Introducing the Digital Tech Academy

The Team of FAU’s Digital Tech Academy. Photo: DTA

Many organizations are now involved in cultivating talents and provide them with necessary skills to succeed in the fast-paced, high-tech industry. Creative people are no longer alone in their quest for the next big thing since they can always seek for advice from experts or get help handling logistics behind their creative process. I was inspired by my interview with Karl (Carlos) Rabes and Lisa Wittenzellner from the FAU Digital Tech Academy, a new FAU project that seeks and supports digital entrepreneurs.

What is Digital Tech Academy and how was it initiated?

The idea of the FAU Digital Tech Academy arose from the notion that entrepreneurship and digitalization touch everyone’s life. It is important to form a group at FAU that shares the same passion for entrepreneurship and digitization. The Digital Tech Fellows program, one part of the Digital Tech Academy, is an opportunity for all FAU students to pursue their passion for digitization, entrepreneurship, and innovation by realizing novel ideas with the help of professionals from industry. We are a small team of four people and are currently screening more than 150 applications to narrow the field down to only about 25 participants for the first batch of the Digital Tech Fellows program. This is the one-year extracurricular program, open to all enrolled students at the FAU (with a new batch starting each semester). Therein participants get to know each other and form their own group to work on innovative ideas that they are interested in.


Critical Mass in Nürnberg – Protest auf zwei Rädern!

Auf zwei Rädern durch die Stadt: Die Teilnehmer von Critical Mass legen regelmäßig den Verkehr in Nürnberg lahm und machen so friedlich auf die Belange der Radler aufmerksam. Bildrechte: Critical Mass Nürnberg

Jeden letzten Freitag des Monats reibt sich so mancher Passant in Nürnberg verwundert die Augen: Vor dem altehrwürdigen Opernhaus in Nürnberg tummeln sich allerhand Menschen mit ihrem Fahrrad an der Seite. Wer genauer hinschaut findet ein buntes Publikum aus allen Altersklassen und Gesellschaftsschichten vor. Natürlich nehmen auch viele Studenten teil, die sich dieses Event nicht entgehen lassen wollen. Das Fahrrad ist doch schließlich der beste Freund und Helfer des Hochschülers!

Die „kritische Masse“ von Fahrradfahrern hat ein gemeinschaftliches Ziel: Sie will „mit ihrer bloßen Menge auf ihre Belange und Rechte gegenüber dem Autoverkehr aufmerksam machen“. Ein Organisationsteam gibt es nicht, die Protestradler organisieren sich von selbst. Fest stehen dabei nur der Termin und ein handliches Regelwerk, das einen friedlichen und unfallfreien Ablauf sicherstellen soll.

Generell gilt: Rechtlich steht die Aktion auf stabilem Fundament. Bezugnehmend auf §27 der Straßenverkehrsordnung besitzt ein geschlossener Verband von mindestens 16 Radfahrern dieselben Rechte wie alle anderen Verkehrsteilnehmer. Bei regelmäßigen Teilnehmerzahlen von um die 500 Aktionisten ist eine breit angelegte Nutzung der Hauptverkehrsstraßen also vollkommen legitim.


New Year’s Eve celebration

Raclette is a typical dinner at ew Year’s Eve celebrations. Photo: Anh Tran

I was very excited for my first ever New Year’s Eve (Silvester) celebration in Germany. The celebration here is quite different compared to the one in Vietnam. In Vietnam, we celebrate new year twice. The first celebration happens on December 31st like the rest of the world. The second is usually the bigger one and takes place in February, according to the lunar calendar.

For Vietnamese, end of the year celebration is often a time for family. It is important to have a clean house to welcome the new year. I remember as a kid my mom would make my sister and I clean our rooms. My mom cooks a feast and prays to our ancestors for luck and health for the upcoming year. Then we watch a very famous annual comedy show and wait till midnight to watch fireworks on the rooftop.

On the other hand, I notice that younger people in Germany usually gather and go out with friends on New Year’s Eve. We gathered at a friend’s apartment and had pizza as there were too many of us to cook. But it’s also common to make a Raclette dinner. A raclette contains a mini stove, where you can cook cheese, meat, cold cuts, and veggies together. It’s a bit similar to hot pot in Asia.


Things I wish I’d known before going to Christmas market for the first time

Franconian souvenirs. Photo: Anh Tran

Christmas is always a magical time as the town lights up under the falling snow. Since I have never been to a Christmas market before, I was all hyped up since Nürnberg is famous for its authentic market in the country. Though, there are couple of things I wish I had known before heading down to the Christmas market.

1. Bundle up!

I went to the market in the evening. I did not know that it could get so cold that at the end I could not feel my toe anymore. So wear your giant puffy winter jacket, put on your gloves and a good pair of boots as you will very likely to be outside for at least one hour. Holding a hot cup of Heidelbeer Glühwein (red wine with spices) between your hands, and huddling with your friends are also great ways to stay warm.

 2. Go with an empty stomach

There will be a variety of food, ranging from salty dishes, snacks, to sweets. Thus, be sure to have some room in your stomach to try out all of the food. Even though, the queue might be long, it will be worth the wait. In the market, you could find sausages, Lebkuchen (delicious gingerbread), Kartoffelpuffer (similar to fried potatoes or hash browns)…etc. I’d highly recommend trying Schaschlik, which is a skew of pork meat, drizzled in curry sauce. And don’t forget trying out the Feuerzangenbowle (red wine and rum punch). If you return the cup, you will get some coins back, otherwise you could keep the cup as a token of good time.

Meat and onions on a stick: Schaschlik. Photo Anh Tran

3. Check out the international section of the market

Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt partners up to bring a diverse selection of handcrafted goods from other parts of the world. Each country has a booth, where you could find cool, well-made souvenirs and learn about different cultures.

 Those are my tips to fully enjoy the Christmas market during this magical time of the year. I wish you all a happy holiday!

Anh Tran


„Lebkuchen“. Photo: Anh Tran