Category Archives: Mercator 2016

The Albanian Country Information Day

Kristi Gadeshi

The Albanian CID was a showcase of Albanian culture, tradition, dances and stereotypes displayed for an international audience with the purpose of education, promotion and entertainment. This year there are more than 30 Albanians on campus, more than ever before, and most of the students at Jacobs don’t know a single thing about their friends’ origin and culture.That’s why we hoped to bring to everyone a really big event, more like a proper entertaining show, where we could show these virtues. As in any other CID, we couldn’t omit presentations, which really gave an inside taste of the beautiful places Albania has to offer. But we knew that just presentations were going to be quite boring. This is why we included dances and mini-sketches. In the CID we had two dances, one from the North and one from the South, so we kind of covered the whole territory. I was part of the North dance, which had quite a difficult choreography and we spent a lot of time learning it together with the steps. But what were the highlights of the show were the mini-sketches. The idea was to compare certain behavior in certain situations between western people and Albanians. We included a lot of auto-irony, making fun of our stereotypes and exaggerating them, which created very funny situations and I am sure many people could also relate to them. The sketches displayed behaviors such as hospitality, how to behave in a bar, how Albanians behave with foreigners and in the end the big Albanian wedding, which concluded the show. After that, traditional Albanian food was offered in the servery, cooked by some very lovely hands.

I had been planning this CID since April last year, when I saw a spam from Mercator RAs asking for people who would want to organise one. I knew that this was going to be my last year at Jacobs, and I really wanted to do something to benefit to the community, but also to benefit to my own country in this case. I was really looking forward to it, and despite the stress and time that the organisation took, I am glad that it turned out perfectly and that everyone had a good time. It was also the first time for me to moderate a show, I don’t know if I did a good job but I certainly enjoyed myself very much.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Mercator College for helping us organise this event, of course all the Albanians who took their time off studies and were part of the CID, and all the guests who came and enjoyed the show. Shume faleminderit! (Albanian: Thank you very much).  

By Kristi Gadeshi

Eighth Mercator Badminton Challenge Cup once more unites the Jacobs Student Community

On March 12, 2016, 18 badminton enthusiasts from all strands of Jacobs study programs (bachelor, master, and PhD) competed in the Eighth Mercator Challenge Cup. This event takes place since 2005 under the auspices of Mercator College. The tournament started shortly after 1 pm and continued to the victory ceremony right after 5 pm. Mercator College provided ample food and beverages to keep competitors in good shape throughout the tournament.

In the women’s doubles contest Diana Sirbu, a PhD student from chemistry and Mercator College Resident Associate, and Melanie Flöter, a computer science PhD student competed with Xuechun Wu, a psychology BA student, and Liying Zhang, a BSc student from the BCCB program. Liying and Xuechun eventually had to succumb to Diana and Melanie to win the silver medal. This year’s cup winners are Melanie Flöter and Diana Sirbu, who had been medal winners also in earlier years.

The men’s doubles contest turned out to be a very close race as far as the silver and bronze medal were concerned. Three doubles came in with three wins and two losses each, so that the exact number of sets won (and lost) by each double had to decide on silver medal, bronze medal, and Place 4. The bronze medal went to Jhanak Parajuli, research associate in electrical engineering, and Marius Lepadatu, member of the larger Jacobs community as husband of a PhD student. The silver medal went to Prasad Babu Kakarla, a PhD student in biochemical engineering, and Hariharan Rathinasamy, studying for an MSc in International Logistics Management and Engineering. The gold medal was not at all a close race. Ishtiaq Hussain, a doctoral student of chemistry, and Farhan Younas, who studies for the doctorate in biochemical engineering moved up another place after having won the silver medal in 2015 (and the bronze medal in 2014) based on five clear two-set wins in this year’s tournament. Thus, they could finally take home the trophy—which they hopefully try to defend next year, then maybe as PhD alumni (fingers crossed).

Third place in the mixed doubles competition went to Hariharan Rathinasamy and Liying Zhang. Runners up of this year’s tournament were Diana Sirbu and Marius Lepadatu. And the trophy went to Ishtiaq Hussain and Melanie Flöter, Ishtiaq repeating his win from last year, Melanie hers from 2014 (both with different partners then).

