Friday, June 28, 2013


Our trip to Berlin was mid week from Tuesday - Thursday.  (June 25-27) Things got going very early on Tuesday morning because we had to all meet at the train station at 5:30 am!  The kids were very sleepy but in good spirits! We had about a 7 hour long journey ahead of us.

We arrived to our hostel in the afternoon on Thursday and got settled into our rooms.  Most rooms were shared 4 girls or 4 boys to a room (each room also with a bathroom).  The hostel was actually in Potsdam and each morning we had breakfast and were able to make lunch packets (sandwiches, fruit, etc.) to take with us.  We had very clean and helpful accommodation!

The first night we split up into groups- One to the Holocaust memorial, one to Check Point Charlie, etc.  Later, we all met back up for the show that night: The Blue Man Group! The kids really enjoyed the interactive show! 

On Wednesday we had some free time at the Potsdam Residence - Schloss Sanssouci.  There was a beautiful garden and the kids enjoyed the NONrainy weather :).  Then, we had two hours in the Pergamon museum, which is a very special museum to Berlin.  Part of ancient Turkish marketplace and the Ishtar Gate replica can be seen here.  We ended our day with a visit to the Reichstag and the Parliament.  Here we had a special meeting with Krefeld's representative and then had a tour of the Reichstag.  The dome on top of the building might have been their favorite part.  You get quite the view of the city up there!

Our last day in Berlin was the most sunny (even though it was still cloudy!) and on this day we took a historical bike tour around the city and it was a blast!  We rode all around some of the most famous places where the Berlin wall once stood.  I think the kids really got a lot out of this tour!
Here is part of the group in front of the Brandenburg Gate on the first night.  Boy was it rainy!!!

Another photo of some students at the Holocaust memorial.

We were also able to visit Schloss Sanssouci in Potsdam on Wednesday Morning.

One museum that we all visited as a group was the Pergamon Museum in Berlin's famous "Museum Insel".

Bike tour!

We found some Russian spies! 

Monday, June 24, 2013


Today we participated in a theatre workshop after school. We sat in a big circle and had to imitate one another, play impromptu games, and use only German! (Or just our emotions!) :)

The students really enjoyed our host, who made sure everyone got a chance to be up and moving! Their energy lit up the room and was contagious!  Everyone is also invited back to the Kresch Theatre other evenings to see an upcoming production, if they wish. 

We leave for Berlin very early tomorrow morning. In fact, we have to be at the train station at 5:30am!!! But, we have a lot planned for this group and I know we will have a great time!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Greetings to all of our faithful readers,

Today was our second day with classes and we had an opportunity to really take in some German culture - Der Markt or the local farmers market.  We gave our students a scavenger hunt to discover names of new foods, weights and measurements, how to use their German to ask about prices, and how to work in teams.

I've attached some photos of a few groups and then a group picture on the bottom.

What was really the talk of the group today - Das Wetter.  Have you looked at a weather report for our area yet? VERY HOT!  It has been 92 degrees Fahrenheit at the highest today.  This is not what we were expecting! :)

We finished our scavenger hunt, had our classes, took an hour for lunch, and then took the bus a few stops to the city forest (park).  I think the kids really got a great 'sauna' experience when they stepped onto a crowded bus with no AC. :)  As soon as we exited the bus, the fresh air greeted us at the park and we were able to play soccer, go jogging, practice volleyball, etc.  We were drinking lots of water and sunscreen was also available.  We hope to have Sport 2x a week.  

Tomorrow the students will be going along with their host sibling(s) to school.  This is a fabulous opportunity to see German schools, whether they will be attending a Kindergarten or a Gymnasium (High School/College prep).  On Friday, we will be having a special breakfast with the Mayor of the town and the students will have the chance to ask the mayor any questions that they wish.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Greetings from Krefeld, DE!

June 14th - our first full day in Krefeld!

We started things off with a bang @10am this morning - by having a scan-tron and listening comprehension test!  I think the kids were really excited about that ;).  The same test will be given at the end of the program and the data then will show how much their language skills have improved.

More action happened as we then explored the city as a group.  The kids are finding their way around Krefeld for the first time.  They are determining the best way to get from our school to the grocery store, or from their house to school, in their own way, making their own decisions and being independent.  Of course, they may encounter a few wrong turns along the way, but this really forces them to learn the layout of their new (temporary) home.  This is a great sign about this group of kids - learning lessons on day one, exercising their autonomy, pushing forward, and not giving up when something stands in their way.  Blooming where you are planted is a great lesson to learn as a teenager!

After some free time either eating a packed lunch from the host families or purchasing something from the local bakeries, we all rode on the S-bahn (street car) to the Zoo.  For many students this was their first street car/tram experience.  All students were provided a public transportation card that allows them to travel through Krefeld and even all the way to Duesseldorf, without having to purchase any other ticket.

I've included some photos of some zoo animals as well as their German names.  The zoo was well maintained and a meaningful mini-field trip.  These types of group outings are really helping us get used to public transport travel, how best to function as a group of 34, and function in our smaller support groups.  It is great practice for upcoming Berlin, Koeln, and Aachen excursions.

Here are Adrienne, Annie, and Elizabeth in front of the parrot cage (der Papagei). 
Die Kamele

Das Nashorn

Here are Sean, Eric, and Sean watching the Sea Lions (Seehuende).

More later!