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MUDEC Méinden Fall 2019 #6
MUDEC Méinden Fall 2019 #6
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Fall 2019 #6 | September 30, 2019

A Note from the Dean- Luxembourg College Night
Dean Theirry Leterre
Dean Thierry Leterre
On Friday this week, the US Embassy in Luxembourg is organizing with the support of the International School the “Luxembourg College Night”. It is an event dedicated to higher education opportunities in the US.

It is a welcome initiative when you consider the intricacies of recruiting students in Europe. College fairs are usually called here “Students Fairs”. The name says it all: such fairs are student-centered events. In a continent where fees often amount to a few hundred Euros a year, universities recruit mostly on the basis of their programs. It is all the more necessary for European universities since they offer programs which are mostly single-option: at 18, students decide what they will study for three (Bachelor’s degree) to five (Master’s degree) years without real possibilities to change their mind. If they do want to change, they usually lose entire years of studies.
Eventually, European College fairs somewhat serve as gigantic advising meetings. They help future students decide about what type of studies they are interested in, and what type of higher education institution they prefer, rather than attract them to a specific universities or schools.

On the contrary, the core of the attractivity of US higher education is the capacity to adapt to students, based on their character, intentions, academic and non-academic strength. Each school has its specificity in answering the multi-faceted challenges of student success. Cost of studies is a major consideration, based on initial fees and scholarships—a system that most Europeans do not understand. As regards to studies, American schools are usually far more flexible, hence a difficulty for Europeans to understand… how it works.

To put it in business terms: we are selling a product that our potential customers do not understand, at a far higher price, for a service that is simply beyond their imagination. This is why the College night is first and foremost about… educating attendants, parents and future students, as well as “school counsellors”, about US higher education. A round table with US specialists provide a first explanation and introduces to the specificities and undeniable strength of US education. Then the visit of the College’s booths help make sense of these general guidelines thanks to the diversity of offerings and Colleges present at the fair.
Miami University, the oldest American university in Luxembourg, has naturally participated in the College fair since its inception a few years ago. It is a festive and friendly gathering, with a distinctive flavor, and where, for one night, a little corner of Luxembourg is turned into America.
Waht's Up this week


  • Faculty Profile- Gerardo Brown-Manrique
  • Architecture Class Trip to Amsterdam Recap
  • Economics Class Trip Recap 
  • SFC Spotlight- Jack White 
  • Euchre Tournament Recap
  • MUDEC Changed My Life- Bob Eckhart
  • Mir Wëlle Bleiwe Wou Mir Sin (We Want to Remain Where We Are)- Michelle Ensch 
  • Travel Photos  

Faculty Profile- Gerardo Brown-Manrique

Professor Brown-Manrique is the leader and teacher of architecture classes here at MUDEC! Read on to learn a little more about him: 
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Did you study abroad and if so where?
I was born in México, DF, where I spent my early life, though I have also lived in Cuba [from age 3 to 6], East Lansing, Michigan [second grade], and Upstate New York [from 9th grade on], so I guess up to that time I had studied abroad [choose which country from any of the three] at some time. I attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY for my undergraduate [B.S. in Building Sciences] and professional [B.Arch.] degrees over five years, then Cornell University for my post-professional M.Arch. As an undergraduate, I did not consider studying abroad as I was also a varsity athlete and did not want to miss a year. It was only after the second year of graduate school that I came to Europe.

2. How did you end up working for Miami?

I taught at the University of Oklahoma for four years after graduate school and some time in Houston, TX, before coming to Miami, where I have been an awful long time, long enough to have had the children of former students who now have young kids themselves. I think I will retire before they attend Miami.

3. I know that you are teaching a sprint course. Where are you going on field trips with your class?

We went to Cologne for our long field trip. We might have another one, all the way to the Kirchberg Plateau, before the course ends, as there are a number of very significant buildings from the 1990s to last year. 

