Who would you rather have a beer with? Winnie-The-Pooh or her Majesty the Queen?

Why am I asking such stupid questions? Well, 2016 is not only the Queen’s 90th birthday, but also the 90th anniversary of the first publication starring Winnie-The-Pooh.

It turns out that the two of them have a lot in common. They are both 90, very British and say clever things every now and then. Probably the Queen is even fond of honey like our beloved little bear. The Queen is said to have loved the Winnie-The-Pooh stories when she was a child. No wonder: since the first publication in 1926, the stories about the thoughtful bear and his friends by author A.A.Milne have found their way into children’s hearts all over the world. They have even been translated into Latin, for some reason.


In their adventures, Pooh and his friends Christopher Robin, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore discover the true values of friendship while roaming around the “Hundred Acre Wood”. Winnie-The-Pooh, who was named after the author’s son’s teddy bear, is often thought to be a bit slow-witted but appears to be a fairly good poet. Most of the stories include a poem or a ‘hum’ about friendship or about honey, which he is very fond of.

As 2016 is Pooh’s and her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday, circumstances seem perfect for the two of them to meet. That’s why in a recently published short story, Pooh and his friends travel to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen. An audio-visual version of the new adventure, written by Jane Riordan, is available on youtube, but it can also be downloaded for free at WinnieThePooh.Disney.com. By the way: we asked some of our readers at the International Day in June who they would like to have a beer with. The answer: Winnie-The-Pooh. I guess he’s just so cute!

Pictures & Author: Melanie Pfanzelt

Tips for a great Dublin experience

Spending a semester abroad has been on my to-do-list ever since I started studying, but you know how things can go sometimes. Plans change, things get in the way, and in the end you have to set your priorities. Last term I finally did get my chance to take an Erasmus semester in Dublin and I honestly have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. So here are some things you absolutely shouldn’t miss while you’re on the green island.


Explore the country. Ireland is really not all that big. With the Bus Éireann lines you can get from Dublin to Belfast in a few hours relatively cheaply. Landmarks like Tara, the Giant’s Causeway or the Cliffs of Moher are just a wee bit away. If you’re taking a semester abroad, the international societies like the Erasmus Student Network organise trips regularly as well. Ireland is beautiful. Go see for yourself!

Grab a few friends and visit Temple Bar in Dublin. I don’t think I’ll have to say much about it, but one bit of advice: the famous pubs aredublin2 cool, but, well… famous. My favourite place was a small cafe a bit further down the road. You still had the whole setting, but you could actually talk without having to shout at each other or having to cope with getting elbowed in the back. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find a bunch of places that are not on tourists’ radar.

Check out Grafton Street. There’s always stuff going on in one of Dublin’s busiest shopping streets. Very close to Saint Stephen’s Green (a beautiful park), it leads you straight to Trinity College. On the way you will not only find the Gaiety Theatre, all sorts of shops and restaurant, but also street performers and buskers. You can find some real gems there and occasionally even catch some more famous bands. If you are there around Christmas, prepare yourself for an incredible experience. Choirs, Christmas music and the lights and decorations transform Grafton Street into an absolute winter wonderland. The snow generally gets substituted with cold rain, though.


One really important tip for all fellow students: you probably won’t be able to get a room at the on-campus residences, at least not until well into the semester. So arrive a week or two earlier, embrace the hostel lifestyle and then use Daft.ie, the local newspapers and the Facebook pages of the international societies (again, ESN helped me a lot here) to find a place to stay. You’ll probably be able to get something that’s significantly cheaper than on-campus accommodation, too.

Other than that, just be open-minded. The Irish are extremely welcoming (and chatty) people and if you approach them with a smile, they’ll pay it back with nothing but kindness. I’ll never forget my time in Dublin and I can’t wait to return to catch up with all the friends I have made there.

