July 3rd-Traveling Home!

On the bus ride back to SHS and reflecting on another successful GAPP trip to Germany! This trip was the smoothest running trip so far! We had great luck with travel and such wonderful host families! Memories of the trip:

-Learning how to use public transportation in Munich

-I’m going to go brush my tut mir weh

-Helping all students make it up to Neuschwanstein castle and then jumping in the gross lake afterwards….thanks Pittsburgh

-Meeting host families for the first time at the Greven train station 

-Carrying Kayla’s shells and Gladys’ oyster on Borkum.

-Taking Missy to see the (cute) doctor 🙂

-A great but rainy day together in Köln

-Hearing our students say thank you to their host families

-The super cool Berlin Unterwelten air raid shelter tour

-The Stasi tour guide’s creepy eye looking through the door 👁

-Seeing the students experiencing the German language and culture 

This group set the bar pretty high for the next group in 2019!

-Frau Krenz

First meal in Munich

Munich and Neuschwanstein


Saying goodbye to host families


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July 2nd

We started our day today with a Stasi prison tour. It was really interesting, but also really thought provoking because it was such a horrible situation. We saw some of the cells and the guide showed us what some of the interrogations would be like. It was hard to believe that some of the things that happened were real, but I’m still very glad that we got to learn about it. After the tour we got lunch at the train station and then got on a train that would take us to Potsdam. Once we got there we took a bus to Sanssouci Castle. We had a lot of extra time before we could go inside so many people got souvenirs and ice cream. We went on a tour of the castle which was covered in gold and it looked super cool. After the castle we went to the train station and then the east side gallery which was really amazing. It was cool to see all the different styles of art all along the wall. It’s sad to think that this was our last big adventure in Germany but it was a really good day and experience.


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July 1

Being in Germany for the past few weeks has been such a roller coaster. We have done so many amazing things in such a short span of time, and we are so lucky to be a part of this program. On this trip, I have seen, like, four castles right in front of my eyes, which is four more than the average American has the privilege of viewing on a regular basis. I have also seen more pigeons than I can count, and tried to catch each and every one.Today, we spent the day in Berlin, first visiting the Reichstag Gebäude. You could see so much of the city from the top of the dome!! After that, we got the chance to go inside of a church that survived the Berlin bombings. 

Then, Collin, Audrey and I visited the Deutsches Historisches Museum! The museum was huge and seemingly never-ending, but beautiful and interesting nonetheless. There, we got to learn about photography and science as well as German history dating back all the way to the 800s!!

After the museum, we had freetime at Kurfürstendamm avenue, one of the most famous streets in Berlin. My group went to a few shops, ate pizza and ice cream, and had fun exploring the city. The last thing we did today was see the Checkpoint Charlie museum, which was super cool, and a lot of us took home small pieces of the Berlin Wall as one of our last purchases on this trip. Now, we’re getting ready for bed, and looking forward to seeing our friends and families again soon.

One more day!!


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First day in Berlin!

Today we woke up early and had our last breakfast with our partners. We had to be at the train station at 6:30am. It was a sad time leaving our host families and our partners, but we were all excited to go to Berlin! We took a train to Hamm and then got on another train to Berlin. The train ride was about 4 hours and went fast with sleeping. When we arrived in Berlin we walked to our hostle which is not far from Hauptbahnhof, a train station. Once we put our suitcases in our rooms, we went out and walked around Berlin. We saw the Brandenburg gate, Memorial to the Murder Jews in Europe, Reichstag building,and walked around by Berlin tourist shops. We then walked to the Berlin Unterwelten tour. This was a tour of an underground bunker from WWII. It was very cool and really interesting to see. After the tour we walked to a restaurant where we had reservations. The restaurant was Brauhaus Lemke. I had a bacon cheeseburger with fries and it was very good. After we all had dinner we went back to Hauptbahnhof and some of us got ice cream before walking back to the hostle.  


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Last day in Greven!!

I woke up this morning wondering where time has gone. It’s crazy to think that we have been with our host families for two weeks now! I can’t speak for others, but I felt that today was very bittersweet.
I started off my day like usual by riding my bike to school. I spent the day following Kira (my partner) around and attempting to soak up knowledge. While school is okay, I was very excited for the final bell to ring as this afternoon was our last hurrah with our partners. Kira and I decided to travel to Münster with another GAPPy pair, and were very eager for the food and shopping. Münster is only a short train ride from Greven and is known as the most “people friendly” city in Germany. It has lots of green space, public art, and bikes.
Let me just say that Münster lives up to its reputation. Our small group had tons and tons of fun! We shopped at popular stores such as H&M, New Yorker, Snipes, and Super dry. We had dinner at a modern and very nice Italian place and finished off our night with some chocolates from a candy shop called “Hussel”. Lets just say that at the end of the night our shopping bags and stomachs were full! As the evening drew nearer, we took the train back to Greven. That will be our last time stopping here in Greven for quite a while now! I finished my night by packing my suitcase and playing one more game of the amazing German “Make and Break”. I am going to bed early today as we have an early wake up call of 5:30 tomorrow! 


