Today is our last full day in Bielefeld. Students said good bye to their teacher at Tandem and had a farewell breakfast together. The plan for tonight is for a German / American slumber party at Wes’ host family’s house. Some of them think it would be cool to stay up the whole night. The experienced (old) guys (Mr. Collins and Mr. Graves) want to go to bed early. We meet at the train station tomorrow morning at 4:30 AM.
It is hard to believe that a month has almost gone by and that we return on Saturday. Tomorrow is a big farewell party with our students, their hosts, and the staff from Tandem, the language institute where our students having been studying. Here are some pictures of Wes and his host family.
Here are pictures of Dan’s and Andrew’s host families.
The weather here in Bielefeld has been less than cooperative this week. Most of the week has seen rain and highs in the upper 50s. The forecast is for warmer temps and sunny skies next week. Here are a few pictures of the city and of Paige and Justin’s host families.
Then next few posts will be of GHS students and their host families here in Bielefeld. We start today with Elizabeth and Adam.
Students attended classes today at our partner school, the Max-Planck-Gymnasium, a university preparatory school in Bielefeld. School let ou at 11:30, so that all of the teachers could go on an outing together. Mr. Collins and Mr. Graves accompanied them. The outing was a 2 hour hike through the Teutoburger Forest, on the edge of which the city of Bielefeld sits. We ended up at a small restaurant, where we grilled. Mr. Collins and Mr. Graves both chuckled at the idea of GHS teachers hiking together through the hills and forest! Probably won’t happen soon. The picutres are from the students visit at our partner school and from the hike. The school is nearing the end of a 7 year building project.
Students participated in a Stadt-Rallye (a city scavenger hunt) in Bielefeld today. They met with their host siblings and formed mixed groups of Germans and Americans and made their way through the city to locate specific landmarks. At each landmark one of the American students would have to stop a passerby and ask them to take a picture of their group as proof that they had found it. This was a bit nerve-wracking for our students, but they did an awesome job. Below are some pictures from the entire group of Americans and Germans and then photos from one of the groups.
We left Salzburg this morning, where the weather was
unseasonably warm, for Bielefeld. Our train to Munich was late,
which meant our train to Hannover was leaving as we pulled in to
the station. We took another train to Nuernberg, where we caught up
with the train we had missed. The trip to Hannover was uneventful,
but we were again late. Fortunately we were able to jump on to the
train to Bielefeld a minute before it left. We arrived safely in
Bielefeld, where we were greeted by our host families.
Today was another beautiful day. Most of us woke up to
church bells ringing, since our hotel is across from a church. We
had a large breakfast at the hotel and then did a city tour in the
form of a scavenger hunt. The students did a great job finding
their way around the city and exploring different sites. In the
afternoon we took a bus to the south edge of the city to visit
Schloss Hellbrunn, a water palace. Students got wet, but it felt
good in the hot weather. Some students then elected to visit the
zoo. We leave tomorrow morning for Bielefeld. It is hard to believe
we have been here for almost a week.
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We arrived yesterday evening after taking a later train because of a cancelation. We took the bus to our hotel, checked in, ate, and went to bed. Today was a beautiful day: sunny and 80 degrees. We took a short train and bus ride south into the mountains. We toured a salt mine, which involved putting on miner’s clothes, riding an open train into the mine, and sliding down several very long wooden slides to reach lower levels of the mine. After our return to Salzburg in the afternoon, students had the rest of the evening free to explore.
After breakfast this morning we boarded a train and headed 2 hours south to the Bavarian Alps to visit Neuschwanstein castle. Many of us discovered on the 30 minute hike up to the castle that we are a little out of shape. After visiting the castle, some students walked a bit further up the mountain to the suspension bridge over the the gorge and waterfall. The weather was perfect: sunny and low 70s. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Upon returning to the city students went to find supper and explore the city again. Tomorrow afternoon we leave for Salzburg.
Things felt much better this morning after a decent amount
of sleep. Several students woke up at 3 am and couldn’t sleep
anymore, but still felt better with at least 4 hours of sleep.
After eating a typical German breakfast at the hotel we went on a
tour of the city. This included seeing several churches, the
cathedral, surfers on the Isar river, the pedestrian zone and the
Marienplatz. We climbed the tower of the St. Peterskirche for a
great view of the city and then had lunch at the Viktualienmarkt, a
large, open-air market in the middle of the city. After lunch we
took a 20 minute train ride to the city of Dachau to visit the
concentration camp memorial site. We returned to the hotel to rest
and then went for dinner at the Hofbraeuhaus, the largest beer hall
in Muenchen, where we at typical Bavarian food again and listened
to the oompah band play traditional tunes.
Today began in the airplane on the flight from Atlanta to Duesseldorf. Some of us tried to sleep, while others watched movies, ate terrible airplane food, or tried to sleep. We landed early in Duesseldorf and then boarded the train for Muenchen. We sat for 5 hours on the high speed train and arrived at 3:15 in the afternoon in Muenchen. We walked 10 minutes to our hotel, checked in, cleaned up and headed to the center of the city for typical Bavarian fate for supper. Dan claimed it was the best food he has ever eaten. We also helped Paige celebrate her 17th birthday. We returned to our hotel and relaxed and prepared to sleep after over 24 hours.
Our group left this morning at 7:30 from GHS. Mrs. Eaton was kind enough to drive us to the airport in Chicago. We checked our bags, went through security, and boarded our flight to Atlanta. It was Justin’s and Dan’s first time to fly, but things went well. We are now hanging out in Atlanta airport waiting to board our flight to Duesseldorf. It will be a 9 hour flight.
We left Bielefeld this morning at 7:00 AM and travel to the airport in Duesseldorf. There were a lot of tears as we left. After arriving in Helsinki and waiting on our luggage for almost 2 hours, we took a bus to our hotel and then took a train into the city and met Sonja, a former exchange student from Finland, who was in Goshen 2 years ago. We ate dinner and then she gave us a tour of the city. We returned to the hotel at about 12:45 AM. It was just starting to get a little darker. Most of the city pictures you see were taken at about 11 PM!
Today was the last day of class at Tandem. Students had breakfast with their teacher Jessica and then watched a German film. There are suddenly a lot of mixed feelings about returning home. Students are excited to see their families in Goshen and share about their time in Germany. On the other hand, they are very sad to leave their German families and the city of Bielefeld. Kerstin Harms, co-director of Tandem put it best. She said, “students will be crying with one eye and laughing with the other”. Our train for the airport in Duesseldorf leaves on Sunday morning at 6:59 AM. We are looking forward to spending some time together again as a group in Helsinki. Mr. Graves is NOT looking forward to Noah taking one more close up picture of him. Noah claims that nearly 50% of his pictures are close ups of Mr. Graves. The whole group is eager to see more of Finland this time than just the airport.
Below are pictures of Dara and her host.
Students had language classes this morning at the Max-Planck-Gymnasium, the school with which we have a partnership. Students had a chance to see the school, although things are currently in transition. The school is in the middle of a 5 year renovation project. Students also had a chance to see Bielefeld students who have visited GHS in the past two years.