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MUDEC Méinden Spring 2020 #16
MUDEC Méinden Spring 2020 #16
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MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Spring 2020 #16-Commencement Edition

 May 11, 2020

The End, the Beginning or Both?

The end of the semester is always a bittersweet time at MUDEC. "Final" exams indicate that the semester, and the students' Luxembourg experience is coming to an end. Back in Oxford, Commencement is held after Finals week as a ceremony for those students who have finished their degrees and whose time as Miami students is coming to an end. Linguistically, though, commencement actually means the beginning of something new.
Last week we mentioned that Luxembourg was the first country to declare May 9, Europe Day, as a public holiday. Also a commencement, and honoring another commencement back in the early 1950s.
In many places, including Luxembourg and Ohio, this week marks an end to retail store closings, taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while in Luxembourg high schools are reopening today. This marks the beginning, or commencement, of a return to a new "normal." 
This past weekend was another combination of ends and beginnings historically. Last Friday, May 8, was the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and yesterday, May 10, was the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg.
If only four short months ago the idea of a majority of the world shutting down for two months due to a pandemic was unimaginable, for most of us, imagining the life and hardships under a 4 1/2 year occupation and a world war are unimaginable.
Luckily, MUDEC is in a position to bring to you a first-hand account of that period, thanks to MUDEC Professor Emeritus Guy de Muyser. You will find his fascinating personal account of the end of World War II below.
  • 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II-A Personal Story by Guy de Muyser
  • Luxembourg Digital Innovation (LDI) Internship Profile- Kati Buchheit
    • MUDEC Internship Profile-Dan Falokun
    • Service Learning Experience-The Horse Farm
    • Welcome Back, MUDEC Junior Editor: Madeline Marshall
    • Odds and Ends

    75th Anniversary of the end of World War II

    Guy de Muyser

    Guy de Muyser

    Guy de Muyser's long list of accomplishments could fill an entire newsletter. After working in Luxembourg's Foreign Ministry for many years, he became the Marshal of the Grand Ducal court for 10 years, starting in 1971. Afterwards, he worked in the diplomatic corps, serving as Luxembourg's Ambassador to the Soviet Union and later to NATO.
    He has always been extremely active in the Luxembourg community as well, and currently serves as President of Mathëllef a.s.b.l., the parent organizations of the Mutferter Haff therapeutic horse farm, which you will read more about below, and President of the Fondation du Mémorial de la Déportation, which works to preserve the history and memories of Luxembourgers who were deported or who were forced conscripts into the German army during World War II, of which he himself was one.
    He has had a long association with MUDEC, including having been a Political Science Professor until 2019. He also hosts two MUDEC students each semester. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, we are honored and privileged to share with you his personal story from that historic time.

