Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The next day, we visited the Jewish Museum (designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind, whose design for the Freedom Towers was also accepted as plans for the memorial for September 11th) and it made for one serious history lesson. Our students behaved wonderfully and with the utmost respect and curiousity - nothing else a teacher could ask for. Afterwards, we walked to Checkpoint Charlie, where the students were free to eat lunch and roam about. Afterwards we walked further along the main roads and eventually made our way to the Reichstag (our parliament building), but not before stopping at significant points of interest, such as the newly premiered outdoor installation "Topography of Terror" and the Holocaust Memorial. Finally, we reached the Reichstag and climbed atop the fascinating dome and caught a wonderful view of the city. It was a fortune that we did not have to wait long in any lines, because as we were climbing the dome, the fan mile was already filling with hundreds of thousands of people in anticipation of the Spain/Germany semi-final game. We opted to watch the game near our hostel, but not before we were decked out in German shirts, war paint and flags and twigs of oak trees. We do not have to go into the details of how the game ended - the German octupus Paul had warned us all. There were some (many) tears. At this point, we ought to congratulate our sister program in Spain on becoming the World Cup Champion of 2010.
Thursday was a day of walking. We basically walked about the entire city and sort of let our interests guide us. Just by chance, inspired by curiosity, we enountered one of the best exhibitions (motions and art) we could have hoped for, while visiting the Bugatti store to oggle at the most expensive cars in the world. Afterwards we picniced in the city and eventually made our way to the Berlin Cathedral. This stop was especially interesting to many students, because it was a Lutheran cathedral and not Catholic (at this point, they've seen a lot of Churches) and also houses a crypt beneath it, which is home to several Prussian kings and queens, about whom we've learned in our classes. We also climbed on top of the dome and enjoyed yet another amazing view of the city. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day.
We eventually made our way back to the central station, where we grabbed some "grub" and got on the train. We anticipated that everyone would be exhausted and fall asleep - wrong! They are like Energizer bunnies, they keep going and going and going...
Berlin was truly a wonderful trip and so much fun. Some even said that they left their hearts in Berlin and plan on returning. What a success!
For now we wish you a wonderful time until your kids are back...there is only little time left and the next week will be bitter-sweet, "Parting is such sweet surrow..."
All the best from Krefeld,
The Krefeld Team and Co.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Yep, it's time again. We are currently enduring a sweltering heat-wave, but that hasn't slowed us down.
We started the week off with a classic game of mini-golf - thankfully under a canopy of thick oak leaves and some ice-cream to cool us off. On Tuesday, we planned our regular creative activities, during which time we rehearsed for our small poetry jam and performance of the American National Anthem, with which we plan to grace (why are anthems always the most difficult to sing?) our host families come tomorrow at our slightly-delayed-but-just-as-special Fourth of July party. Perhaps, today, on the 4th, our students are remembering home and missing family and friends with a little less inhibition....
On Wednesday, it was finally time for our long distance field trip to Aachen - our first of three major trips. In our courses, the students had learned about some major historical figures that helped define Europe, most significantly Karl the Great (or Charlemagne, as you might know him) and Barbarossa. The most dramatic venture was to Aachen's Dom/Cathedral and the Schatzkammer (treasure vault). Our students' jaws were dragging along on the floor - they just couldn't conceive the treasures they saw, and to stand so close to Karl himself! It was so wonderful to see the students listen attentively to our (fabulous) tour-guide, take photographs and thoroughly enjoy learning about German culture and history. The students really observed the fine details, too, and independently took note of shell-damage on the outside walls of the cathedral - a sad reminder of World War II. They are really putting the pieces together - a demonstration of their maturity and sensibility for Germany's complicated history. Our trip to Aachen was a wonderful preparation for our three-day trip to the nation's capital, Berlin, this Tuesday.
