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MUDEC Méinden Fall 2019 #2
MUDEC Méinden Fall 2019 #2
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Fall 2019 #2 | September 2, 2019

History and Traditions

As the Fall 2019 students are already discovering, Luxembourg is full of history and traditions. This semester is a particularly special one, as you will be reading about in the MUDEC Méinden throughout the semester.

Three of Luxembourg’s favorite traditions are happening right now. A favorite initial memory of so many MUDECers is the Schueberfouer, still going strong this week and into next. Yes, it is more or less a version of a big county or small state fair, but it’s the 679th annual one! Hard to fathom when coming from the US.

The second tradition is one that many people recognize but maybe without knowing where it comes from. Wandering through the streets of Luxembourg City over the weekend was a band playing the famous Hämmelsmarsch. This is played by bands during the year whenever there is a village fair (Kiermes).

Last but not least, while today is Labor Day in the US, it is the 90th annual Braderie in Luxembourg City. This the day when all the stores in Luxembourg City set up stands out on the streets for their end of summer sales.

Moving from traditions to history, 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the “first” American liberation of Luxembourg following World War I and next week marks the 75th anniversary of the “second” American liberation of Luxembourg following World War II. One set of incredible opportunities, including an event with the Grand Duc next Monday, will take place one train-stop over from Differdange in Petange, the first town freed by US troops on September 9, 1944. Check out the week-long 75th Anniversary of the Liberation events, which start this Friday.

A much darker historical anniversary took place last Friday. On August 30, 1942 the Nazis began the forced recruitment of Luxembourgers into the Wehrmacht, adding a new level of horror to the occupation. To add insult to injury, when these soldiers began to be captured during combat by the Allies, they were at least initially treated as prisoners of war. At the end of the war, it took until September 1945 for the last Luxembourg “Zwangsrekrutéierten” (forced conscripts) to arrive home from the Soviet prison camp of Tambow. Editor’s Note: my host father when I was a student was one of the forced conscripts and was forced to fight on the Eastern front before being sent to the Western front, where he was captured by the Allies. Luckily, he was quickly released.

To understand Luxembourg and Luxembourgers it is important to understand these history and traditions, and this semester will provide many opportunities for students to do just that. 

Schueberfouer from Ferris wheel Schueberfouer ride
Waht's Up this week


  • Meet Mila Ganeva


  • Junior Editor Hannah Straub
  • SFC Spotlight- Madison Rose 
  • We Are Families-Guy Graul
  • It's a Small World After All-Mackenzie Kicher


  • Discovery Tour in Trier (+ Grand Ducal Palace!)


Meet Mila Geneva 

If you're studying at MUDEC, or have studied there in recent semesters, you probably know Professor Mila Geneva. Originally from Bulgaria, she is the professor of the FST 250 class and is teaching her students all about German film. We caught up with Mila during lunch in the Chateua before a busy weekend of travel and got to know her a little more! 

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 am originally from Bulgaria, and I myself am a product of studying abroad. I spent a year in East Germany, which was the classical junior-year-abroad experience for most students. With my major in German and German Studies I went on to I study also in West Germany. Later on, I did my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. After teaching for a year at the University of Notre Dame, I became a professor at Miami University where I have been for the last eighteen years. 

2. What do you love most about working at Miami?

I like the balance between teaching and research. I find plenty of opportunities to apply what I've researched to the classes I teach. I find satisfaction in connecting with my students and I've directed several honors theses. Seeing students present their research projects at the Undergraduate Research Forum makes me very proud, and I've learned a lot from mentoring them throughout the years. It gives me the wonderful chance to learn new things. 

3. Where are you taking your students to on your sprint course FST 250?

I'm taking the students in the sprint course to Brussels, Belgium, where we are going to visit one of the oldest and biggest film archives in Europe. We will also take a peek at the film museum in Brussels and also visit the Magritte Museum to explore the connection between surrealism and film. 

4. What has been your favorite part of teaching in Luxembourg so far? 

I really love exploring the local community in Differdange. It is a small town but it has a very urban feel to it. It has a public library, parks and plenty of public art all over. Though small, Differdange really offers quite unique cultural experience. 