It may be worth mentioning that the Boehnke family (Honorary Members of Mercator College) kept its active participation on a fairly low level this year. Mandy Boehnke and 15-year-old Philip Boehnke (first

child to ever live in Mercator College from 2002 to 2007) played the mixed doubles competition, while early-year men’s doubles winners Klaus Boehnke and Florian Münch, Klaus’ oldest son, retreated to the organizational team of the tournament.

Congratulations to all winners and thank you for great games to all participants. The Ninth Mercator Challenge Cup is firmly planned to take place in about a year from now. May the event grow again to surpass 2014’s record participation number of 36 competitors!

Room Mates of Mercator: Meet Desiree and Sara!

You’ve probably seen them around, or if you are lucky enough have been invited to their legendary wine nights in their shared apartment in Mercator, meet Desiree and Sara, our first room mates for our new series of Room Mates of Mercator.

Desi and Sara! Proud Mercats!
Desi and Sara! Proud Mercats!

Desiree, what do you love most about rooming with Sara?

What I love about rooming with Sara is that we can run into each other’s room at any time of the day (or night) to talk about something important that came up – may if be the cat video we found, breaking news from campus, the outrageous text message we got, or freaking out about a deadline. It is great to have that kind of support here smile emoticon



Priyanka’s O Week Experience



After approximately 22 hours of non-stop travelling, I arrived at a place called Mercator, which was supposed to be my second home for the next three years. I was intimidated. I was leaving behind my country, my family, my language and everything that was familiar and comfortable. I submerged in nervousness at first- I didn’t know anyone, and moreover I wasn’t used to the idea of communicating in English rather Nepalese. However, all these feelings eventually faded away when I realised that Mercator is my home away from home. Now I feel like I belong and am deeply connected to this college— the color of endless oceans and clear skies.
During my first few days on campus I was busy familiarising myself with the academic life and then came the college social night, where I felt even more excited to be a part of Mercator college. The main moment in the event was the ritual of “freshies” becoming officially Mercatorians. Never had I considered the fact that non-alcoholic shots and fake swords, and few drop of blue paint had the potential to brighten me up. We recited our “anthem” and were officially Mercatorians now. But this was not the only fun part. I also won a Mercator T-shirt for remembering the most names, which made me proud. Again, at the welcome back party, we came together, had dinner and talked. This is when I realised that Mercator is indeed a family.

The heart-warming feeling of being in Mercator you get when you step inside Mercator college— people of multiple cultures genuinely smiling to everyone, beautifully designed hammocks, and artworks of previous students decorating our azure walls- is undeniable and captivating. Although I faced difficulties at first, now that I have become part of this big family, I am convinced that it was all worth it, and I am eagerly looking forward to three years of hard work, endless fun and great friendships!


By Priyanka Sharma.


Our Italian Welcome Back Dinner!


Welcome back to Mercator for our Fall Semester 2015, we are so excited to be back and to welcome our old and new Mercats home! Our welcome back dinner was cozy and full of good conversation, and it was great to finally meet as a community and to eat the delicious Italian themed food. We are so excited to welcome Glaucia as a member of our college office team as well as Bharath, and Nico who are the new student assistants. The semester is going to be a fun-filled one as we look forward to the upcoming Jacobs Games and Arts on! Stay tuned!



















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Seventh Mercator Badminton Challenge Cup another All-time Favorite