4. I know that you are also the SFC faculty co-chair! Can you speak to that and what you are doing this semester? 

As co-chair I am only there to assist. Dean Leterre and Andy Adams are also part of the committee, and they are more capable of addressing technicalities than I am. As for what we are doing this semester, the main task has been to organize weekly activities, respond to your cohorts’ questions, and mainly plan for your class’ legacy in the context of 51 years of prior Miami students studying here. 

5. What has been your favorite memory of MUDEC so far?

I cannot answer that. I first came to teach at the [then] MUEC in 1982-84 [the children of some of those students are among those that I referred to before], and have been here on other occasions [I was here as a visiting scholar in Fall 1986 the year Andy Adams was a student and also in 1997-98, and taught in the first summer thematic sequence program in 2007]. However, if the question is strictly about this semester, then perhaps both occasions when the “Why Luxembourg?” question has been answered: running into the US Ambassador at the American Cemetery, and again at the ceremonies in Pétange a couple of Mondays ago, when we were standing literally feet away from the Grand Duke. Only in Luxembourg!

6. What do you like to do in your free time?

What is “free time”?

7. What is a fun fact about you that most people, and especially MUDEC Méinden readers, don’t know?
Current readers will not know this. Readers who are old-timers will know: I had a “personal experience” with a couch that was once in the Cave at the MUEC in rue Goethe [I slept on it in 1980], at avenue Monterey, and then here at the Château, until they bought new furniture for you guys!

    Architecture Trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands
This past weekend, architecture students took a weekend trip to Amsterdam. With their drawing class, they explored the hidden wonders and architecural styles of this northern gem of a city.  
class photo in museum in amsterdam Inside of geometric museum cafe inside of amsterdam museum
class standing with teacher outside of Amsterdam museum inside of geometric shapes museum outside of museum
Economics Class at Central Bank Conference in Luxembourg
Two weeks ago, a few students from economics classes here at MUDEC got the opportunity to attend the BCl-TSE Conference "The Future of the International Monetary System" at the Luxembourg Central Bank. It really gave students a glimpse into the international business world, and below are some pictures from the event. 
Students in Economics class sitting in audience Presentation of The Future of the International Monetary System at the BCL-TSE Conference in Luxembourg

Student Faculty Council Spotlight- Jack White

Now that the SFC is in place, each member is excited to get started. Over the next few weeks each member of the council will be presenting their role and what they wish to accomplish with their time on SFC.
My name is Jack White and I am the Legacy Communications chair for this semester. This role consists of informing students of events that are being held as well as any other advertising responsibilities. I hope that this semester I can promote the events in a way that appeals to our entire program. Travel has always been a big part of my life and being on the student faculty council for a travel driven program is something I am very excited about.

This role is not only important to me, but suited well for my interests as I am a marketing major. I spent this past summer interning for the Sherwin-Willimas Marketing team where I was able to focus on my advertising skills. I look forward to transferring these skills to my new SFC position!
SFC Events: Euchre Tournament
This past Tuesday, September 25th, the MUDEC students took over the local cafe “Das Boot” and held a 24-team Euchre Tournament. The night started at 7pm with a 6-table-bracket full of teams and as teams were beaten, the group continued to play various other games throughout the night. Although the teams competing were both cohesive and talented, Alec Hoelker and Callihan Clayton were victorious! Bestowed with gift cards to Auchan Opkorn and major bragging rights, these two, and the rest of the group, found this night a success!
Alec Hoelker and Calihan Clayton posing after they won the Euchre Tournament
Winners of the Euchre Tournament: Alec Hoelker and Calihan Clayton
MUDEC Changed My Life- Bob Eckhart

