Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Final Countdown.

Dear All,

the last days are here. Last week we tried to jam in as much as we could. Our students insisted on living in denial about the impending departure - they could not come to terms with leaving friends and new family behind. Together, we powered through a busy week, lots of practice for our final recital, finalizing our courses, and as a finale one last, wonderful trip to Cologne.

This trip was marked by our students' independence. They were so at ease with themselves, each other and their language skills. I think, they've all required German sarcasm (believe, it does exist). It was wonderful to watch them.

While in Cologne, we enjoyed a cathedral and city tour. After a short break and snack, we climbed the Cologne Cathedral....500 something steps, you'll have to ask the students, they counted each step. Exhausted and over-heated, we finally made our way back on the ground, where the students did like the natives and jumped into the great fountain behind the cathedral. This was one of our random and unplanned adventures, which turned out to be a total hit.

As a group, we then walked the Roman ruins - an old street, a mosaic, and some city walls. Our students then decided between visiting two museums, The Roman-Germanic Museum and KOLUMBA, the museum of the Cologne Diocese. After a sufficient amount of intellectual stimulation, our students had some free time to explore the city for themselves and do their last minute shopping for souvenirs and gifts for home. Don't be surprised, if your gifts are all from Cologne, ha!

Usually our students enjoy the weekends away from school and teachers, but on Saturday, the host families organised and sponsored a Beach Volley Ball tournament for the kids and their host siblings. The students also made plans with each other and their families, every moment was booked up.

By the time we reached Monday, our students attitude had changed. They now seem prepared for their departure and are looking forward to their return home and seeing their loved ones. They feel secure that their relationships and friendships in Germany will last and that they will visit Germany again.

Tonight it is already time for our Farewell Party at Castle Linn. Our students have rehearsed for many hours to present the host families with a wonderful programm, which they planned themselves as a sincere thank-you. The students also planned an after-party at one of the host parents' house and a pajama sleep-over party for the girls.

The countdown goes,

you missed them. We will miss them.

Until soon, home, in good ole Indiana.


The Krefeld Team

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"I left my heart in Berlin"

Dear All,

our Fourth of July festivities were a huge success. All host families were in attendance and contributed to a gorgeous potluck feast. Even the students prepared home-style dishes and most host parents were careful to honor the colors red, white and blue. It was wonderful to see (and eat). The students serenaded the audience with the American national anthem, some "minimalist" poetry and carols - we really had a large time.

That night our students were supposed to get rest, because we were due at the central train station in the wee hours of the morning, in order to embark on our three-day journey to Berlin. Regardless of the little sleep our students apparently had, they were so excited throughout the four-hour train ride to our nation's capital. It was a blast. Upon our arrival, we first checked into our youth hostel on the Wannsee lake (simply gorgeous, with sail boats and a beautiful view) and settled into our rooms. Soon after, we hopped back on the train on our way into the center of the city and boarded a city-tour bus that took us around the entire city. It gave us a great overview and first impressions of one of the largest cities in Europe. Afterwards, our students had some free time and liberty to explore the area around the Potsdamer Platz for themselves. As a finale to the long day, we enjoyed a show by the Blue Man Group. It was a hit and the students were howling with amusement. Afterwards they confessed that this was one of their favorite experiences in Germany.

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

Hot Summer!

Dear All,

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

Summer's here!

Dear All,

we've just about reached the halfway mark, and our students are already heavy-hearted with the thought that our time here must eventually come to an end. We've been busy and time just seems to go by faster and faster, like when one approaches the end of a toilet paper role (ok, this is an inside joke, our students have to explain. Klopapier!).

Gorgeous weather has finally reached Germany, ranging somewhere up in the lower 30 degrees Celsius, but without the humidity that seems to currently be plaguing you folks in Indiana. We've made good use of the weather thus far, and last Monday our students either enjoyed the public pool with mega slides (ok, admittedly, it is no Holiday World), or a classic soccer match at the park. Come Tuesday, we were busy doing our creative activities, which continued through to Thursday. Wednesday night was very important, because Germany played a qualifying match to move onto the next round. Just yesterday, we played a historic match against England, and won 4-1/2. Next up is the match this Wednesday against Argentina . It is so lovely to see that all of our students have really gotten involved in the whole spirit of these World games. We really hope that Germany will endure to the final round, and even more that they will ultimately win the Cup. It would make for such an awesome memory, "Yea, I was there, when Germany won the World Cup in 2010...."

