This has already been one of the best trips of our lives
2022-07-01. We arrived in Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon and got to Northeim in the evening. Most of us, having not slept well or at all on the planes, were super exhausted and just went straight to sleep and slept in a ton Sunday morning. We spent time with our Gastfamilien and on Sunday evening, everyone gathered at Wolf’s house for a welcome party. This was a great way for us to meet everyone and get to know each other, and we got to eat amazing food that everyone brought individually, like a potluck. You could sense the energy and excitement in the room, and we were all eager to actually begin our adventures the following day.
A Tour of the Innenstadt
Our first “real” day in Northeim was the first Monday, when we took a tour of the Innenstadt and the Corvi. Waking up at 6 AM was a shock, because most of us were still jet-lagged and we hadn't woken up early in a while because our school ended a week prior. In the tour of the Innenstadt, we got to learn so much about the history of Northeim — it’s a lot older than Westford! It was extremely interesting to hear about the founding of Northeim and how Otto von Northeim was the first Duke of Northeim. We went to the roof of a building where we could see amazing views of the city, and it was so gorgeous. Architecture in Germany is much older than in the USA, so the style is absolutely stunning. One of our favorite things about being here has been the scenery and how gorgeous the countryside is, especially when looking from high up or from the trains.
Sort of Like a College Campus
At the school, we were able to get a tour of all the buildings. In Westford, our school is only grades 9-12 and it has only one building, so seeing that there are much younger students and multiple buildings was really cool and it felt sort of like a college campus.
First Real Day of School
On Tuesday, we had our first real day of school. We got to see all of our partner’s classes for the day, which was only 3 but they were each 90 minutes long. Having only 3 classes a day and a 20 minute “große Pause” in between each was strange to us. In our school we have 5 classes a day and 5 minute breaks in between, but each class is much shorter. We saw classes like English, Deutsch, Französisch, Chemie, Physik, Mathe, Musik, Religion, und Ethik.
The SuS Are Very Formal with Their Teachers
Something we really enjoyed about the school was seeing how the Schüler und Schülerinnen (SuS) interact with the Lehrkraft. The SuS are very formal with their teachers, which is pretty different from America because while we are natürlich respectful to the teachers, we are much more laid back and can be a lot closer with them. Another really novel thing was that so many of the SuS like to go to Edeka, the local supermarket, for the Mittagspause. Here we could get Brezeln, Käsebrot, Donuts, und eine Vielfalt an Obst und Trinken. In the afternoon we did a Wanderung zum Wieterturm, which was a short hike up to a hill that overlooks all of Northeim, and we climbed a tower that was built out of rocks and wood in 1883. The views from this tower were breathtaking — you could see the Innenstadt, all of the Dörfer, and the Kiessee, which is the lake in Northeim. There is nothing like this in Westford so these were some of the most beautiful landscapes we have ever seen. This hike was probably the most gorgeous thing we have seen this week.
It's Like We Are Best Friends
The most rewarding part of this experience so far has been the friendships we’ve been able to build and getting closer with our own partners. Before we arrived, it was hard to be super close with our partners because we had never met them in person, but now we can talk to them about anything and it’s like we are best friends. It was nerve-wracking for us wondering if we would get along with each other and luckily the pairings worked out amazingly. Everyone is so nice and we work together really well. It’s only been a week and we have only done a few things, but this has already been one of the best trips of our lives.
Written by Samantha Pellegrino und Maliha Parikh