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

I do love to travel 😀. Like everyone else here, I'm using the MUDEC experience to travel as much as I can in the immediate area and visit cities in the region around us: Metz, Nancy, Strasbourg, Colmar, Trier, and the Mosel Valley. 

6. What is a fun fact about you that most people, and especially MUDEC Méinden readers, don’t know?

Since I am tremendously impressed by the multilingualism in Luxembourg, where they speak German, French, Luxembourgish, English, and many also Portuguese, I decided that it is time for me to start learning a new language. I'm currently fluent in German and English, but I am now learning also French on Duolingo.

Meet the Editor: Hannah Straub

Hi Everyone! My name is Hannah Straub and I am so excited to be the junior editor of the newsletter this year! I am a current junior majoring in Media and Culture and Entrepreneurship and I love to write! I've written for the Miami Student Newspaper and UP Magazine in the past among other publications in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. 
I'm really looking forward to using my travel experience this year to learn more about the world and the MUDEC community. Being editor will allow me to get more involved in the local community as well as excercise my passions for travel and writing. 
In my free time, I love to be with family and friends, do yoga, and drink lots of coffee! 
I look forward to being a part of this wonderful community and hope we can make this fall semester one for the books 😀. Send any feedback on or idea for the MUDEC Méinden to

Student Faculty Council Spotlight-Madison Rose

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.
Madison Rose with locks ona bridge

Hello, I'm Madison and I'm the service and environment chair this semester at MUDEC. As the service chair I'm looking forward to putting on several service-oriented events, including a Halloween party with a local day care center and a drive at the end of the semester. These events help give back to the community that allows us to study here, so they're super important to me. As the environment chair my biggest project I'll be working on is measuring our food waste at the chateau. The goal of this project is to quantify how much we are wasting, and to reduce that waste by giving our staff clear facts. I'm super excited to have the privilege of working in both of these roles, and am looking forward to making an impact on the MUDEC community with them!

We Are Families-Guy Graul

Last week we presented the new look and feel of the newsletter, along with the new name. We also said that it was "by the MUDEC Community for the MUDEC Community". Over the next few weeks we will be debuting new recurring columns to follow through on that pledge. To start that off, today is the first in a series of interviews with MUDEC host famlies, starting with Guy Graul.
Guy Graul on his staircase
1. When did you first start hosting MUDEC students and what got you interested in doing so?
I started hosting students in September 1997, the year when MUDEC opened in Differ-dange. There was a rumor that nobody really showed interest in hosting after the school called up local hosts. Luckily, the rumor ended up not being true. Once the former housing coordinator had me on the phone, she explained and also hired me as a host. Looking back on the huge celebrations for the 50th anniversary in 1995 of the end of WWII, I thought being involved in MUDEC was a way to give something in return for what we owe the U.S.

2. What are some of your favorite memories about hosting MUDEC students?
I get to host 3 times a year, including the summer program, and each group of students is always 100% convinced that they are the best group I’ve ever had! I treasure their long and heartwarming letters of good bye and their dear promise to stay in touch for the rest of their lives. Often enough, the plans I have in mind with them are being changed by them into something much funnier. I filmed a language dialogue in Luxembourgish with 2 of my students. Three pranked me with a real leak (vegetable) in my bathroom after I mentioned a harmless leak story related to the shower.

3. What are some of the challenges related to hosting students?
Knowing basic English is vital. Even after years of hosting, each and every new encounter starts as a blank page with unknown challenges and unknown expectations on both sides. Highlights from former semesters no longer count. They need to be created first and my housing needs to be reinvented. 

4. What would you tell to a family thinking about hosting students?
If you don’t try you’re not gonna know.

5. What would you tell to a prospective MUDEC student who doesn’t know whether they would want to do study abroad in a host family rather than in a program that has apartments or dormitory arrangements?
That depends on the the individual personality. For example, 2nd generation MUDECers that would have been influenced by family or family friends whom were here, would insist on the host family option anyways. While I have heard stories from friends of my students that they were not able to interact with the host family for various reasons, these stories are infrequent.

