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Online Cologne City tour: discover the city through its art

This year we took a different road while looking for a suitable city tour. In today's connected world finding information about the main sights of Cologne is just a few clicks apart. That is why we collaborated with Eva from Alternative Cologne Tours who dived with the students into the endless world of street art in Cologne. Eva developed her concept of online tours during the lockdowns and focused on the potential of online working, studying and even online travelling for her advantage.

She offered us a unique experience of Cologne and made us see art that we go by every day in the colourful neighbourhoods of Cologne, but do not notice. Her knowledge of the lifestories and social messages of the artists was outstanding and contributed immensely to the immersion into street art. Here are some of the comments on the tour. No names are indicated because they are extracted from the online evaluation which was anonymous.

It was amazing to get to know the city and Eva is a great tourist guide.

I loved that despite the distance they were able to show us a bit of Cologne.

Picture collage with photos of Alternative Cologne Tours (left and right, artist: sei leise) and CSS

The online tour on the second day of the summer school was fascinating, because street art was something I hadn't really thought about, and I really liked that it was an actual, live tour instead of just a video. It was very fun.

Eva was a wonderful tour guide, i really enjoyed the immersive experience and its my first on zoom doing this.

1 / 4

Have you been at an online international dinner?

With some preparation and imagination, this can turn into a great experience. On the platform Gather town we hosted a very customized and special online event in which we included intercultural knowledge, music, different cuisines- aspects of life that connect us and bring us together. A few weeks weeks before the beginning of the school we got to know the participants, their favourite music, dishes, foreign languages and designed the Gather space in accordance to this inside knowledge. When the studens entered, they did not know about our extensive preparation and were about to discover all the hiffen treasures on the map- theit favourite things that they had shared with us.

A very special highlight were the alumni students we invited to join from all different parts of the world. It was a great pleasure to reunite with them, hear about how their personal and academic journeys had developed and how far they had come in so many ways. Since the Cologne Summer Schools are all about exchange on all levels, we introduced an international bingo game through which alumni and participants had to opportunity to get to know each other in a game-like setting and instantly have a discussion topic without the need to "break the ice" first.

What to say. Amazing how it was thought. All the food in place, the songs and the platform itself. We all got to talk each other and I think was VERY important to get to know us better.

The feedback about the dinner was also very positive:

Overall, it was really fun. Gather.town was an interesting platform, more interactive than Zoom. It was an opportunity to be a bit more casual and talk to people longer than in the breakout rooms.

One of my favorite moments, such a cool platform and also loved the bingo haha it pushed us to talk to others even if we didn't feel that comfortable, it was also very funny.

A very inspiring song recommended from one of our participants
You can not come to Cologne without having heard this song :)

The dinner was really great. I spoke with so many new people, seeing one of my favourite songs in the juke box was very sweet.

I loved being able to get to know my colleagues a little more interactively, I was really able to learn from others and take great friendships with me.