way, the latter introduced via ship bilge and other means, and some quite oppressive.
We even got to experience a bit of quicksand!
Neuwerk Island (population 36, a Frisian island once marginally agricultural, now tourist-based) is in the distance. We didn't make it…
…but some young students did, having walked all the way out to the island in the AM. Some of them are pictured here on their return. In the background is one of a small number of rescue stations one can hopefully climb to escape the rising tide in an emergency.
Here is how most tourists experience the islands of the Wadden Sea. Note their garb: it was cold and windy!
The paths are noted by these brush markers, so you don't go over your head.
It turns out that one invasive is the Pacific oyster, and its only natural enemy is humans, so the guide invited us to do our biodiversity duty and eat a few on the spot—accompanied of course with lemon, pepper, and champagne.
Here goes one…
…and I did my part with another.
In the evening before I left Jacobs I was treated to a tour of Bremen, which is a great little German town (yes, plenty of pubs). All in all, Jacobs and Bremen would be a very good location for LC exchange students.