On the Road Again: EMGS students publish transnational podcast, „Northcountry: ein deutsch-amerikanischer Streifzug durch Montana.“

The first day I met Constantin, we were attending an EMGS introductory event. We sat in folding chairs, nibbling on sandwiches and sipping wine in a sunny classroom on the Emil-Fuchs Straße in Leipzig. Students attending this event, an internationally diverse group, marveled at the strangeness of our circumstances. Hard boiled egg in a sandwich? Really? White wine at lunch time? How absurd. Constantin told me he had a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a deep interest in the history, politics and culture of my home country. Having just left the US with hopes of never speaking about it again, I tried to change the subject. Constantin was persistent. What followed that day was a surprisingly refreshing and thoughtful exchange about US politics in the Trump era. This first conversation laid the groundwork for what later became regular conversations about the United States and Germany, the differences, similarities, and transnational connections between the places in which we grew up. I had no idea that two years later these exchanges would lead to a collaborative project in which Constantin and I would end up standing in the middle of Yellowstone Park, surrounded by an enormous herd of bison, trying to collect high-quality audio samples of the bellowing animals. I should have known things were going to get weird as soon as I bit into that egg sandwich. The project we were working on in the Rocky Mountains this summer, a podcast series called “Northcountry: ein deutsch-amerikanischer Streifzug durch Montana,” was in many ways an extension of those transatlantic conversations which had become so commonplace between Constantin and myself during our time studying in the EMGS program. With the generous support of the German American Institute Saxony in Leipzig and Fulbright Germany, we went on assignment in Montana to explore the social and political changes taking place in my home state. We interviewed politicians, historians, members of the indigenous community, self-described vigilantes, gun enthusiasts, and cowboys. What emerged was a three-part series detailing our time spent in Montana and the transatlantic conversations in which Constantin and I engaged. I am happy to announce that the series is now finished and the first episode and trailer are already available on the website of the German American Institute Saxony (https://dai-sachsen.de/podcast-northcountry), and on Spotify. The other episodes will be published each Sunday over the following weeks. If you are interested in transnational exchange or US current events please feel kindly invited to listen to our podcast. By Ian Strahn