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School Day #5 & Farewell Party

Still half asleep, I rolled out of bed at the ghastly time of 5:50am. My host family was making an “American style” breakfast of bacon and eggs and wanted me to help. After eating my food I got ready to go to school. The school day was fairly uneventful and as usual I didn’t understand any of my classes. However my partner and I got to skip the last period because the teacher apparently decided not to show up. We went back home to discover that my partners mom had prepared a delicious lunch of steak and mashed potatoes. After some free time, me, my partner, and his mom all went to the farewell party. The party was bitter-sweet because while being very fun, it also made me realize that I was going to have to leave my partner in just a few days. The party had a very nice array of food and drink and had lots of comfortable chairs and sofas. After some socializing it was time for all the American GAPPies to say their thank yous to our partners and host families. After the thank yous we all went outside to release a bunch of balloons into the sky, it was a pretty scene. Then, after a bit more socializing it was time to end the day and head home.


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Day 16- Köln

Today, while our host partners went to school, we travelled to Cologne (or Köln, auf Deutsch). For me, the day began with three delicious German bread rolls for breakfast. (Seriously, in America, Germany is known for their chocolate, but they really should be known for their bread, it’s to die for (not that the chocolate isn’t, but I’ll explain that later)). We met at the train station in Greven at 7:15, and the train came at around 7:30am. The train ride was a little over two hours long, and some of us spent it conversing or writing while others used the time to get a little extra sleep. When we arrived in Cologne, we left the train station and headed for our first destination, the famous Cologne Cathedral. On our way there, we saw the city from what is, in my opinion, a perfect viewpoint, which is one of the pictures I included below. Then we passed over the Hohenzollern Bridge, the sides of which were heavily decorated with locks (featured in another picture below). Next we came to the cathedral, and after twenty minutes of free time, in which we could view the inside of the the bottom of the cathedral (another picture featured below), we began the exhausting ascent of the 533 stairs to the top, which offered a breathtaking view of the city to the eye, but pictures were nearly impossible thanks to the safety provided by the large chain link fence encompassing the viewing area. After descending the 533 stairs, we dispersed into small groups for two hours of free time. The group I was in consisted of Gigi, Grace, Natalie, Sarah, and Sydney. First, we visited the souvenir shop by the cathedral, and I think we all bought something from there, but soon afterward we visited a smaller and much cheaper souvenir store, where I found a nice sweatshirt. After everyone was finished with their souvenir shopping, we got to the ‘way more important’ task of buying food. We ate at a nearby döner restaurant, though none of us actually ate a döner. Instead, we got pizza and Sarah got fries. Afterward, we did some walking in random directions and a lot of turning around, but we swung by an ATM machine where a couple of us got extra cash. Then we visited some clothing stores, after which, everyone but me (I had eaten six pieces of pizza at the restaurant) ate ice cream while we waited for our scheduled meeting time, 1:15pm, to arrive. At that time, we regrouped and walked to the Imhoff Chocolate Museum. On our tour of the chocolate museum, most of us were too anxious to taste the famous German chocolate to pay much attention to the facts and history about the chocolate making process, but one thing I thought was interesting was the wide variety of old chocolate vending machines. According to the sign that accompanied them, the Cologne chocolate entrepreneur Ludwig Stollwerck began using the newlyish-popular-at-the-time idea of using vending machines to sell product to the public in 1887. The sign also said that within five years of the first appearance of chocolate vending machines, around 12,000 of them could be found in Germany, and if all of those ones were as spiffy-looking as the ones featured in the pictures below, Germany must have been a very spiffy place in 1892. After the tour, some of us bought goods at the cafe, but since I chose to instead go directly to the chocolate store, I’m not quite sure what they bought there. One thing I can say for sure though, is that by the time we made it back to the Cologne Central Station, we were thoroughly exhausted, as many of us sat on the ground as we waited for our train to arrive. I think today is so far my favorite of our many wonderful days in Germany, because Cologne was such a pulchritudinous city and it was most certainly unforgettable.

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