In this first rendition of our new reocurring column, MUDEC Changed My Life, we profile past students who attribute at least a part of their success and happiness to their experience here at MUDEC. Today, meet Bob Eckhart, Fulbright scholar and traveler extraordinare. In Bob's case, even only a summer program at MUDEC changed his life.
Bob Eckhart aboard a bike
1. I know that you were a MUDEC student once. How did you end up deciding to go into the program?
That's a funny story. My father, who had never been outside the United States, started encouraging me to apply at the beginning of my sophomore year. The daughter of a family friend, who had gone to Miami and was a few years ahead of me, had gone to Lux for her junior year and somehow he got it into his head that I should do it. It hadn't occurred to me to study abroad and I didn't even know much about it. This was 1989 and globalization and becoming a global citizen wasn't on the tip of everyone's tongue back then. But still, I applied to go for my junior year and was planning to do that, but then at the start of my spring semester sophomore year I heard about a Farmer School of Business summer program [I was a business major] and decided to switch and do that one instead. 

2. What are your favorite memories from your MUDEC years?

This summer program I participated in had an amazing schedule. Andy Adams will remember it well because he was the staff support "in charge" of us then, haha. we had classes Monday, Wednesday, and until noon on Thursday. So basically we would bring our backpacks to class Thursday, pass notes about where we wanted to go, and then head straight from class to the train station. The next thing we knew, we'd be in Paris, Munich, Copenhagen, Venice, Vienna, even Budapest. We would rally around for a few days, hop the overnight train Sunday, and go straight from the train station to class Monday morning. It was just a wonderfully designed six-week program and Luxembourg was so centrally located that it made it easy to pack for a long weekend, come back and sleep at our homestay for a few nights, and then get right back at it. Interestingly, I still remember that our two-month unlimited Eurail only cost $370. Unbelievable.

 3. Tell us a little bit about how MUDEC led you to what you do now with Fulbright. Can you explain in more detail what you do?

What I got most out of MUDEC was simply inspiration. It inspired me to travel, take chances, and have adventures. The things my best friend and I accomplished every weekend during our summer in Lux are barely things I could comprehend now. One long weekend, I'm not kidding, we did this: Lux-Munich-Vienna-Budapest-Vienna-Lux. It was just a whirlwind. Obviously, we didn't have quality time in any of these places but we were just collecting as many experiences as possible and I think to a certain extent I'm still doing that now. The Fulbright thing came because I had spent 10+ years going back and forth to Asia--mainly China, but also Korea and Indonesia--and I wanted to get back to Europe, preferably post-Soviet Eastern Europe. So, I applied to be a Fulbright Scholar in Estonia and was selected for that personally but my project at Tartu University in Narva--on the border of Russia--wasn't funded, so the Fulbright Commission offered me Minsk instead. To be honest, Minsk is sort of in the middle of Latvia-Lithuania-Estonia-Poland-Ukraine-Russia and I thought if nothing else, I would use it as a home base, sorta like Lux, and travel every weekend exploring all these other places. But a funny thing happened once I got to Minsk: I absolutely fell in love with the city. It had a decidedly European *and* Soviet (not post-Soviet, haha) feel to it. The most surprising part was falling in love with the Bolshoi Belarus ballet and theatre productions. I lived right behind the theatre and the tickets were only a few rubles, so I would go a few nights/week even if I had work to do. I loved being surrounded by the beauty of the theatre itself and every production I saw. My work there was training English teachers and studying language and learning to communicate are two vastly different endeavors and I felt like I found my people in Belarus. I was only there for one semester and I immediately tried to figure out ways to return. The embassy in Minsk brought me back for a conference the following fall and I was there this spring as a Fulbright Specialist. I've just recently applied to return during the 2020-2021 & 2021-2022 school years on a Fulbright FLEX grant so I've got my fingers crossed I can continue to work with teachers and language learners there.

