The 22nd ICC took place from July 25th until August 3rd, 2016 in Dresden, Germany.
This time, however, it was handier to travel by train than by airplane. As a plus, eversince I linked my bank account with PayPal, it was less than a problem for me to book the tickets myself.
As for the arrival day, my mother drove me to the train station of Stade, where I boarded the local train to Hamburg central station. There, I got assistance to change for the Eurocity to Dresden.
In Berlin, Marcel (another friend of mine) who also went on ICC in Zeist before, joined me on the train.
After we arrived in Dresden, we were picked up by a volunteer of ICC together with Moritz, who already arrived earlier. We went to our accomodation by tram (the Cityherberge), which was a pretty central location in the city.
We spent the rest of the day with getting familiar with the location and our rooms. And of course, there was the almighty welcoming ceremony after dinner.
ICC in Dresden was, in comparison to the past ICCs I’ve been attending so far, a little different.
The distance between the Cityherberge and the TU (Technical University) was quite far; therefore, busses were organized to get us from one place to the other. It worked quite well: the departure to the TU was at 08:30 in the morning. During lunch break, however, we had to skip lunch if we wanted to go back to the Cityherberge… well, unless you were able to run for lunch at 12 and be done before 12:15 to run for the bus. The departure back to the TU was – if I’m not mistaken – between 13:30 and 13:45, so we at least had one hour off the camp. I still remember when Moritz and I, together with André and Uwe (Two German staff members) took the bus to get some groceries at the supermarket. We ended up running to get a snack for lunch in order to get the bus in time. As far as I know, it was a close-call indeed, but hell yeah, we made it! 😀
One day, however, I didn’t want to skip lunch, so I just called a taxi after I had lunch. The taxi driver was more than friendly, and he even tried to catch the returning bus with me so I had less expenses for the taxi ride. We failed, but for the distance between the occomodation and the TU, 20 Euros (two ways) wasn’t that expensive in my opinion.
Choosing the workshops was also a little different this time, because instead of setting a priority for each workshop, there was a list of checkboxes to check or uncheck; in other words, we just checked 12 workshops that we wanted to attend.
As a result, it could have been that our workshop schedule contained workshops that we just put on the list as placeholders, so that we were not assigned for random workshops that we might have absolutely disliked.
It wasn’t too bad all the way, of course; I got some great workshops on my schedule, such as “Creaing and reading PDFs”, “Studying abroad”, “Tactile graphics”, etc.
But on the other hand, I was quite good at HTML already, so the HTML workshop was nothing new to me in first place.
As for “Creating and reading PDFs”, we found out that somebody must have accidentally installed a German version of Open Office, which led to some sort of confusion. We were able to arrange ourselves with it after I translated the most important menu items required for the workshop.
The leisure time activities were, more or less, the same as usual; however, I missed Karoke and Showdown. 😉 Nevertheless, I had fun, especially on the tandem ride and speed-dating – I ended up sharing the table with four people in total talking about ICC, because we all knew each other from ICC in Riga and Zeist; so we had a hell of a good laugh talking about this and that from this- or the past ICCs.
After the leisure time activities, the almighty ICC café was open to enjoy the evening with drinks and snacks. Unfortunately though, I was too tired by the end of the day – most of the time at least. So the only thing I could do was crashing down on my bed.
One of the biggest highlights was the excursion day… After visiting the hygien museum, we went to the Saxonian Switzerland by bus, where we had a picknick first, before going on a hiking trip through a maze. Everybody, no matter if blind or partially sighted, needed a guide, because there were a lot of steep hills to climb up or down. It was a great challenge, but we had to be very careful.
Our next stop was at the river-side. There, we had the chance to go by dragon boat for a cruise on the river Elbe. After a short introduction, we got our life-vests, boarded the boats and got our paddles. It was a great experience, however, we occasionally had to translate what our skipper said from German to English.
Back on the shore, we had a barbecue on the terrace of the dragon boat club before we went home.
We in fact had another barbecue two days before our departure from ICC. It took place in Hosterwitz, apparently somewhere on the country-side. Two things which were a bit annoying were the 45 minutes bus ride, as well as the fact that there was no toilet nearby. On the other hand though, there was a group of people with a guitar and a harmonica, who entertained us during the barbecue.
On Sunday, we again had the opportunity to attend a church service or stay in bed longer. Busses picked us up for our usual lunch at the University and before another phase of workshops, we spent the remaining time on the university campus, where someone had the idea to put a beeper into a baloon. We formed a big circle and tried to throw the baloon to various people after first finding out where they were.
The farewell-party took place on Tuesday, and every country had to prepare a presentation. During the entire camp, some of the German participants brought up a song in Dresden which, after singing/listening to it hundreds of times, drove me crazy! But since we couldn’t find a good alternative in time, we sang it on the farewell-party. It wasn’t the best decision, but it worked somehow anyway.
In the end, as always before traveling home, we celebrated and enjoyed the last hours together…
As for ICC 2016, I must conclude that, due to occasional lack of communication and/or organization we had to arrange ourselves with, it was a little stressful sometimes.
But despite all that, I wouldn’t want to regret going on ICC in Dresden. It was a great opportunity to meet new people, as well as some good old friends who also came back again.
In other words, this wouldn’t stop me from returning to another ICC, let it be as a participant or as a staff member!