We can only venture to guess what the students did this past weekend, but our best bet is that it involved ice-cream, water and the World Cup. Once again, our boys (yes, we, like the rest of the nation, claim them to be of us), celebrated a major victory. Yet another four goal game, this time against Argentina. Germany will enter the semi-finals against Spain (our highest competition) on Wednesday, when we are in Berlin. We hope that you will be watching these last two games and cheer on for Germany - it is a comforting thought to watch such a spirited and positive sport, knowing that across the great pond, your loved one is watching, too.
Well, this will have to do for now. There will be lots to tell after our trip to Berlin, but we only want to provide you with the guarentee that your children our enjoying a great time, without robbing them of their stories to tell you when they return home.
We send you the warmest greetings from hot Germany,
The Krefeld Team & Co.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Dear parents/guardians, from now on we will post updates about our time in Krefeld and Germany once a week - so check the blog regularly!
Friday, June 4, 2010
One of the most popular foods you will find in Germany is “ein Döner”. This delicious and addictive meal can be bought for a few Euros in almost every city in Germany. Although based on Turkish cuisine, the “Döner” as we know it today was create by Turkish immigrants in Germany.
Traditional döner is made from milk-fed lamb but a healthier alternative—tavuk (chicken) döner—is popular as well. Today it's not unusual to see twin döners, lamb and chicken, sizzling side by side. For all the vegetarians among us, don’t worry, there are alternatives available that are equally delicious. In addition to a choice of meats, one can also select various ingredients ranging from yoghurt, red & white cabbage, cucumber, feta cheese, and much more.
To honor this delicious food, the IU Honors Program has established the “Dönertag”. Every Thursday (or Donnerstag – get it?) during lunch, we go and visit the local Dönershop around the corner. Although everyone has to pay for his or her own lunch that day, it has been extremely popular – some students even ate Döner everyday (not recommended).
Check out the video by Wazzy Bourdain.
For other popular ‘fast-foods’ - in addition to the ones you know (e.g., McDonald) - check out “Currywurst mit Pommes”…
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
On Tuesday afternoon, we will hold a special ceremony to celebrate the honor code. Each student and instructor will sign the German honor code demonstrating that he/she fully understands and complies by it.
As a reminder, you are required to speak German the moment our plane touches down in Düsseldorf (but you can start earlier if you want). You will be able to speak English again once the plane lifts off at the end of the program AND when visiting schools in Germany. In the past, English teachers have asked to have native speakers contribute in English classes. ;-)
Der Ehrenkodex – Krefeld 2010 “einfache Version”
- Wir sind in Deutschland um unser Deutsch zu verbessern.
- Wir kommunizieren nur auf Deutsch!
- Wir sind mit allen gut befreundet und helfen uns, aber wir suchen keinen festen Partner!
- Wir sind gesund. Wir trinken keinen Alkohol und rauchen nicht.
- Wir denken nach, bevor wir etwas machen und wir fragen um Erlaubnis!
- Wir sind zuverlässig, - in der Schule und in der Freizeit!
- Wir respektieren unsere Gastfamilie!
- Wir verreisen nur mit der Gastfamilie oder mit der Gruppe und nie allein!
- Wir sind fleißig und folgen dem Ehrenkodex.
- Nach dem Programm werde ich ein Deutschfan in der Schule sein, denn Deutsch ist am besten!
Honor Code – Krefeld 2010: (english version for parents)
- We are in Germany to improve our German.
- We communicate in German only!
- We are good friends with everybody and we help each other but we are not looking for a partner!
- We are healthy. We don’t drink alcohol and we don’t smoke!
- We think before we do something and we ask for permission!
- We are reliable – in school and during free time!
- We respect our host family!
- We travel only with our host family or with the group and never alone!
- We are hard-working and follow the Honors Code.