Author & Pictures: Andreas Böhm

Up and away

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself” – Danny Kaye

I was bitten by the travel bug the second I first travelled around Europe in a trailer with my family as a small child. I’ve already seen a few corners of the world, but there are still lots of plane tickets for me to buy! Traveling has definitely made me a better person and I’ve heard lots of people say the same thing about themselves. But what exactly is it about traveling that seems to change people for the better? Let’s take a look at some of the positive aspects…

Traveling can make you become…
…more modest

Going to other countries makes you realize how small we, as humans, are in such a big world and how grateful we should be for being able to experience its beauty – just think of all the breath-taking landscapes that can be found all over the world! Nature is so much more powerful than humanity and it is our duty to do everything we can to protect its beauty because, after all, we’re just temporary guests on this planet.

…more open-minded

You meet so many different people on a journey, with different backgrounds and beliefs that shape who they are and what they think the world should be like. All these people have their own story to tell and if you listen carefully you realize that, even though language, skin colour and religion might differ, in the end, we’re all the same and that all these stories have an impact on you. I’m much more open towards other cultures now – and isn’t open-mindedness and tolerance what our world, which is characterized by fear, prejudice and walls, really lacks these days?

…braver and more independent

20150823_193302I was very homesick when I first started traveling on my own, but I became more independent with every journey and now, I’m braver than ever before. This includes approaching strangers for advice, relying on my intuition in situations where I feel lost and as well taking risks sometimes! While I was freaking out about all the possible dangers awaiting me in an unknown country a few years ago, I realized that things always figure themselves out somehow and I’ve always returned home safely.

…more balanced

While I have some doubts about myself from time to time (like a lot of us, I guess), I’ve experienced plenty of situations abroad that made me realize that others’ perceptions of me totally differ from my own. Meeting new people abroad gives you a chance to break free from the role you’re stuck in at home and this, in return, helps you to grow and develop a better self-image. So, go out into the world, be yourself, touch some people’s lives, so the experiences you have change you forever!

What are you waiting for?
It might sound like a cliché, but it’s actually true: traveling can help you find yourself and become a better person and, most importantly, world citizen! If you let cultures, places and people abroad affect you, I promise you won’t be the same on your return. So, if you’re lucky enough to get the chance to travel don’t hesitate – pack your bags and be prepared for a life-changing and eye-opening experience!

Author & pictures: Henrike Wilhelm

“Twist, lick, dunk” – Small, but oh my!

OreoBannerOreo is the most popular cookie in the US and it’s no wonder there’s even a National Oreo Day, March 6th! The variety of Oreo products is huge and Google hits are overflowing with an infinite number of recipe ideas. Whilst the US is totally oreonized, the supply in German shelves is a complete joke. But hey, we do have at least four to five choices at our shops and we live in the era of online shopping, anyway, don’t we? But what makes this little cookie so special?

Cookie of a respectable age

Without any doubt, you can take your hat off to the cookie’s proud age of 104 years. Launched by Nabisco company in 1912, Oreo is ten years older than Germany’s famous Haribo gummi bear. The idea of two chocolate-flavoured wafers filled with a vanilla-flavoured cream wasn’t that new, though, at the time. Oreo’s manufacturers were probably a little too inspired by the Hydrox cookie, that had been produced since 1908 by Sunshine company. Well, Oreo’s sales were better, and thus they outdid Hydrox.

OreoTwistLickDunk resizedTwist or dunk?

Tell me how you eat your Oreo and I’ll tell you who you are. No, just kidding. But still, you can’t just scoff the whole cookie. I mean, this would almost be an offence. Come on, Oreo’s catchy ad already tells you how to eat it. First, twist off one side, then lick the creamy middle and finally dunk the wafers into milk. Let’s do it! Of course, you’ll find fine print somewhere on the package that says: twist the wafers with sensitivity, best of all over a huge dish, unless you enjoy hoovering, and don’t drown the wafers in your milk, unless you want to lose half of your cookie in it. Ugh!

