Adventures Across the Atlantic
2. November 2023
Oct. 3rd: The Arrival
Getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning? Normally I would not do this voluntarily, however, it was a special day. The trip to Westford was just around the corner!
After many hugs, kisses and goodbyes, we took the 7:52 train to Frankfurt. Except for Ms. Theis, who had to repack a little bit, we all didn’t exceed the maximum of 23kg.
The check in, security check and boarding went smoothly. Arriving in Iceland, we had a fast change between the airplanes and finally went to Boston!!!!!!!
After 22 hours of traveling, we landed on American soil and couldn’t believe that we were really there after all the eager waiting. Especially for me it was unbelievable, because today I flew for the first time in my whole life, and directly to one of my dream destinations. Unfortunately, the hype was somewhat dampened by the security/custom check, due to the officers taking their job here reeeally seriously...
But in the next minute our hearts started to race again: we were surprised by the whole exchange group with a self-made poster and lots of applause and shouting of joy! Overwhelmed by all the emotions, we just stood there for a moment and tried to burn the moment into our brains. Then we got out of our freezemode and sprinted towards each other and fell into each other's arms and were overjoyed.
Immediately starting to chat, our wild troop went outside, and we saw that we were picked up by a typical yellow school bus, which of course was turned into a party bus. With a playlist made by Maeve to match the mood, we drove through Boston and the scene felt like it was straight out of a movie. The others and I were picked up at Westford Academy by all the families. At home, after a first chat with my family and something to eat, I fell into bed happily.
By Julia Alina Sabagh
Oct. 4: First day of school
Today we all had to get up early to make our way to school. Some took the bus, were driven by parents, or walked. We went to different classes with our exchange partners and experienced a lot.
One big difference is that the students go to their teacher’s rooms and have classes there. Some of us even taught German in Mr Welch’s class. At 11 am the Juniors had lunch in the cafeteria. After that there was a presentation about bullying with bmx riders jumping over a platform and doing some tricks. The students were screaming loudly, clapping and stomping, it was so loud.
After school we took a bus tour of Westford and a lady told us a lot of exciting facts. Westford is famous for apple picking. We were also told a lot about individual families and their stands in society. We were all very impressed because everything seems so different than here in Germany.
After the bus tour, everyone had free time and could choose what they wanted to do.
Text: Ida Hiller und Sophie Keese
Oct. 5: Westford’s most famous ice cream
Today we went to school again. Some went to the different classes with their exchange students, others went to the classes alone or with friends. However, we only had a short school day today.
From 11 am we had free time. After that, the exchange students had something to eat. At 2pm most of the students met at Kimballs. There we had ice cream, which even in a mini cup, the portion was so big. Afterwards the Americans showed us the grounds there. You can play golf there and ride a cable car. At the end we met Mrs. Theis and Mr. Wode there, who also had to eat the delicious ice cream, because it is so famous in Westford.
Text: Ida Hiller und Sophie Keese
Oct. 6: The Welcome Party
Today was supposed to be our first real day of school, so I got up at 5:30, which was easier than I thought since I am still used to the German time. I got ready and was then taken to school together with my exchange partner Kate by her father. In the first block we had a meeting where all the Germans met while our exchange partners sat in class. At the meeting we talked about our experiences in our host family so far. In the 2nd block, I attended history with Kate and because today was photo day, we only had to go there for a short time in this block. Then I had German class and we played werewolf with Mr. Welch, the game was commented by him in German the whole time which made it even funnier.
The rest of the school day went as it was planned and afterwards I went to Starbucks together with Kate. We got drinks and looked at a few stores, because even a supermarket looks completely different in America than in Germany. Before we went home we went to a store in which we spend an hour looking at gift cards that could sing or looked funny. It was so much fun.
When we got home we got ready for a welcome party at Maggie's house. Parents and siblings were also invited . At Maggie's house the whole garden was decorated with fairy lights and American and German flags. Each family brought something to eat and there was also a barbecue. We played games and made s’mores over the open fire. It was incredibly beautiful. The highlight for most of us was Mr Welch doing a backflip on the trampoline. At Around 8 o'clock in the evening the first families went back home, so did we. Back home we were all very happy because the evening had been so beautiful. I had a short talk with Kate and then went to bed.