- We will be a fan of German after the program because German is the best!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
- The weather can vary from rainy and cold to very hot, so try to bring clothes that can be layered. Last year, we faced cooler weather in the beginning and people were wearing sweaters and light jackets. Although it might be unheard of for you due to the conditions here in Indiana, you might have to don a sweater in June!!! And a light rain jacket will keep you dry and warm.
- Bring some form of entertainment that you can enjoy on your own (iPod, book, drawing utensils) and with the group (cards, Frisbee, chess). There will be down-time when waiting for trains or flying in the plane (8+ hours) and it is a good opportunity to make friends and get to know everyone. Of course, German word games are always encouraged…
- When packing, roll your clothing to save space and avoid wrinkles.
- Carry your passport and money on you when travelling. We also recommend that you bring a print-out of your itinerary if you plan to travel to Chicago by plane. Domestic flights tend to charge for your luggage but if you can check it through to Düsseldorf, you might avoid these fees! More money to spend on souvenirs!
- Don’t overpack! You can only check one free piece of luggage (up to 44 lbs) and you will have to get it through customs (and to our bus). So, leave towels (too bulky!), bed sheets (won’t fit!), hair dryer (different voltage), and anything you can find in Germany at home. Also, somehow one always brings more things back…
- In addition to your instructors cell phone numbers, write down your host family’s address. You can show it to cab drivers should you have trouble communicating in German…
And finally, ‘pack’ a positive attitude, your curiosity, and sense of humor. ;-)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
- Eine Fahrradtour / A bike trip:
Riding a bike is a popular activity in Krefeld – for business and pleasure. If you like to explore the beautiful countryside of the lower Rhine valley (it’s very flat!) and add a little exercise, try a bike tour through endless fields, vibrant forests, along the river Rhine, and to the Hülserberg. Krefeld was recently named one of the most bike-friendly towns in Germay! Click here for more info.
- Nach Holland / to the Netherlands
While you are there, why not check out the Dutch culture as well. Krefeld is close to the Dutch border and it takes about 30 minutes by car to go to Venlo. A popular place to go shopping on the weekend, you will notice that it only takes a short distance to visit another country and hear another language. Click here for more info.
- Schlösser & Landhäuser / Castles & Mansions
Interested in history? Well, you have plenty to explore when in Krefeld! Be it the Romans, the Middle Ages, or something more recent, each period left their historic mark and buildings which are often carefully restored. Although we will visit Burg Linn with the group, there is so much more to see. Also, the Neanderthal (yeah, the one where the early humans come from) is not too far away. Click here for more info.
- Kulturstadt 2010 Essen / culture capital 2010 Essen
Each year, one European city is named the culture capital and this year it is Essen (about 45 minutes away). Throughout the year, but especially during the summer, special events take place to show the cultural heritage of the area. Essen is known for its industrious past, such as mining and steel production (maybe similar to Pittburgh), and one can visit these facilities. I even heard that they will close the Autobahn on certain weekend days, so that people can stroll along and enjoy walking on one of Germany’s famous highways. Click here for more info.
Please remember, there is a good chance that host families will ask you what you would like to do. Don’t be shy and tell them about your wishes - even if you think it might not be polite! Without trying to stereotype anyone, Germans tend to be a bit more direct. They will let you know if a trip is possible or not…
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Similar to large sporting events in the US, it is quite common to socialize when watching matches with friends and families. In addition, many public locations will show important games on large screens and it is not uncommon to be in the company of hundreds of people. If you have the chance, go there with your friends and jump right in. It’s an experience you won’t forget…
Although you will receive a crash course in German soccer culture on location, it will help a great deal if you are familiar with the game, the teams, and basic customs. Knowing the name of each player on the German team is a must!
ZDF (Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen), one of the major German TV stations, created a special website covering South Africa and the World Cup just for kids. Check it out when you have the time. It contains information about the German team but also explores the culture and customs of the host nation.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We have been received several questions and emails about potential gifts for host families (and there were also discussions on Facebook). Well, it’s a good questions and not an easy one answer! On one hand, we would like to be thankful to the family for hosting us and show how much we appreciate them. On the other hand, there is only so much one can take along and some ideas might just not be practical (and they also receive a small stipend…).