6. Tell us something unusual, unexpected or just fun about you that other people may not know?
The reason why I still host after 22 years are memories so personal and intimate that I just want to thank God for such grace. The friendliness, the sunny optimism, the endless energy, the open mind and positive outlook of these people, their refreshing spontaneity, the way they are raised and how they have widened my horizon, touch my heart and my soul and stimulates my generosity too. Some tell me they found a friend for life in me, despite the age difference. The annual sailing trip in Greece is an immediate MUDEC consequence and so is their invitation joining them for a one-time semester trip. One student, Mason. introduced me to Radiohead and an Architect completed the remodeling of my 4-level house into individual apartments for later in my life when I’m old and will have retired. It’s fun to see how MUDEC students function sometimes as young adults and sometimes as great children. As someone deeply immersed in the local community, I feel proud for the Château’s destiny as MUDEC‘s location and am thankful for how the City of Differdange helps.
Guy Graul with students

It's a Small World After All-From Euclid to The Diff

by Mackenzie Kicher, Fall 2019
Differdange map superimposed on Euclid Ohio
My friend Ali and I were waiting for the bus one night when a man with an American accent approached us asking if we were from Ohio. After a few minutes of conversation we learned that he lived just a few cities over from where I grew up. He told us that he was living in Belgium now and just happened to be in Differdange for the night. We exchanged Instagram handles and parted ways. Later that night, when logging onto wifi, I got his follow notification. I clicked his profile and noticed that he followed a friend of mine from high school. After looking closer, I realized that he is my friend’s older brother that I had never met before. One of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had!

Discovery Tour-Get Your Travel Feet Wet in Trier

Fall 2019 indepedent travel season got off to a start this past weekend with many students participating in Friday's first Discovery Tour to Trier before heading off for the rest of the weekend. Actually, only including Trier in that description is not 100% accurate as some students had the chance to tour the Grand Ducal Palace before the group left for Trier. The Palace has been opened in recent years from mid-July until around September 1, depending on when the Grand Duc and his family are on vacation, and the timing worked out just perfectly.
MUDEC students at the entrance to the Palace tour Students with the Miami flag at the Amphitheater in Trier
Students walking in the Amphitheater Students with the Miami flag in front of the Electoral Palace in Trier
Students listening to the guide at the Emperor's Throne Room (Contantine's Basilica) Students in front of the Porta Nigra
This Week's Schedule
SFC Guac-Off poster

Monday: Classes

Tuesday: Classes

SFC Guac Off in the Grand Hall at 17:30
Wednesday: Classes
Thursday: Classes                                                                                                              
Friday: No Classes
Tuesday, Sep. 10: Save Travel Talk with the US Embassy Luxembourg in the Grand Hall-Mandatory Integration activity
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

Odds and Ends

MUDEC Méinden Audience Participation-Tell YOUR Story!

Audience Participation picture
MUDEC Méinden is the newsletter by the MUDEC Community for the MUDEC Community. You can update your profile, or subscribe directly if you are not currently subscribed, at MUDEC Méinden subscriptions.
If you ever miss an issue of the MUDEC Méinden, you can always find previous issues on the MUDEC Méinden web archive.
Audience participation is what makes this newsletter special, so if you would like to contribute an article or have any other ideas or suggestions, please write to us at 
Recurring columns where we are looking for contributions, or where we will be looking for contributions once we start, are:
1. We Are Families (Host Family interviews)
2. Travel Misadventures (MUDEC students and alumni sharing their travel mishaps) 
3. MUDEC Changed My Life (Alumni stories about what MUDEC did for them)
4. Mir Wëlle Bleiwen Wou Mir Sin (Luxembourgers who studied in Oxford and never came back from the US)
5. MUDEC Mergers (do I need to explain?)
6. MUDEC Alumni Newsletter Takeovers (a MUDEC class takes over an entire edition of the newsletter and makes it their own!)
7. It's a Small World After All (random MUDEC or Miami encounters from your time at MUDEC)
Don't be shy, we want to hear from you!

Quiz Me!

First off, we do have a couple of prizes to award here from Fall 2019 Integration.
Congratulations to Jordan Woodward and Elizabeth Bode, co-winners of the "Find a Person Who..." challenge. If you read this far, come and claim your prizes!
For the rest of you, it looks like readers got too used to NOT having a quiz over the summer as last week's quiz went over like a lead balloon (Led Zeppelin??). One more chance for you again this week:
Question 1: What is a doughboy and where does the term come from?
Question 2: What colors are on the flag of the House of Vianden?

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