On Friday, we finally visited Castle Linn as a group. We've teased our dear student Lynne for some time, that we would be visiting her castle very soon. So when we finally arrived, our students kneeled before her and she was crowned with a crown from the 1 Euro store. It was all very funny. The castle itself was a the perfect opportunity to apply some of the culture we had learned about. The castle originates from the 1000s, and is deeply marked by significant historical episodes, such as the crusades (Barbarossa), mediaeval culture, the Thirty Years' War, and modern times. Everyone was fascinated, and especially enjoyed climbing the castle tower to enjoy the panoramic view of Krefeld and beyond.

The weekend appeared to have been eventful, many travelled beyond Krefeld to cities such as Hamburg or Muenster, the namesake of Munster, Indiana. Our students are very independent, but value the time they share with their peers and host-families, and so the appropriately manage their own time, by planning trips to the city center, enjoying a public viewing of the World Cup, eating German food (none have been tempted by McDonald's, though everybody seems to be craving brownies!), and much more.

Today, Monday, we enjoyed the weather on the edge of town by playing some mini-golf. Everyone enjoyed the game, even when they semed to rack up the points. Each student played with good humor and were even able to laugh at themselves - it seems they've all overcome their inhibitions, something they had to do from the start in order to fully immerse in German.

For this week, we are looking forward to our field trip to Aachen to visit the Dom, Charlemagne and all the other gothic goodies. It is going to be a decadent feast of historic delights.

Until soon, and all the best from us,

The Krefeld Team and Co.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Busy Kinder!

Dear All,

time seems to just fly by. Yet another week has passed and there is so much to remember. While our students are always busy getting to know their host families better, we also take the initiative to bond as a group of peers and instructors. Though the German National Soccer team has since lost a match against Serbia (but not all is lost - check out tomorrow's match against Ghana), we were still very much elated on last Monday, when we played a friendly game of soccer ourselves. Our teams were appropriately named "Deut" and "Schland" - all in the spirit of getting acquainted with Germany. We also played on the playground (very interesting, since there is a lot of curious and strange equipment there that had to be experienced), rode some paddle boats, hiked around the city forest and ate ice cream in a gorgeous beer garten. The weather was wonderful and no one wanted the day to end.

On thursday, our students joined their host siblings or those of their friends on a visit to a German school. Surely, it must have been a curious experience, but it seems they may enjoy our school just a wee better! :) After all, we are a special bunch and do an entirely different kind of learning. During this time, we instructors had a relaxing Kaffeeklatsch with our students' host parents, just to get some feed-back on the progress of our students. The responsive was overwhelmingly positive and most parents discussed opportunities for joint family activities. We are so proud that our students are described as being polite, intelligent and independent. What else can we ask for? We need not emphasize that during all of this, our students' German skills are constantly improving.

On friday, we had the pleasure of meating the vice mayor at the city hall. We were well received and, in our honor, the city of Krefeld raised a special flag of red-white-blue. Our vice-mayor stressed the importance of the relationship between the US and Krefeld, and Germany in general. Our students represented the US with poise and grace and asked very mature and political questions. Once again, a successful event! We also were in the newspaper, with the title: "The Indians are here!"

After Friday's classes, our students were free to begin their weekend. Most of them ran home just in time to tune in on the (sad!) game between Germany and Serbia. Others opted to join us on an excursion to the zoo. We didn't miss one minute of the game either, since we tuned in via the radio. See, old technology still works! The zoo was absolutely lovely and we even got to feed and touch the elephants.

The weekend activites were filled with many private activities. Some students visited the Netherlands and Roman ruins in Xanten, while the majority celebrated Hannah's birthday at her parents' house. Good times were had by all. We know, we've seen the pictures!