OreoSignsOreo emblem

Very well then, let’s pretend we’ve followed these unwritten eating instructions. But have you ever noticed the cookie’s design before, or have you simply lived from package to milk to mouth so far? Never mind. Oreo owes its current design, which dates back to 1952, to William A. Turnier. It looks a bit like a mystical emblem, followed by several intriguing speculations: is there a connection with the Knights Templar? Some people recognise a number of cross pattees around the word Oreo and a two-bar cross that might symbolise the Cross of Lorraine. Others say the word Oreo is surrounded by four-leaf clovers, and the two-bar cross represents the former European symbol for quality. Well, in my opinion the two-bar cross simply looks like an arrow going through the word Oreo. Only humbug?

Vegan gold bar

Delicious and always a joy to eat, and, needless to say, a big earner. Hence O-r-e-o? “Or” – the French word for gold. In the end, though, it’s simply cream between two chocolate wafers. And, last not least, a big hooray for all vegans and lactose intolerant people: Oreo is vegan!OreoGoldBar resized

Author & pictures: Melanie Schuster

Star Wars Identities – The Exhibition

Flashback: People in long-term relationships will know the problem: your partner in crime’s birthday is just around the corner and you’ve already given him the most creative presents about a hundred times. And since I’m a huge fan of personal presents, I can’t just buy some random perfume or (God, please save me from this shame) a carelessly purchased gift card. No, I’m a good girlfriend, so I’ve bought tickets for the Star Wars Identities Exhibition in Munich (until Oct 17, 2016; Munich, Olympiapark), because my boyfriend adores Star Wars like Anakin loves Padme. But to be honest, I thought that he would be incredibly grateful and take one of his best friends with him. But what a surprise; he asked me, the most disinterested person when it comes to Star Wars.


A trip to a completely unknown galaxy

Present: So here I am, entering the audio-guided Star Wars Exhibition. The first room shows some strange figures, creepy masks and weird costumes. I’m a bit confused, so I turn around to ask my boyfriend – who are these figures? And where is the little green goblin who always talks as if he’d never heard anything about grammar and word order? But he’s gone. Apparently, I’m joining a trip to a completely unknown galaxy, but my boyfriend feels absolutely at home.

So from this point on please join my very lonely trip into the Star Wars world. As the name already suggests, this exhibition is a journey into the world of Star Wars, but also into your very own identity. So if you go, you’ll learn a lot about how your identity is formed. In order to make the exhibition more interactive you wear black bracelets, which will help to create your own Star Wars character. These bracelets store every answer to different quizzes that you have to answer during your journey. As you can imagine, I’m not very good at ansstars2wering the questions since I’ve no idea whether I was born in Tatooine or Bespin. But I join the game and follow the path to my Star Wars character. On my way to my new identity I pass 200 requisites, costumes and drawings. The little voice in my ears explains every little detail and I learn that the early versions of the little green goblin, called Yoda, looked like a cross between Santa Claus and a garden gnome at first. And while I’m still wondering if Jabba the Hood, who looks like a gigantic slug, is the most powerful criminal, I’m suddenly facing him. Even I know his name and his breathing problems: Darth Vader himself is standing right in front of me. And now every visitor has to answer the most difficult question: should you join the dark side?

Seriously? I’m working for a slug?

After everybody has decided which side they would like to join, the trip ends and you finally experience which Star Wars character you are. And while everyone around me is pressing their bracelets against a huge monitor and waiting enthusiastically for their identity, I’m also experiencing the thrill of anticipation, waiting for my character to pop up on the black monitor. But my initial excitement about my really cool-looking Star Wars character soon fades, as my boyfriend, who has finally found his way back to me, is dying of laughter behind my back. “You belong to Jabba’s gang,” he screams. Seriously? I’m working for a slug?

After I’ve overcome the disappointment, I ask my boyfriend if he enjoyed the exhibition. But he says nothing, because he isn’t listening to me; he’s still staring at his Star Wars character: a Jedi Knight trained by Qui-Gon Jinn. But it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t answer, because I see the smile on his face and the sparkle in his eyes – oh yes, the force is definitely with him.