 4. I know that this job allows you to travel a lot. What is that like?

There's obviously a lot of excitement and even a little bit of glamour associated with international travel. I've been to China almost 40 times now and go several times/year to teach for 2 or 3 weeks at a time and I'm basically commuting there each summer and fall, so that is fun and exciting and interesting. There are always new places to go, new foods to eat, new people to meet, etc.  But the amount of traveling I do is actually a little bit excessive and when I have an entire month straight in my own house, I certainly appreciate it even more. I love the traveling, but I love nothing more than coming home and being home so in this regard I'm lucky. Columbus, Ohio is nothing if not an excellent home base to return to and I love just how easy it is to live in Columbus. I guess I'm reminded that I made a decision back in 2006--when most of my friends and classmates were raising small children--to travel as much as I could, to bring my stories from all over the world back to them and their famillies, and try to inspire them to travel to the extent that their family responsibilities and financial realities allowed them.

5. Can you attribute anything you've learned along this journey to MUDEC and its impact?
For sure, MUDEC was my inspiration. It taught me the joys of exploration. I firmly subscribe to the message of this Mark Twain quote, and think the world would be a better place if we all had the desire--and opportunity--to travel more: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

 6. What would your advice be for prospective students thinking about joining the MUDEC family? 

There's this entire world out there and you need to start seeing it as soon as possible. I've never met anyone who went to Lux and regretted it. Nobody comes back and says, well, I really missed a lot of fraternity parties or hockey games or nights at Skippers or I really missed eating Bagel & Deli. You know what? Those places were there in 1989 and are still there 30 years later and will always be there but what might not be there is the chance to have this incredibly formative experience with such outstanding and thoughtful support from the leadership at MUDEC. They aren't like helicopter parents or snowplow parents but they are definitely providing exactly the correct amount of support, guidance, and wisdom so that you will have the experience of a lifetime. I would say in conclusion that if those prospective students are lucky, they will have an experience like I did, which inspired me to ultimately live a life where I'm participating as fully as possible in the global world. For your generation, this is even more important and necessary so get started as early as possible and have the time of your life in Lux and put yourself on the path, like I did, to become a global citizen.

Mir Wëlle Bleiwe Wou Mir Sin (We Want to Remain Where We Are)- Michelle Ensch
Welcome back to our reocurring column about Luxembourgers who went to study in Oxford and decided to stay in the USA after they finished. Read on below to discover why Michelle Ensch wanted to "remain where she was".  
Michelle Ensch and husband with a snowy luxembourg in the background

1. Tell us a bit about yourself from your pre-Miami days growing up in Luxembourg.

I grew up in Strassen which is very close to the city, but then again, everything in Luxembourg kind of is. My childhood was very normal—one experience that comes to mind (mainly when comparing it to life in the U.S.) is that at the age of 10 or 11, I purchased a bottle of wine on my walk home from school for my mother’s birthday. We had just learned about Luxembourgish wines in geography class, so I felt really proud in using my newly-acquired knowledge to purchase a fine bottle of vino. I bought it at the local bakery (Flick) and walked back home carrying it in my right hand. 

My very first trip to the States was a family vacation when I was 5. Every summer since then, we either traveled to Canada or the U.S. The very first words my parents taught me to say in English were “I don’t speak English.” This helped avoid many awkward situations (think of Kevin McAllister being chatted up by the French dude on the plane to New York). Me being able to say “I don’t speak English” was the polite equivalent to Kevin putting his headphones in and ignoring the man. As the years went on, I’ve learned additional sentences and even though I wouldn’t have full conversations in English yet, the mere exposure to sounds and conversations at such an early age definitely helped me down the road. To kill time in the hotel, my brother and I always watched the Simpsons which also helped me significantly in learning English. Growing up as a kid in Luxembourg, I mainly watched German TV stations and the Simpsons have always been (still are) extremely popular and the show was on every day. I always tell my friends that one of the easiest ways to learn a new language is to pick a show/movie you’re really familiar with in your native tongue, and then watch it in a different language.

2. How did you end up studying at Miami? What are some of your favorite memories about studying in Oxford?

My high school (Kolléisch) had a good connection to Miami University and their Junior Scholars Program (JSP) which allowed high school students to stay and take classes at Miami over the summer. I decided to participate in JSP and immediately fell in love with Oxford—the campus was just so beautiful and honestly might have been one of the prettiest college campuses I have ever seen. After JSP, I had two more years of studies left in Luxembourg and naturally decided to apply to Miami.
I have so many great memories and would run out of room if I listed them all. Most importantly and in the most non-cliché, the people (and BT2Go). From my graphic design struggle buddies, my sorority sisters, to my now husband, I am truly lucky to have met the people that have crossed my path. 