Text: Mayra Heilmann; Foto: Theis
Oct. 8th: Family Day!
I woke up at 10am, my exchange partner was still sleeping. His dad was already awake and watched the Cricket World Championships. He explained to me how cricket works and together we watched India win against Australia. It was a wicked intense game to watch. During that we ate breakfast: waffles with syrup. It was delicious. Earlier that weekend, we decided to visit the American Heritage Museum. We went there together with two other friends. At the museum, we were able to see history directly in front of us. After we talked to WW2 veterans, we watched a recreation of the battle of Aachen on an airfield. It was cool to watch and I learned a lot at the museum.
Later that day, we went to the outlet in New Hampshire and I bought a sweater with the motto of the state "live free or die". Afterwards we went to another friend and ate all kinds of food. Together, we visited Witches Woods. Witches Woods is a scary place with a lot of attractions to get scared. We spend at least 3½ hours there and it was wicked funny. The day came to an end and everybody started to leave the scene. We got back at 11pmand went into bed immediately.
Text: Noa Zinn
Oct. 9: First Trip to Boston
Today was a holiday, so there was no school and we could sleep in. We met at WA at 12 o'clock to take the school bus to Boston. First we went to see the Holocaust Memorial and then we had two hours of free time to explore Boston.
Some of us visited the food market and tried the culinary specialties. The rest went shopping in small groups. Afterwards we met again with the whole group in front of the Faneuil Hall to walk the Freedom Trail together. There, several Corvinians gave their different presentations of the Freedom Trail.
In a good mood and with a big appetite, we went to a restaurant called "Fire and Ice", which was an all you can eat restaurant, by bus. You could put together your own ingredients and they were grilled there.
We pulled a prank on Mr Wode by telling the waitress it was his birthday, so they organized an ice cream for him and we all sang “Happy Birthday”. After the delicious meal, we drove back to WA and were picked up by our host families.
Text, Fotos: Beatrice Roman und Kathrina Lu
Oct. 10: Escaping from Alcatraz in Boston
October 10 started rather normal. After a normal school day from 7:35 am to 1:55 pm we all went to the German rooms to play some Werwolf with the German club.
Shortly after that at 3:30 pm the whole exchange group started to drive to Boda Borg in Boston. At Boda Borg there are 24 different escape rooms which you have to solve in groups of three to five. We were divided up into 10 groups and the German-American groups went into different escape rooms. We had to escape Alcatraz, Area 51, Wumple Frump and many more. We failed many times, but we always started again.
After two hours and a lot of sweaty physical activities and questing, we all went home.
Text: Moritz Lange
Oct. 11: Teaching handball at Blanchard Middle School
The day started normal and I got out of bed early and then I went off to school. Once we arrived at school, there were once again new and interesting subjects, the two most unknown were ceramics and forensics. In the afternoon we went to Blanchard Middle School to play some handball with the kids of the German club. At the end we went to a party of the soccer varsity team at 5pm.
All in all, the day was rather relaxing, but still there were a lot of new experiences and events.
Text: Kjell Wode
Oct. 12: Rock climbing
On October 12, I woke up at 6 am and got ready for school. I ate a banana muffin for breakfast and packed my school backpack. Around 7am, my exchange partner and I went to Westford Academy and at first I had German in Mr. Welch’s class. We’ve been talking about politics in English and had to write something down about it in German. It was very funny to see the American’s translate it! The rest of the school day was also fun because I met some new people at school who are friends with my exchange partner. After the relaxed school day my exchange partner and I drove home with the school bus and ate some snacks for lunch.
After we had rested a little, my host dad took us to the climbing center because our exchange activity for the day was rock climbing. When we went into the center there were already a few people. After everyone had arrived we got our climbing harnesses and if we wanted them also climbing shoes. First, everything was explained to us and after that we started climbing. The different climbing walls were all of different difficulty but everyone was so good at it! We could walk around and climb wherever we wanted, it was amazing. At the end some people even competed against each other and we all had some funny conversations with each other. After that everyone was very tired because it was so exhausting. At the end of this great day I went to Starbucks with my exchange partner and some other friends where we got a cold, refreshing drink. When we finally got home, I ate dinner with my host family and fell into bed. This day was a success.
