Episode #1: The Lead Roles July 16, 2008

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Text courtesy of Deutsche Welle

Jacobs University in Bremen. Privately funded and international...it's unique in Germany. It has twelve hundred students from around the world. But getting a place is tough. Jacobs University is an elite campus for tomorrow's leaders.

19 year old Devashish is from India. He wants to go into logistics, to become an expert in planning and organising. But at the moment he has little time for studying. "Ninety percent of my time at Jacobs is dedicated to sport. Ten Percent goes into thinking ABOUT sports", he says.

Yetunde is a 22 year old Nigerian studying biochemistry. She wants to become a doctor. She's also a passionate dancer, and keen to share her knowledge. Yetunde is to sit her Bacherlor's exam soon. Her ambitions were clear early on in life: "I was probably going on six, when my brother was born. I was choosing between becoming an astronaut or becoming a medical doctor. Because mummy said, she wouldn't want any of her children going to the moon", Yetunde says.

Jan is German. The 21 year old is studying sociology. He's a a mover and shaker...and wants to make the world a better place. "You can start with small steps and develop from there", he says. And he's a mean cocktail mixer too.

Jan the sociologist isn't as sporty as Devashish. But he can still move things. "In the past two year's I've spent the summer doing projects in Africa, in Nigeria and Tanzania. We put up an extra building for a new school outside Dar es Salam. They needed another building to be big enough to get government funding."

There's plenty for him to do on the campus. He's checking out the fitness studio. Jan and his colleagues are unhappy with the weights room. The problem is, when you look around here, you see that there is very very little space up here. It's not a proper gym. So If nothing happens--we agreed for one year this is okay, but if nothing happens, we're going to be very angry." It's an issue that might end up being settled by the president.

From the gym to the stars. Aerospace company EADS has a centre in Bremen. Devashish and his fellow logistic students have been granted access. This is where parts of the international space station ISS are being built. Getting them into space and keeping them running is a huge task for the logistics people. Jacobs University emphasises the connection between economics and technology. Devashish and his fellow students also check out the astronauts' bunks.

Logistics Professor Jens Froese: "They have to familiarise themselves with technical systems. We confront them with that. We take them out into space to show them what the possibilities are. And these things are applicable for everyday uses." The trip has left the Jacobs students hungry, but has got them thinking. "Reach for the stars and you might actually land on the moon. That's what they said, right?", Devashish says.

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