As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Hans Joohs Sister Cities Exchange program, the Sister Cities commission has asked past visitors to update us on their lives. Here is a letter from the 2006 Hans Joohs Sister Cities Intern, Steffen Pogadl.
When I think about my time in New Ulm the summer of 2006, I think about great hospitability, my host families, friends, gaining job experience at 3M, getting to learn the American culture, having fun, learning about the nice city of New Ulm, taking trips to different places, improving my language skills, etc. - only good memories!
I am Steffen Pogadl. I am 31 years old now and I was the Hans Joohs Sister Cities Exchange intern in 2006. I was in New Ulm from July until October. During that time I worked at 3M. Seeing that I was a student of business administration, I worked in the logistics and warehouse department. It was interesting working for such a huge and world-wide known company. So I got introduced into the American working life and was able to improve my English language skills, which still help me a lot in my present job and career.
2006 Hans Joohs Exchange intern Steffen Pogadel with his wife, Katrin, and daughter, Rosalie.
My boss and mentor at 3M, Todd Holbrook, took care of me and our relationship got so close that we also spent some of our lunch breaks together at one of the good restaurants of New Ulm. Speaking about the good bars and restaurants of New Ulm, the B&L bar was my regular place to visit ?. It was a wonderful place to go, giving me the possibility of sitting down and speaking with a lot of different people and friends.
My hosts were Jack Minch and Brian and Mary Lou Serbus and family. Once again I want to say "thank you very much!" to them. They were very much responsible for my having had such a good time! We had a lot of fun together and they showed me such great hospitability that after a few days I had the feeling that their home was my home.
At the same period of time I was in New Ulm, Sarah Heimer from Leipheim, Germany was there. Sarah and I joined my friend Rick Isbell on a trip to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.
Jack and I spent a weekend in Duluth and the surrounding area visiting Two Harbors, Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, and finally taking a swim in the waters of Lake Superior.
I also had an unforgettable weekend with Brian, Mary Lou, Aaron and Angie Serbus along with Bob and Jesilda Webb and family at the Webb's wonderful cabin at Two Inlets north of Park Rapids.
In the middle of my three month stay in New Ulm I took one week off for a trip to New York and Washington DC. It was great and just unbelievable to see all those famous American sites.
You can see that I while in New Ulm I was quite active in travelling but there was also a lot of time spent in and around the New Ulm area. There was no day at all on my calendar not filled in with a date, an invitation or an activity! There were so many nice, open and friendly people that I was always very much impressed about this open culture and great hospitability.
Seven years are gone since my participation in the Hans Joohs Sister Cities Exchange Program and, of course, a lot of things have changed in my life.
I am working for a big company called Voith. They are active in Hydro business and where I work it is approximately 30 miles away from Ulm. So I am still living in the area of Ulm (a small village called Hrvelsingen) together with my wife Katrin and our daughter Rosalie. Although Katrin and I have been in a relationship for over 11 years we did get married this past August. Our wedding took place on August 31st. That was just a few weeks before our little daughter Rosalie turned one year old.
My time in the United States in 2006 was so good and interesting that I convinced my girlfriend Katrin to take a vacation to the USA the summer of 2010. On our three week holiday trip we saw the West coast (San Francisco, Las Angeles, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, ) and on our way back to Germany we stopped for three days in New York.
The summer of 2012, my younger brother, Marcel, had the opportunity to visit New Ulm. He stayed at the home of our good friend Jack Minch. You can see that my time in New Ulm was so good that I had to share these experiences with my family.
Finally, I want to greet all my friends in New Ulm!!! I hope to one day see all of you once again!