My Trip to Germany (From Rosendale, Wi)

Hi! My name is Rachel Thompson, and I am a 14-year old from Rosendale, Wisconsin. I go to Rosendale Intermediate School and spend most of my free time either playing piano, hanging out with friends, or reading. I'm so excited to be visiting another country for the first time!

When I heard that I had the chance to go to Germany, I just had to check it out! My exchange student, Amy, had a great time with us when she came to visit in January. We visited the state capitol, Lambeau field (where the Packers play), and had a good time learning about each other's culture. One of Amy's favorite things about Wisconsin was the snow. She said they barely got any where she lived! I'm looking forward to finding out what else might be different in Germany.

My exchange partner, Amy Müller

I'm looking forward to:

Eating German food

Seeing German buildings

Visiting a German school

I'm so glad Amy and her family gave me the opportunity to visit their home! I'm really looking forward to it!

Update:

I'm in Germany now, and enjoying it a lot! So far, I've been learning a lot about German culture by staying with Amy's family.

Update #2: My Trip to Marburg

The other American students and I took a tour all over Marburg. We learned about:

St. Elizabeth's Church

Far left: exterior, second from the left: interior, second from the right: carving of St. Elizabeth holding up the church, far right: tombs of knights

St. Elizabeth's church was built in the 13th century. It was created to honor St. Elizabeth (second from the right), a woman who gave up her fortune to give everything to the poor. St. Elizabeth herself is buried there, along with several knights (far right). Tales of St. Elizabeth's kindness and magnificent church prompted many Christian monks to go to Marburg. These monks founded a university that is still functioning to this day. The school continues to provide a major source of income for the city.

The Brothers Grimm

These statues depict the Grimm story of "The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids."

The Brothers Grimm wrote many popular children's fairy tales, such as "Hansel and Gretel," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Snow White," and more. Their home city of Marburg decided to honor them by putting up symbols from their stories, such as the one seen above.

Marburger Schloss

Left: exterior, right: view from castle

Marburger Schloss (Marburg Castle) was built in the 11th century. Many great historical events happened here, such as some of the great debates of the Reformation. Today, the castle is used as a museum featuring a mixture of artifacts and art.

Update #3: Back in Wisconsin!

Well, I'm back now, and glad to be here! Now that I'm back home, I've had some time to think about what I've learned about Germany. While I was there, I discovered that America and Germany have their differences, but also a number of similarities between them.

Some similarities between Germany and America are aspects of the culture, the people, and the way their country is run. For example, both Germany and America allow their citizens to have some personal rights and freedom. Both countries also elect representatives that make decisions for the good of the people. Apart from their governments, America and Germany also share many brands of clothing, food, and stores. While I was there, I found many brands and stores I recognized from back home, even if their signs were in German. All in all, America and Germany are really quite similar in these ways.

Differences between Germany and America include other aspects of their culture, food, and language. The language is the most obvious difference; although many Germans speak English, German is the most often used. German is spoken everywhere throughout the country, while that is obviously not the case in the United States. Germans also eat much differently than Americans. They eat a lot of bread and drink mainly sparkling water. In fact, many of the Germans I talked to thought mineral water tasted strange! The culture is different there, too. Germany is deeply rooted in its history. Many of the houses Germans stay in are at least a few hundred years old. Ancient castles and ruins are littered all over the place, many of them older than America itself. It's hard to imagine living among all of this history in the United States. In these ways, America and Germany are different, but share interesting cultures, great people, and amazing food.

Conclusion

I would recommend this exchange program to any students thinking about joining it. It was a great learning experience for me, as well as a chance to meet new people and see places I would never have been able to otherwise. What most surprised me was probably the food; as I mentioned earlier, Germans eat a lot of bread! The bread was good, though, so I didn't mind. The school was also surprising to me. I wasn't expecting German school days to be as short as they were (they end at 1:15 PM), or for the classroom where we spent a lot of our time to have nothing more high-tech than a chalkboard and projector. The German students learned more about foreign languages than we do, I learned while I was there. Everyone has to take two foreign languages. Many of the students had been learning English for years, and were somewhat fluent. I'm really glad I took the time to go to Germany and learn about all of this. I would encourage anybody thinking about doing this exchange to participate in it in the future. I know they'll have as much fun as I did!

Credits:

Created with images by Pexels - "city germany historic center" • vxla - "Feast of Meats" • *Debs* - "Frankfurt" • Wokandapix - "classroom school desks"

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