Text: Jette Münscher
Oct. 13: Football Game Day!
I woke up at 5:30 am so I could shower and eat breakfast before school. Then my exchange partner, Alyssa, and I were driven to school by my host mother at 7:15 am. In the first block we had a small meeting with our teachers to talk about open questions and possible problems. Fortunately, we are all doing well and enjoying our time here. Afterwards, we were invited to a salsa dance class held due to hispanic heritage month. It was very fun because we were taught how to dance Bachata and Salsa. With the beginning of the second block, we all spread out to different classes. I attended psychology, which I found very interesting, because today's topic was dreams and human consciousness. After that I visited Mr. Welch in his german class. The german lessons with him are always a lot of fun. The rest of the school day went as planned and around 2:00 pm Alyssa and I took the school bus home. Once home we had some time to relax before heading to the tailgate at 4:00 pm.
The motto of the football game was "black out", so we all dressed in black and painted our faces. Each family brought something to eat or drink. Noah Ablove kindly grilled hot dogs and burgers for us, he was also part of the Northeim-Westford exchange last year. Mac‘ n‘ cheese and soda were also part of the selection. With a full stomach we moved towards the football game. The Westford Academy Ghosts were playing against the Concord Carlisle Patriots. We Germans were very impressed by the welcoming ceremony, which included a marching band and cheerleaders. During the game, small gifts, such as bracelets or tshirts, were thrown into the audience by the cheerleaders and some of us were able to grab something. Next to the seats was a small booth selling Westford Academy merch. The nice ladies there turned a blind eye to a few of us and gave us something from the stand for free with the words "safe travels back to germany". At this point thank you for that <3 The WA ghosts won the exciting game 41 to 27, even though today was Friday the thirteenth. When the game was over Alyssa and I went home around 8:15 pm and we ended the evening with a long talk.
Text: Leonie Ferderer
Oct. 14: Family day
Today was the second family day. A few of the Americans had to get up early today to take the SAT. The others were able to sleep in, like me. I got up at 10 am. For breakfast we had delicious muffins made with egg and bacon. They were so good! There were also muffins with blueberries and some with cinnamon and sugar. After that I called my family and relaxed a little bit. The exchange partners returned at twelve o‘clock. For lunch we went to Panera and and ate burgers and mac and cheese. After that we went through stores before going to the cinema. We saw the movie about the Taylor Swift tour and we bought popcorn and drinks in containers with Taylor Swift on it. After that we went home and cooked pasta together and spent time together. Today, however, we went to bed early, because we had to be fit for the next day.
Text: Jana Zernickel
Oct. 15: New York City
On Sunday, October 15, we set off for New York around 5:45. The mood was accordingly sleepy and most of us slept until our first stop, in Connecticut. In Connecticut we changed bus drivers and bought something to eat, after that we went straight on to New York. At about 10:30 we arrived at the Plaza Hotel (the hotel from "Kevin alone in New York") near Central Park. There, Mr. Welch made a few announcements and we were on our way, as we had four hours of free time in New York. Some of us made our way to Time Square, which some were disappointed about because they thought it would be bigger. Some of us also passed by one of the Trump Towers. We took a ferry to Staten Island and saw the Statue of Liberty. When we arrived on staten island a lot of us went to Dairy Queen and bought a Frozen Ice. The ice cream is special because if you turn the cup upside down, the ice does not fall out. After we arrived back in Manhattan, we went to Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers stood until 2001. After this emotional chunk, we drove back to Westford and the day in New York was over.
Text: Justin Eichler
Oct. 16: Host for a day
On Monday we had "host for a day", meaning all the German exchange students were assigned to an American freshman (9th grade) who is learning German and is interested in taking part in the next exchange between Westford Academy and the Corvinianum. The American freshman were supposed to take us to all of their classes and we were meant to tell them about the exchange. To meet up with our hosts, our exchange partners were told to bring us to the German club at 7:30am.
