Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune
---- — While Oldenburg folks prepare for their 37th annual Freudenfest, Paul Czerwonka is looking forward to attending his first one.
The Berlin resident, who is completing an internship at Freudenberg – NOK Sealing Technologies, Shelbyville, one of 18 U.S. plants, arrived in Indiana May 1 and will return to Germany Aug. 1.
He has visited Oldenburg, Germany, and says, “It’s a very traditional city, and I love it .... There’s a lot of houses in one row in the traditional German style. I like that kind of German architecture. It’s very cozy and a nice area to live in.”
In addition, the citizens there “speak German without the accent,” the 24-year-old reveals.
Since he was born and raised in Berlin, Czerwonka considers himself an expert on the city that was once divided into two sections, the East and West, by the Berlin Wall. “It’s a pretty international city, and there are a lot of tourists.”
The young man attended the University of Applied Science Wildau there, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. “Right now I’m finishing my master’s degree in engineering. I have to write my master thesis and then I’m done.”
He points out, “Life as a student was very nice, but it can’t compare to the party life. Berlin is world famous for its party scene. You can drink outside, and the parties go all weekend. I know guys from Great Britain who come every second Friday and stay till Sunday. They go out and have fun and go back home on Sunday and work on Monday.”
While in the United States, he has noticed some differences between it and his native country. “There is a lot of patriotism here, and I like that.” At home, “you don’t see German flags. Maybe it has to do with World War II, but no one is saying publicly they’re German.”
Another difference has to do with religion. “You don’t see religion in Germany, especially in Berlin. I know people from other parts of Germany that are like those here. They are religious and go to church.”
The European nation’s food is “very international. There are fast food restaurants, but the big chains, like McDonald’s and Burger King, are not successful. People prefer smaller restaurants with daily specials.”
Soccer is very popular in Germany, but “Americans are enthusiastic about all sports,” he adds.
Also, “there are less cars there than in the U.S., and you don’t see big trucks. We have a very good public transportation system, and the train is very popular. There’s no place in Berlin that you can’t reach by public transportation and, in most cases, it’s much faster than going by car.”
Area residents and visitors can get their own taste of German culture at “the biggest little German festival in Indiana” July 19-20 in the Village of Spires, Oldenburg’s nickname.
Diane Raver can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.