    Victory Day 1945-My Personal Story
    I spent May 8, 1945 as an American prisoner of war in a camp on the banks of the Rhine. Not, as one may think, as an assistant of the American army, but as a U.S. POW, together with almost a hundred other young Luxembourgers. It was a huge camp, where about 120,000 German prisoners were held under the blue (or sometimes rainy) sky, in six football field-sized sections, fenced in by heavily guarded barbed wire. Like all the others, I had been sitting, standing or lying on the bare ground for long days.
    Having been overwhelmed by the unexpected surrender of whole army corps within weeks, American forces hadn't had the time, nor the necessary equipment, to prepare even the simplest kind of shelters. They also had great problems in providing minimum food rations: during my first week in this camp, every day around 6 p.m., 20,000 inmates from my section lined up in several rows at the entry of our area to be fed by hand: a spoonful of corned beef, a spoonful of something like soup or porridge, a spoonful of sugar… Water was plentiful, we could serve ourselves at a number of faucets. During the night, groups of inmates lied together like spoons in a drawer, covering themselves with their coats. I had almost nothing, just my jacket, but solidarity helped: I could share the coats of my two neighbors (how I became an American prisoner of war is detailed below).
    On the morning of May 8, the overall silence in the camp was suddenly broken by the broadcast of "Stars and Stripes Forever," followed by the announcement that the war was over. A long silence followed
    A silence of 120,000 men, during which the few excited Luxembourgers were congratulating and embracing each other. Did we sing our national anthem? Say our prayers? I honestly do not remember, but I recall that we were not astonished by the overall silence: after all they were Germans, whether Nazis or not, and for all of them, it must have been the most painful announcement of the tragic conclusion to many years of illusions, privations and suffering, as well as of the collapse of their patriotic pride and the useless physical ruin of their country
    I realized, of course, the extraordinary import of this announcement, but at the same time, it felt for me like a replay of my earlier encounter with the American peloton in the woods: it just confirmed my happy conviction that I was from now on - POW camp or not! - a free man in a world of security and peace.
    But how did it come to this?
    I was one of more than a thousand Luxembourgers who were forced into Nazi military service when the Nazis unilaterally declared in 1942 that Luxembourgers were German nationals and thus had to do military service in the German army. I was born in June 1926, so this meant that when I turned 18 in the summer of 1944, I was sent with other Luxembourgers in my age group for three months to a pre-military training camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. We were scheduled to return home in October for a two-week break before being forcefully enrolled in the German army.
    The majority of us decided never to join the hated German army in their fight against the U.S. and allied forces (which had already landed in Normandy). Despite the menace of being severely sanctioned, our parents had contacted local resistance groups in Luxembourg, Belgium or France who might help us hide in our country or abroad.
    Alas (for us), U.S. forces liberated our country in September, making it impossible for us to return home. In December, we were transferred from Poland to military barracks somewhere south of Berlin, where we became German soldiers and were trained for war. Since our return to Germany, I had thought of deserting. The opportunity came when in early March 1945, my group was taken to the Eastern Front to join Nazi troops in fighting the advancing Soviet armies.
    I was of course aware of the fact that desertion would result in a death sentence, or at the very least a long concentration camp imprisonment, but had made my choice and was now a criminal hiding in the woods of Saxony, pretending to be a French worker trying to get home. Wearing a civilian jacket, which I had hidden since arriving in Poland, the odds were certainly not in my favor, but I was lucky and was not arrested when I went begging for food or shelter.
    The greatest day in my life came when one morning I unexpectedly saw a U.S. company marching across a forest where I had been hiding. I rushed towards the group, shouting that I was from Luxembourg and a victim of the Nazis and was welcomed with the words: "We come from Luxembourg, where we just spent two months after the Battle of the Bulge." It is difficult to describe your feelings at such a moment - a mixture of relief and happiness, a feeling of liberty, of gratitude, also of security .... probably similar to being saved at the last minute from drowning in the deep sea.
    Following their advice, I rushed to report to a nearby U.S. army office. Despite it being impossible to prove my Luxembourg citizenship, as I had burned my documents before deserting, I had the miraculous luck of being identified by the general's interpreter, who was known to the OSS (Office of Strategic Services-the predecessor of the CIA) because she had been jailed in Germany for anti-Nazi propaganda. She vouched for me because she had known my family before the war.
    With her recommendation, I was immediately put to work as an assistant interpreter. For me, a marvelous way to finish the war! I was the happiest man on earth.... until two days later, I mentioned in my request for an employee’s contract that I had been force conscripted into the German army. Disaster! According to army regulations, anybody with an enemy military background became a prisoner of war (POW) until he was cleared. There was a prison camp nearby, to which I was taken without further delay, much (they said) to the regret of my new American friends. I had of course tried to contact the interpreter who had identified me, but she had already been transferred to another unit.
    Thus started my imprisonment, another tough but also fascinating experience which was to last for three months, and which is the reason that I was in an American prison camp when World War II ended.

    Luxembourg Digital Innovation Profile:

    Meet Kati Buchheit

    Kati Buchheit

    MUDEC junior Kati Buchheit (shown right) majors in Interactive Media Studies and Entrepreneurship and minors in Graphic Design. Buchheit is from Wickliffe, Ohio.
    1. Tell us a little bit about your internship in Luxembourg: where you interned, and what you did when you were there. Have you been able to continue your internship since you left Luxembourg?
    I worked as a Marketing Specialist for a Fintech company called Refinitiv in Luxembourg City. In this position, I launched email marketing campaigns, created social assets, and coordinated promotion and on-site logistics for proprietary events.
    Luckily, I was able to continue my internship remotely in the U.S. The 6-hour time difference is a challenge but I’ve enjoyed taking ownership of more digital initiatives in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
    2. There are two other destinations with the Digital Innovation program: Cincinnati, Ohio and Silicon Valley in California. Why did you want to join the new Digital Innovation program in Luxembourg (LDI)?  
    To be honest, I was skeptical about being a guinea pig for this program. However, I knew I wanted to find time to study abroad and do the DI program during my four years. This was the perfect solution.
    3. How did you come to the decision of doing an internship over simply just studying abroad?
    I was able to check multiple countries off of my bucket list and enhance my resume with global work experience at the same time.
    4. What have you gotten out of your experience? What has been your favorite part?
    Refinitiv is a global company. Because of this, I’ve been given the opportunity to connect and collaborate with colleagues from all around the world. My favorite part of this experience was the weekends when I was able to escape Luxembourg and explore the places I never thought I'd get the opportunity to
    5. What did you learn in your internship?
    Language is not a barrier unless you make it one; engaging and understanding is a mutual effort. My experience has also reinforced my belief that if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you
    6. What is a fun fact that most people don't know about you? 
    I’ve met two of my favorite stand-up comedians: John Mulaney and Chris D’Elia.

