Students experience German culture, bicycle hazards on exchange trip

Over the summer, 22 Hamilton students traveled over 4,000 miles to  “Das Land der Dichter und Denker”(the country of poets and thinkers), more commonly known as Germany. The students were accompanied by Frau Stieper and Señora Zaagman, both of whom are foreign language teachers here at Hamilton.

The kids packed their bags as the school year came to an end and boarded the plane on the first day of summer. The next few weeks were spent discovering the historic country of Germany. A large portion of their time was spent in the village of Hildesheim. There, they stayed with host families and attended school with their assigned German host student. This gave them a whole new insight on schools outside of the U.S.

They were exposed to the culture of Germany during visits to cities, including Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg.

The group stayed in Munich, where they toured the Dachau Concentration Camp. The two nights in Berlin were spent in hostels.

Samantha Smith and Hannah Krause got a little more than they bargained for. Samantha described her room as rather “sketchy” and surprised when she found mold and hair in the corners of the room. Isn’t that the excitement of hostels? While they were in Hamburg, the students spent the day touring the city and shopping.

The group also traveled outside Germany on a visit to Salzburg, Austria. Here, they toured many sites filmed in “The Sound of Music.”

While many students improved on their navigating skills during their time in Germany, some failed to prove their biking skills.  There were a total of three bicycling accidents.

“Who knew American high schoolers are not able to ride bikes?!” Frau Stieper said.

Students from Hamilton can go on this trip every two years, the cost is an estimated $2,400, and the group is gone for 21 days. Students must take two years of German to qualify for the trip.

Frau Stieper said they “had an absolutely wonderful trip” in which they “learned so many new things and gained confidence as individuals.”


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