Arriving there Mrs. Smith, one of the German teachers at Westford Academy, responsible for the exchange, started reading the list and matching up the American students with the German students.
My host for a day was a freshman called Phoenix. He took me to his first class, which was English where they compared questions the students had answered about the book "To kill a Mockingbird". The second block he took me to world history where they talked about the French Revolution, and started a two-day-project through which the students were supposed to learn how it felt, living during that time.
For third block my host had biology and we worked on a worksheet about DNA and RNA. In long block Phoenix had art, and me and Leonie, who was in that class together with me, were told to just join in with the project the class was doing at the moment. For the last block my host had math.
Overall, it was really nice being in new classes and meeting a bunch of new people. Many of the freshman I talked to today are already planning on applying for the next exchange between WA and the Corvi, so I'm excited to see some of them in two years.
The rest of the day consisted of free time and since all of us were very exhausted from the day in New York, many just used the time to relax at home or do some fun activities with our host families.
Text: Antonia Nolte
Oct. 17: Afternoon Trip to Concord!
I woke up as usual at 5:40 am and today was formal day of spirit week so I dressed accordingly. In school I attended sports, self defense, German and forensiscs. It was all very interesting and the teachers were very friendly. At 2:00 pm we went home so that I could change briefly. Then my exchange partner, Nathan, and I drove to Concord to our meeting place. When we got there we found out that the meeting place had changed on short notice and then we had to run 2 miles to get there on time.
We walked through the historical park and Mr. Welch told us about the history of the Minute Man statue and the Old North Bridge. Afterwards we all took a group photo together on the Old North Bridge.
When we finished our walk, we split up into small groups to spend some time in Concord. My group sat down at "Café Nero" where we ate one of the best sandwiches and drank smoothies. We had a very good time, we talked and laughed a lot. Around 5:30 pm we said goodbye to each other and went home.
Text: Carlo Weppner, Foto: Theis
Oct. 18: Middle Schools
The day began at 6 AM as I woke up and prepared myself for an exciting day ahead. After getting ready, I joined my host family for breakfast. we were treated to American breakfast featuring bagels, donuts, and much more.
Following breakfast, we hopped into the car and made our way to Stoneybrook Middle School. There, we were welcomed by Mrs. Theis and the designated teacher from Stoneybrook. We made a quick stop at the school's secretary's office to make sure they were aware of our presence as German exchange students today.
Next, we went to the classroom of the German teacher where we had the chance to prepare ourselves one last time. The first to arrive were the eighth graders, who started by intertviewing us and later listened to our presentations in small groups. My group had the task of presenting on German sweets. After the presentation, the students excitingly tasted some of the sweats that we brought from Germany. After they asked us some more questions about German schools.
Once we finished with the eighth graders, it was time for the sixth graders. They were overjoyed with the German sweets and even promised to visit Germany to experience them firsthand. Following the sixth graders, we headed to the cafeteria for lunch. We had burgers with fries and pizza. As we ate, many students approached us with questions about Germany and our experiences in school there.
After lunch, we returned to the classroom where the German teacher had a special treat waiting for us – homemade brownies. We then presented our topics to the seventh graders. Afterwards everyone said goodbye to us for one last time.
By then, it was already 3 PM, and it was time for us to go back home. I rested for the rest of the day and finished it off with a movie night together with my host family. For dinner, we had burritos from Chipotle, a Mexican restaurant.
Text, Foto: Adam Bohne
Oct. 19: Meeting early settlers and a descendant of the Wampenoag tribe
Today I woke up as usual at 6 am and ate some cereals. I was at the school by 7:30 and waited for the others from the group because we were meeting at the WA main entrance. Today, only the Germans met while the Americans went to school.
At 8 am we started driving on the school bus to Plimoth, where we visited the historical museum. At first we had the chance to talk to a descendant of the Wampenoag tribe who told us about the history of Native Americans in New England. Then we had the opportunity to talk to the early settlers who migrated from Europe in the 1600s, and learned how to write like people in the 1600, and the girls learned a historical dance. We were also allowed to walk around and look in the houses and listened to people, who explained how they lived in the 1600s.
