Experience of a Lifetime
As I pack my bag and let my fingertips kiss the keyboard to produce one final blog at RheinAhrCampus (RAC), Germany, I recall my glorious days at RAC and Remagen. The date was 27 March 2019 when a jubilant me landed at Remagen for the first time.
On stepping out of the Remagen train station into the twilight sky, a cool breeze touched my skin and its mellifluous sound enchanted me. At the bank of river Rhine with a population of just over 15,000, we situate Remagen, a picturesque town, less of a real place and more of a painting, drawn by an imaginary painter on the grand canvas of Germany. Its rustic view surrounded by trees and nature in its pristine form, away from the hullabaloo of city life, a maze of narrow and almost empty streets gives a surreal feeling of being landed in heaven.
Culture at Remagen
A morning walk on the streets introduces you to many strangers, who look at you, smile and wish “Guten Morgen (Good Morning)” leaving you perplexed and ask yourself- “Do I know him/her?” People will help when they see you in distress. When a lady saw me carrying luggage amounting to 40 kg en route to my room, and I was alone to drag it, the Samaritan at once stopped her car to offer help. I could only offer my gratitude to the lady.
Safety is another hallmark of Remagen. Prof Borgmann, the head of the International affairs, once quipped “You may die in Remagen because of the boredom but not of any crime”. I noticed this firsthand albeit mildly. One fine day, I visited Bonn, a hub for shopping, located five train stops away from Remagen. On reaching the place, I realized-Oh no! I forgot my bag at the Remagen train station. The bag comprised my passport, wallet, certificate, etc. Upon realization of my oblivions, I ran back at the speed of Usain Bolt to the station to discover my bag sitting among living beings waiting for its true companion to pick it. Oh! It relieved me. I thought somebody will steal my bag. How wrong was I? I was in Remagen.
The academic at RAC is modern and practical. Focus, here, is not on rot learning but on the concepts and its utility. International business simulation is my favorite subject. In this, one needs to set up a simulated company, choose a role (CEO, marketing head, etc.) and build a product from scratch. The opportunities are plenty, but you need to ask for it. To steal borrow a line from Harry Potter. “Help will be given at Hogwarts RAC to those who ask for it.” I recall Prof Borgmann once mentioned, “Imran, if Professors didn’t criticize you for your work here at RAC, it doesn’t mean you are perfect, it just means you have done nothing worth commenting.” RAC encourages one to make mistakes, provided one learns from it.
RAC is not just about books; it goes beyond that realm. International Week is one such experience. It is a feast celebrated every year, wherein motley of International Guests arrives at Remagen, transcending it from a small town to a global village. It is a spectacle to behold. I traveled to different places. I visited Brügge, Brussels, Ghent, Paris, Disneyland, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, and wine walk at Königswinter, Cologne, and many other places near Germany. Goodbyes are always difficult, but then that’s life I presume. The experience has been invaluable. The journey was far more valuable than the destination. As the saying at RAC goes- “It’s not a semester in life but life in a semester.”