On March 14, 2014, 26 badminton enthusiasts from the wider Jacobs community competed in the Seventh Mercator Challenge Cup. The event takes place since 2005 under the auspices of Mercator College and drew another sizable crowd this year: The men’s doubles competition had 16 participants; women’s doubles had 10 (largest field ever), while 16 participants played in the mixed doubles contest, most badmintonians competing in two of the contests. The tournament started shortly after 1:30pm and continued to the victory ceremony right after 7pm.
The women’s doubles competition saw Diana Sirbu, a PhD student from chemistry, and Anna Kuznetsova, a BA student of Integrated Social and Cognitive Psychology, winning the bronze medal. The silver medal went to Verginie Ovanesyan, who studies Applied and Computational Mathematics, and Mengting He, who is a master student in International Logistics Management and Engineering. Winners of the Challenge Cup in the women’s doubles competition were Alina Dima, a computer science BSc student, and Usha Lamichhane , veteran participant of the Mercator Challenge Cup and biochemical engineering doctoral student, who had already won the women’s doubles competition three times before, in 2008, 2009, and 2013.
In the absence of one of last year’s winners, former Mercator College Office Manager Samuel Johnson, his partner from last year, Florian Münch, a social entrepreneur ( from Berlin and oldest son of former Mercator college master Klaus Boehnke could only secure the bronze medal for the college this year together with Mercator RA Foad Tehrani Najafian, a chemistry PhD student. Last year’s bronze medalists Ishtiaq Hussain, a doctoral student of chemistry, and Farhan Younas, who studies for the doctorate in biochemical engineering moved up one place this year to winning the silver medal. Former C3 College Master Aidan Boyle and Kim Philipp Jablonski, an alumnus of Applied and Computational Mathematics, came in first, securing the cup once again after having been the winners already in 2013.
Third place in the mixed doubles competition went to Alina Dima and Brennan Bell, a mathematics doctoral student. The winners of 2013, Usha Lamichhane and Sidhant Bom, a doctoral student of physics, who incidentally had won the mixed doubles competition already as an undergraduate at the first cup in 2005, won the silver medal. They only had to succumb to Verginie Ovanesyan and Ishtiaq Hussain, who are the new regents of the mixed doubles discipline.
Congratulations to all winners and thank you for great games to all participants. The Eighth Mercator Challenge Cup is firmly planned to take place in about a year from now. May the event grow further!

Klaus Boehnke

Mercator College would like to thank our first college master Professor Klaus Boehnke for keeping this tradition alive!

Leonie’s Creative Oasis

This room was designed for the studying student, it is clean cut to allow her to focus. With the occasional splash of colour (such as her bed spread which she bought online). Her room still manages to stay interesting through the way she integrates photography and inspiration in collages on her otherwise empty walls. “I think the rooms here are cool, and you just need to add stuff to make it your own,” she says. The room also features stacks of her favourite books, before I leave she recommends Albert Camus’ The Stranger, and The Island by Aldous Huxley. The wall by her desk featuring a mind map is evident of the work she is putting in her thesis.

Leonie is slightly obsessed with Volkswagen toy cars, and her latest one was from her roommate, the toy angel next to it was from her mother. The pink colour scheme continues in her candles, she explains that he prefers the chunky ones to the typical tea candles because they look better and last longer. Leonie also has quite a few cameras as a budding photographer, and her collection even features one from Australia.

Leonie is a true creative soul and her room represents this, from her love of photography, to painting and music.



Off to a good start: Spring 2015

4 days into lessons and the semester is off to a good start, this Friday we have the Italian Night Welcome Back in Mercator College Office, come and make your own pizza and relax from your first week of school. Art On! is also a few weeks away, it is always an exciting chance to showcase the creativity we have in Mercator and to be inspired by the talent around us.

Italian night

As most of you already know, Sammy is no longer with us here in Mercator College, however you can count on support from your student team, the RAs and the College Office Managers of the other colleges. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have an idea, want to contribute or just need some assistance!

Floor Decoration Contest

Mercator Hosts Floor Decoration Contest

Mercator is known for its arts and creativity, so it came as no surprise when we hosted our annual floor decoration contest on the 11th and 12th of October 2014, that the results were quite breath-taking.

The event encouraged students to come out, meet their hall mates and brighten the walls of their college. As a result, walking through MCB2 feels a lot like taking a tour of the world due to their all-encompassing theme, Great Cities of the World. One could also get their daily cultural fix from taking a walk through MCA2, the hall chose to turn their walls into a pretentious art gallery that will leave you smiling.

This of course was all for a good cause, the top 3 winners of the contest were up for prizes that they could use as they choose, we hear that a one or two of our winning halls plan on using the prize to organise more bonding activities, and this could be seen as a great success for an event that initially set out to help students get to know the people they share their hall with.

And The Winners Are…
First Prize- MB2
Second Prize- MC1
Third Prize- MC2

“It was really great to take an active role in getting people together for something fun, as a Residential Assistant, I enjoyed enabling it, creating a theme, and promoting cohesiveness in my hall. We came up with the idea of our idea after first considering a Super Hero theme, and then drifting towards a museum, and finally after everyone had pitched in we settled on the pretentious art gallery. “
Safiya Mann (Floor Representative)