After that we went to the Mayflower ship, where we went inside and looked at the ocean through the roof of the ship. By the end of our trip we went to an outdoor mall, where we had around 3 hours of freetime. Me and my friends ate burgers during our freetime, and after some time we went to multiple stores. The Mall had many stores including Nike, Adidas, New balance etc. At 6:30 pm we arrived back at WA at got picked up by our host family's.
Text: Jonas Walter, Foto: Theis
Oct. 20: Austausch at Harvard University
Today we got up at 6am like nearly every day. After I got ready for the day, we ate some breakfast. Then at 7am the father of my exchange partner Alex drove us to school. At school all the German exchange students waited until our bus to Boston arrived at Westford Academy. After a pretty short ride, we arrived in Boston.
The first stop was at Harvard University. First we went onto the campus. On the campus, everybody went to the statue of John Harvard to touch his golden foot. Touching the golden foot is supposed to bring luck and academic success. Later everybody went to the shops around the university at which we could buy clothes and accessories of Harvard University. After 1 hour everybody got back on the bus. We drove to a spot from which we could continue the presentations of the freedom trail, which started at the first day in Boston. This day there were presentations about: Copp's Hill Burying Ground, the US Constitution, the Bunker Hill Monument, Old North Church and the Paul Revere House.
After all the very interesting presentations, we had free time. So we formed groups and went through the city of Boston to go shopping, eat or to go to the park. After all of that the groups returned to the bus and we drove back to Westford Academy. In the evening there was a stunning football game of the Ghosts, which was visited by many German exchange students. The theme for the game today was "whiteout" so most people wore white clothes. After a very stunning and pretty tight game the Ghosts thankfully won the game with a final score of 21 to 19.
Text, Foto: Louis Hasenbeck
Oct. 20: Family day and homecoming
I could sleep in. After another busy week we hadn’t planed any activities for this Saturday morning/afternoon. Some of us took advantage of the time and went grocery shopping to buy some American candy for their families.
The homecoming dance, which is a school dance for the juniors and seniors (11th and 12th grade) from Westford Academy, was in the evening.
At 6pm the time had finally come. We met at Maeve’s house to take pictures together in our homecoming outfits. It rained so we had to do them inside but that wasn’t a big deal. We arrived at 7pm at Westford Academy where the homecoming dance just started. The theme was “under the sea” so they decorated the cafeteria with some jellyfishes and some other decoration in blue. After a few hours, we left and some of us went to somebody’s house to spend time together. All in all, it was a great day with nice experiences!
Text, Foto: Merle Gebhardt
Oct. 23: Mount Watatic
Today we first went to the school and visited the different classes. Afterwards we met at Westford Academy and from there we drove to Mt. Watatic with some of the parents. There we did a hike, which was rated as easy, but for some was more challenging than expected. After about an hour of climbing over roots and rocks, we reached the top. The view was very beautiful, also due to the foliage color. After some photos we started our way home. Afterwards, individual exchange partners met and baked brownies for the return trip, for example, or simply let the time fade away. This last day will be remembered by everyone!
by Ida and Sophie
Oct 21: Farewell party
Today was the last sunday in westford. I was fortunately able to sleep in after the long evening of the homecoming dance. After eating something quick, Maddie and I got ready for the Halloween themed farewell party that was to be held at Amelia's house. We decide on a matching witch costume after finding hats in the attic. Luckily we started getting ready early because it took us a whole 3 hours to be happy with the result. Her best friend came over to support us mentally. Afterwards we drove to Amelia's house where the delicious Mexican food was already ready. The next few hours were spent laughing, eating, talking and playing games in the garden. Afterwards, some of us went to witches words, a kind of Halloween fair. There were many haunted houses and rides. The highlight was probably the haunted hayride, where a story was told and carnies scaring you with, for example, chainsaws. After another long evening we drove home and fell into bed.
by Katharina Lu