Thankfully, while Germans like to receive gifts (who doesn’t?), the cultural significance of giving gifts is not as far-reaching as in other countries or continents, for example, in Asia. Based on our experience, we found that a small but personal gift is often more appreciated than a large, expensive one (it’s the thought that counts!). We understand it can be tiresome to think about and find such a gift but maybe try to bring something that will remind the family of you when the program is over.
Typical “American” products, such as certain candy or a t-shirt from your high school, are also great ideas and easy to transport. With Memorial Day this weekend, there might be a good opportunity to pick up small trinkets with an American theme that you can hand out to anyone you would like, for example, I got a set of pencils that have the American flag at Target. Again, it’s more the thought that counts…
Of course, you can simply ask your host family if they would like to have a certain gift, especially if they have hosted before. This is not an issue with Germans and you won’t have to fear any cultural consequences. You will see that Germans are pretty direct… ;-)
Check out a great video on different candies in Germany and the US. (FYI – While the content of the video is very informative and useful, please note that the intended target audience might not be high school students. So, check with your parents…)
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
First of all, you and your friends are highly encouraged to explore Krefeld. Don’t forget that you have some time after classes and activities before dinner. As long as you and your host family have not made different plans, you have some time to spare and fully immerse yourself in the culture. Popular activities in the past have been shopping, eating ice cream, biking, hiking, visiting museums, or just getting together with other students and Germans. In addition, this year we will have the soccer World Cup and there will be several events going on as well. Get ready for ‘public viewing’!!!!
Feel free to speak to us about any suggestions since we have been in Krefeld before and know popular places.
A couple tips;
- Do as the locals do – to fully understand another culture, there is nothing better to participate in the daily lives
- Help with shores –you will be surprised how much you will learn be going grocery shopping, doing the laundry, etc. And your hosts will appreciate it...
- Communicate your plans with your host family – they might have made special plans just for you (and made arrangement)! If you run late, let them know. Last year, the majority of students received a local cell phone – make sure you know how it works and who to call.
Click here for a calendar for events in Krefeld (there is more!).
We will post more about suggestions for day trips…
Das Krefeld 2010 - Team
Monday, May 24, 2010
With exactly two weeks to our departure, we want to start using the blog (http://krefeld2010.blogspot.com/) to share information about our upcoming trip. We will cover topics ranging from our trip (e.g., latest weather developments, events happening at our destinations), to useful tips & tricks (e.g., traveling, making friends) and fun facts about Germany and the US. So, keep on coming back…
Feel free to comment; however, please remember that this is a public space (so send any individual questions you might have to the IU Honors Program).
Das Krefeld 2010 – Team
Today, we start with a little history… You might wonder why, of all places, we are going to Krefeld. Actually the city played a significant role in US – German relations:
German immigration in the New World began on an organized basis in 1683 when 33 German from Krefeld arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Concord. They were looking for religious and political freedom and came to Philadelphia through the auspices of William Penn and a German named Franz Daniel Pastorius. The settles called the community they built Germantown which in 1854 became a part of Philadelphia. Seven million German emigrants have come to the USA. Between 1820 and 1920 alone, more than six million German immigrants arrived many of them farmers and artisans. If you have German ancestry, there is a good chance that members of your family emigrated during that time.
Do you know your ancestry?
More info at here.
Moeller, J., Adolph, W. R., Hoechert-Alden, G., & Lalande II, J. F. (2000). Deutsch heute: Die Deutschen in Amerika. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Check out the following websites for some ideas as to what foods you might encounter while abroad.
On foods in North Rhine-Westphalia (That is the federal state, in which Krefeld is located):
Sauerbraten! One of the most popular and famous German foods in America!
German food in general.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Our very first class photo!