    MUDEC Internship Profile:

    Meet Dan Falokun

    Dan Falokun
    MUDEC junior Dan Falokun majors in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship. Falokun is from Shaker Heights, Ohio.

    1. Tell us a little bit about your internship in Lux: where you interned, and what you did when you were there. Has your internship  changed in any way since returning to the United States?
    I am interning for the British & Irish Film Festival Luxembourg. Geoff Thompson, the festival director, wanted to rebuild the festival website. Every week I would meet with Geoff in Luxembourg City and go over the previous work that I had done on the new website and what I was going to do for the following week. My internship was always mostly remote so the transition to the U.S. was pretty smooth. Working out what time we would meet weekly was the only issue
    2. Why did you want to intern with this company?
    I wanted to intern for this company because it allowed me to work on technological skills that are pertinent to my major and my career. It also gave me real world experience in project management and working on a timeline. It was also convenient that I could build the new website using my computer, allowing me to work remotely. 
    3. Why did you want to intern while abroad?
    I wanted to intern while I was abroad because I had the free time to. Typically at school I am very busy with work, extracurricular organizations, and school work. While in Luxembourg I found that I had free time with the reduction in classes so I actively looked for an internship I could apply for that would fit my interests.
    4. What are you most excited about in your internship?
    I am most excited to see the finished product I am building. Being able to see the differences between the old festival website and the new festival website that I am building will be exciting and rewarding
    5. Why did you choose to study abroad with MUDEC and what are you looking forward to now that you are back in the U.S.?
    I chose the study abroad with MUDEC because it allowed me to still take Miami classes but also allowed us the ability to still use university resources. The Château was also an immaculate addition that made it very exciting to walk into school every day. I am looking forward to having as close to a normal summer as possible. I also want to use this time in quarantine for some personal development by working on coding projects and reading books.
    6. What is a fun fact that most people don't know about you?
    A fun fact is that I was abroad in Italy for J-term. So I was in Europe for about 10 weeks before I was sent home. When I was sent home, that was the first time I had been in the United States in 2020.

    Service Learning Experiences:

    The Horse Farm

    A key part of the Beyond the Château experience available to MUDEC students is Service Learning, which is a specific type of volunteering based on the idea that engagement in the community must be tied to a formal, in-class learning experience. This week, we talked to four students: Santiago Puente, Hailey Kingsbury, Ellie Abrams and Lauren Kramer who all volunteered at Mutferter-Haff, a therapeutic horse farm in Moutfort, about an hour bus ride from the Château.