There is still plenty to report, but it will have to wait for just a day. It is late and tomorrow is a school day, ha!

We wish you all the best and can relay the message from all of your children: "We miss you!"


The Krefeld Team.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cup of Good Hope

Dear All,

now it has nearly been a week, and we had some fun these past days. Classes are in full force, and our dear students are fully engaged in topics of culture, grammar, conversation and literature. This weekend has been wisely used to cure our jet-lag, but also to get acquainted with the German culture. At the center of all lies the awesome performance of our German national team in the FIFA World Cup game against Australia in Durban, South Africa (4-0 if you are interested, ha!). Today our students still had smudges of "war-paint" in colors of black, red and gold on their cheeks, and eagerly shared their stories of their screening sessions with their host families and friends. Watching the game is a family affair! We anticipate many more opportunities to spend time together as a new extended family. After our regular courses, we have organized extracurricular activities. On our usual schedule we have creative outlets, like choir and theater, and today we made a special visit to the KRESCH theater here in Krefeld (a theater for and by young actors of Krefeld) to do some improvisational theater. We all had a blast and some full hearted belly laughs. Our students are so creative and know no inhibitions. It really brought us together as a group. Tomorrow we plan to spend the afternoon at the city park to play some sports and do some other nature oriented activities. This is something we've been hoping to do as the weather has been improving. We will update soon with more photos and stories as the week progresses.

We send you the best from Krefeld,

The Krefeld Team.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Steps...

Dear All,

we are sure that you craving some news, so here it goes! We've made it through the first 24 hours just fine. We met Wednesday morning (I write this at 1 am on Thursday, German time) at the VHS (our instruction site), to begin our placement examination. It took some time, but while individual students had to undergo the "oh-so-terrifying" oral exam (it was a breeze, our students did great!), the others bonded over some card games, frisbee, and lunch. We, too, partook in some card games and were mightily impressed by our students' communication skills and lack of inhibitions- imagine explaining the rules of a card game in a foreign language! One can call that an accomplishment!

When we finally wrapped up our last formalities, Peter took us on a city tour of his native Krefeld. There were a lot of cameras! Around 3 p.m., we finally made our way back to campus and the students were free to do as they please. Many of them explored the city on their own (straight for the stores, I think!) or had made prior arrangements with their host families. All in all, they all made a very comfortable impression.

Tomorrow we begin our first proper courses and activities. We will soon follow-up with more updates!

If you are on facebook, we encourage you to join our official fanpage to view some first pictures. We will try to find an alternative to facebook if there is a demand.

Best greetings from Krefeld,

The Krefeld Team.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Departure Day

Dear students, today is the big day - the Honors Program in Krefeld starts with your departure to Germany! We hope you are all as excited as we are - we are going to have a wonderful time in Germany! Have a save trip! And remember, German-only once the plane touches ground.

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

Der Döner!

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

Der Ehrenkodex

As you know, the honor code plays a significant role in the overall success of the program. Without going into details, the honor code helps you to make the most of your participation, build trust between us as a group and our host families, and also create a safe and comfortable environment. By now you should be more than familiar with the honor code (i.e. website, orientation, you signed it); however, we created a simple German version that we will use and refer when on location (we can only speak German). Please review the code below and clarfiy any unknow words since you will be held accountable. For your parents, who don’t speak German, and we also include the direct translation. You will see, we tried to simplify the wording without losing the meaning of the honor code.

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”

  1. Wir sind in Deutschland um unser Deutsch zu verbessern.
  2. Wir kommunizieren nur auf Deutsch!
  3. Wir sind mit allen gut befreundet und helfen uns, aber wir suchen keinen festen Partner!
  4. Wir sind gesund. Wir trinken keinen Alkohol und rauchen nicht.
  5. Wir denken nach, bevor wir etwas machen und wir fragen um Erlaubnis!
  6. Wir sind zuverlässig, - in der Schule und in der Freizeit!
  7. Wir respektieren unsere Gastfamilie!
  8. Wir verreisen nur mit der Gastfamilie oder mit der Gruppe und nie allein!
  9. Wir sind fleißig und folgen dem Ehrenkodex.
  10. Nach dem Programm werde ich ein Deutschfan in der Schule sein, denn Deutsch ist am besten!