Author & Pictures: Julia Huss

It’s not about the money

We all know this problem: the desire to discover new places in the world, see as much as you can, but without much cash. So what do most backpackers do? They save their money on food: fast food, instant noodles or sandwiches. Anything that‘s easy to prepare and that fills your tummy.

But when I was in Sydney, I discovered a place where you can get really good restaurant food, even on a small travel budget. Lentil as Anything is a non-profit-making organisation which runs six pay-as-you-feel restaurants in Australia. Their philosophy is that everyone should have the opportunity to eat out and be social, regardless of their financial situation.

When you enter the restaurant, it’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The furniture is simple but modern, designed with much love and creativity. The walls are covered with paintings and other artwork. Every table has a menu that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, depending on the time of the day. You might expect that the low costs mean it’s automatically self-service, but I was more than surprised that after a few minutes a friendly waitress came to our table to take our order.  We felt like guests at her house and she was inviting us for dinner.

The people working in Lentil as Anything are all volunteers or long-term unemployed. Or backpackers. For two weeks of helping out in the restaurant, backpackers can get free accommodation and, of course, a warm meal. And the meals are not only more nutritious and diversified, but also much healthier than a Big Mac Menu at McDonalds.

One aim of the restaurant is to promote multiculturalism, which is also reflected in the food. It’s basically a mix of everything. One customer is having Indian curry for breakfast, while at another table people are having scrambled eggs with bacon. And, of course, there are vegan meals too. And if you‘re still hungry, you can order the banana pancakes with syrup (which I can only recommend!). Before you leave, you can think about how much money you want to spend and put in in the box. And if you want or if you can’t spend anything at all, then you simply don’t put anything in the box.

Now you may be asking the same question that came to my mind after visiting this place: how can the place survive? Can, in today’s society, such a model make enough money to pay the rent, utilities and stock? Apparently it is. The philosophy has been working for over thirteen years now and in the last five years three new restaurants have been opened.

Surprisingly, people who visit the restaurant are not only homeless or backpackers, but also families with a normal income, who get the chance to take their children to a restaurant to enjoy good food more often. And that‘s how donations are collected.

So, for your next trip remember that a small travel budget does not necessarily have to mean that you can’t afford to eat out in a restaurant – the pay-as-you-feel philosophy is becoming more and more popular in all parts of the world, and who knows, maybe there‘s a similar place at your next destination 😉

Author & pictures: Carina Lamb

Resist procrastination today … or not

I almost just submitted this article as a blank page. That’s how bad my procrastination is, or maybe it was just my sense of irony.

Everyone seems to suffer the attack of the procrastination monster every once in a while, or rather every time a deadline is drawing closer. We students are especially susceptible to listening to this sweet, sweet siren’s song and put off all our work as long as possible. There’ no one to check up on our progress after all. Learning how to just get it together and get our stuff done is arguably the most important thing we learn at university. No one likes to admit that but it can just stay between us if you want, I won’t tell.


So why do we do it and how can we stop it? Isn’t it our only goal to achieve perfection by tirelessly improving ourselves day after day after day? The truth is striving for perfection is hard. It involves struggling with our own worst enemy on a daily basis, to resist temptation and never fail or else fall into an endless pit of despair. Once you slip up and your plans go south you might as well give up forever, or at least that’s what it feels like. The pressure of routine just increases the longer it continues.

That’s why sometimes we just need to give in. Embrace your sloth (that sounds adorable actually). Maybe this monster inside us just needs love too. Giving it a cuddle, smothering it with kindness might help. After all it is part of us. We are this monster. We know that we should be better. We try and fail and sometimesprocrastination need someone to stroke our ego. We need to just forget about our problems for a little while. What better way than to treat yourself with something you know you don’t deserve. You know you want to. Just do it. Don’t be perfect for a little while. Let your monster out of its cage. Let it rage, roar, rampage and then let it go. Calm down and give it a cuddle. Put it back in its little corner. Continue on your crusade towards becoming a better version of yourself tomorrow.

Author & pictures: Lisa Bittner