    1. Why did you choose to volunteer at the horse farm?
    Santiago: "A decent portion of my childhood was spent at a horse farm, so I really wanted to learn how a business works differently in Luxembourg in comparison to North America, especially when the horse farm in Luxembourg provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities."
    Hailey: "I knew I wanted to volunteer for my LUX335 credit instead of just getting points for attending events, because I thought it was a great way to give back to and become involved in the community. My older sister studied abroad at MUDEC and volunteered at the horse farm, and I always heard her talk about what a great experience it was. I already was doing the independent study of teaching in the international schools and I had an entirely free Wednesday morning, so it all just worked together with me volunteering at the horse farm!
    Ellie: "I chose to volunteer at the horse farm because I wanted to see if it related to Psychology at all, and to gain experience for my major."
    Lauren: "There were a few reasons that I chose to volunteer at the horse farm. At this horse farm, the people who are employed there have been struggling with mental illness and are working to be reintegrated into society. As a psychology major, I want to work with this demographic in my future so I was glad to gain some experience in this way. Also, in Oxford I do research with children so I chose not to volunteer at the daycares or schools so that I could widen my horizons by working with a different demographic. Another reason I chose to volunteer at the farm is that I really like nature and animals, and the farm had both of these things."
    2. Was there a goal for volunteering at Mutferter Haff? Did you learn anything new?
    Hailey: "Our role was to help out with barn chores, so we did everything from mucking out stalls to brushing ponies to exercising the donkeys. I learned how to put on a bridle and how to clean out a horse's hooves, but I don't think I'll be trying that by myself anytime soon!"
    Lauren: "I am in the SOC337 class, and we had to partake in doing community engagement. I have always enjoyed volunteering at places in the States, so I was curious to see how this would differ in Luxembourg. I was also excited to engage with the locals to further learn about their culture and community. I also was interested in learning about horses and how to take care of them, as they always seemed like they would be a daunting animal to care for. 
    I did learn more about the Luxembourgish culture and about horses. I learned that smoke breaks seem to be a necessity, and a way for co-workers to bond. It was also interesting to hear what the locals thought about the United States, Coronavirus, and how our governments differed. In terms of the horses, it was fun to see each week how they all had such unique personalities. I learned how to muck stalls, exercise and groom the horses, and I was able to see the farriers care for the horses hooves." 
    3. What was your favorite part about volunteering with the horse farm and why?
    Santiago: "My favorite part about the horse farm was the horses, they’re fun to work with and play with, but of course they require a lot of care and work." 
    Ellie: "I think my favorite part of the horse farm was the horses, of course. They had so many and I find them so fascinating. I would also say that I loved the people who we worked with there. They were always in such high spirits, even when scooping poop!! There wasn't a single person that was not nice or anything, so being able to talk with them and build relationships, even though we went for such a short time, was a great experience!"
    Hailey: "My favorite part of volunteering at the horse farm was when we got to groom the horses or donkeys. The first time we volunteered there, we groomed the ponies- Bonnie, Clyde, and Judy- and then got to run them outside in the arena. The last day there, Lauren and I led the donkeys out to the arena and we got to watch them roll around and chase one another. It was really rewarding to get to play with the horses after doing chores, and it let us talk more with the workers there and really form connections."
    Lauren: "My favorite part about volunteering at the horse farm was getting to know both the staff and the horses. The staff always had interesting stories to tell and liked to discuss the differences in our cultures. Also, they provided us with a tasty lunch every time which was a nice bonus! I enjoyed getting to see how the horses interacted with one another. For example, one of the horses was “in love” with one of the donkeys next to her, and would stomp around and become riled up whenever the donkey was taken out and she wasn’t. Overall, I really enjoyed volunteering at the horse farm and wish I could have done it longer!"
    Even though students were only able to volunteer for a few weeks due to the pandemic, this service learning experience still made an impact on these MUDEC students. Join these four MUDEC students in their horse farm adventure! 
    Picture of students at the horse farm
    Ellie Abrams, pictured left, taking a picture of one of the horses.
    Hailey Kingsbury with a horse
    Hailey Kingsbury taking a selfie with one of the horses.
    Hailey Kingsbury and Lauren Kramer take a picture with a horse
    Hailey Kingsbury and Lauren Kramer take a picture with a horse.
    A horse
    Santiago Puente starting the day with a horse.
    A horse in the stable Donkeys relaxing on the ground

    Welcome Back, MUDEC Junior Editor

    Madeline Marshall

    This week, we are saying 'Moien' to a talented lady who has been a part of the MUDEC family in a very special way. We will be hearing from last spring's Junior Editor of the MUDEC newsletter: Madeline Marshall, MUDEC class, Spring 2019, and soon to be Miami graduate!

    Madeline Marshall
    Madeline Marshall

    Some of you may remember me as the Junior Newsletter Editor from the Spring 2019 semester. I can’t believe a year has passed since I was a student at MUDEC. I feel so terrible for the students whose time got cut short this semester. It’s truly heartbreaking and I know all former MUDEC students' hearts go out to you. As I reflect on my time at Miami, MUDEC is without a doubt the biggest highlight. MUDEC is unique to most study abroad programs. Instead of living in a study abroad hotspot in a big European city surrounded by other American students, we get a more authentic experience in a real European town. I know I made friends for life hanging out in the Château and trekking across Europe every weekend. This experience inspired me to pursue post-grad opportunities, and I’m excited that my next adventure will be moving to South Korea for a year, Covid permitting. For the MUDECers of Spring 2020, I sincerely hope you will have the opportunity to return to the beautiful country. Luxembourg is a gem and I am excited to see MUDEC continue to flourish for years to come.

    Love & Honor,
    Madeline Marshall
    Note from the Editor: read more about Miami's Fulbright grant award winners Here: Miami receives 10 Fulbright grant offers: a new record
    Travel Section Banner
    The Chateau
    With no travel going on at the moment, we hope you enjoy this picture of the Château in full spring bloom, taken last week, with the Miami flag still flying out front.
    Odds and Ends
    Birthdays This Week 
    Have a Corona-tastic birthday! Wishing you two a healthy year ahead!
    Maddie Milano (Wednesday May 13)
    Lauren Hays (Thursday May 14)
    Maddie Milano
    Maddie Milano
    Lauren Hays
    Lauren Hays
    This Week's Schedule

    Monday-Thursday: FInals

    Friday: Chillaxation
    Saturday-Sunday: Online Commencement

    Château & Administrative Hours
    Aerial view of the Château de Differdange, where Miami's Luxembourg campus, the John E. Dolibois European Center, often abbreviated to MUDEC, is located

    Administrative Hours

    Monday-Friday: 8:00-12:00

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