Honor Code – Krefeld 2010: (english version for parents)

  1. We are in Germany to improve our German.
  2. We communicate in German only!
  3. We are good friends with everybody and we help each other but we are not looking for a partner!
  4. We are healthy. We don’t drink alcohol and we don’t smoke!
  5. We think before we do something and we ask for permission!
  6. We are reliable – in school and during free time!
  7. We respect our host family!
  8. We travel only with our host family or with the group and never alone!
  9. We are hard-working and follow the Honors Code.
  10. We will be a fan of German after the program because German is the best!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Was soll ich packen?

Although Christiane’s email and the Handbook already talked about the ‘packing list’, we want to provide a few additional guidelines that might help you decide what bring along (or not). As usual, these are just recommendations – although each of us has spent significant time in Germany. ;-)

- 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

“Was sollen wir machen?” - Teil 2

With many families traveling this Memorial Day, we continue our post on things to do in and around Krefeld focusing on longer trips that can take a half or full day. Of course, there is an abundance of opportunities matching diverse interests and we can only mention a few. So, make sure to keep your eyes open and communicate with your friends and host family to learn more about ongoing events in the area. Also, make sure to keep expectations reasonable and understand that your host family might have to make special arrangements…

- 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

Fußball WM 2010 in Süd Afrika: Deutschland vor, noch ein Tor…

Among the many extraordinary experiences you will encounter this summer, you will have the unique opportunity to celebrate the soccer World Cup which is held from June 11 to July 11 in South Africa. Even if you are not a soccer fan, there is no escape and you will be carried away by the compassion and joy of this event … especially when Germany wins it all this year!

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

Geschenke schenken?

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

"Was sollen wir machen?"

When in Krefeld, you probably will hear and ask the question “Was sollen wir machen?” very frequently. Although we will have organized activities (i.e. sports, theater, choir, etc.) and trips (i.e. Aachen, Berlin, Köln), there will be plenty of time for you to explore Germany and German culture outside of these. So, what to do during your spare time? Being unfamiliar with the environment and not exactly knowing where things are can be a challenge to get the most of this program. (Please don’t say “Das ist mir egal” – it can be interpreted negatively!)

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…

Bis bald,

Das Krefeld 2010 - Team

Monday, May 24, 2010

Noch zwei Wochen...

Hallo Krefelder,

With exactly two weeks to our departure, we want to start using the blog ( 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).

Bis bald,

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

Mmm, ich habe Hunger!

In Germany, when we think of May, we think of asparagus season, or Spargelsaison or Spargelzeit in German. We are not talking about the flimsy green strings wrapped in bacon, but real white asparagus smothered in Hollandaise sauce. In Germany asparagus harvest reaches its peak in the weeks of May and June. So when you guys arrive in Germany, the season will be in full force. During this time, Germans eat more than their fill of asparagus - nearly everyday - and eventually get sick of it. Actually, 118 000 tons of white asparagus are consumed in Germany each year - almost all during six weeks! Be open minded and give it a try. Remember, that this is a great opportunity to share your wants with your host family. What would you most like to eat? Love to try? Suggest making traditional family or German dishes for you to taste. Maybe you can familiarize yourself with your own family's traditional recipes, so you can share some American culture with your host family. Make cooking one of your first family activities! We all love to eat!

Check out the following websites for some ideas as to what foods you might encounter while abroad.

On asparagus:

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

Orientation April 3, 2010.

We were glad to meet you during Saturday's Orientation. We hope that many of your questions have been answered and your greatest anxieties laid to rest. We had a great time getting to know our new students and look forward to a fun, safe and productive time abroad.

Our very first class photo!

The faculty.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Welcome to our Krefeld Sommerakademie 2010 page!

Please feel free to look about. And remember to check in routinely as we approach our orientation and future departure date!