3. At what point did you decide to stay in the US and how did that end up happening? Does it feel like you will stay forever?

I’ve always liked the idea of moving back to Luxembourg eventually, especially since my family resides there. But, as life unfolds, both my husband and I currently are in good positions with our jobs, I’m a dual citizen as of 2017, and we recently bought our first home together in Cincinnati. Add my cat of 4 years to the equation and voilá, here we are :)
4. Since you have been living in the US, what are the biggest changes you have noticed there and what are the biggest changes you have noticed when you come back to Luxembourg?
There are a lot of items that encapsulate the changes I have noticed, so I’ll try to compile them as a list of things I miss about each place.
What I miss most about Luxembourg: 
Food; public transportation & the ability to safely walk most places; the rain & overcast days (I love gloomy days); decent healthcare; diversity; the rich history and its remains in architecture today; the people.
What I miss about the U.S.:
Food; strangers being friendly/helpful/chatty (this creeped me out for a hot second until I realized this is normal behavior), everything being easily accessible (from late-night food runs to 1-day delivery); the people.

5. What is something unusual, unexpected or just fun about you that other people may not know?
I always have to have closed captions on whenever I watch a show, movie, etc. It’s something that I started as a teenager. Seeing the English subtitles along with hearing the actual words really helped me comprehend the language at a much quicker pace. (I know every single line of Mean Girls. Thank you Tina Fey for enriching my English vocabulary.) Even though I’m fluent now, I still feel lost whenever I go the actual movies and don’t have closed captions at the bottom of the screen. 

6. Can you still speak Luxembourgish????

Natiirlech! My husband is actually taking Lux classes to pass the Sproochentest and become a dual citizen as well.


Weekend Travel Photos 

Octoberfest- Munich, Germany 

Two girls in Dirndls at Octoberfest view of Hofbrauhaus tent at Octoberfest
view of whole Octoberfest from top of Ferris Wheel Ethan Rude at Octoberfest

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Two girls posing in front of Canal in Amsterdam Four girls posing in front of canal in Amsterdam

Paris, France and Brugge, Belgium 

view of the Eiffel Tower View of Paris Street Brugge, Belgium main building

Feeding Monkeys in Alsace, France

Mallory Sanchez feeding a monkey Four students with view of Luxembourg in background

Copenhagen, Denmark 

Copenhagen canal
Zurich, Switzerland
Two girls on trail with Zurich Switzerland Four girls posing in Zurich Switzerland
Odds and Ends

Birthdays This Week 

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to:
Matt Crawford posing in front of bridge
Matt Crawford- Sept 30th
Annika Bein posing in front of waterfall in Prague
Annika Bein- Oct 2nd
Meg Ussery posing in front of Eiffel Tower
Megan Ussery- Oct 4th
We wish you the best birthday yet! Cheers to another wonderful year! 
This Week's Schedule

Monday: Classes

Tuesday: Classes

SFC Movie Night

Wednesday: Classes

Art Field Trip to Villa Vauban and Film Studies Field Trip to Dudelange

Thursday: Classes

Friday: No Classes

US College Fair at the International School in Lux City

Staff Absences: Dean Leterre Friday

Château & Administrative Hours

Château Hours

Monday-Thursday: 8:00-22:00 Friday: 8:00-17:00                Saturday- Sunday: Closed

Administrative Hours

Monday-Friday: 8:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00

Quiz-Find Bob Eckhart!

MUDEC Summer 1989 Class Picture
If you've read this far, you know that MUDEC changed Bob Eckhart's life. See if you can find him in this picture. If you do, send us your answer below and you will win a prize!

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