On August 25th, we enjoyed of our last weekend in language camp in the city of Marburg. If you are like me and have no idea what Marburg it is home to a university popular because it is the oldest protestant university where both my host parents studied. Not only that but it is also home to the Grimm brothers story telling which helped produce well-known stories such as Cinderella.
To get to Marburg we had to take a train from Bad Laasphe, where the Schloss is located. Upon our arrival, we were taught how to use the German train system. After this we began by taking a tour of the historic city and were divided among two tour guides. One tour was in English and the other was in German. Since my German was still not good enough I chose to go on the English tour and to my satisfaction I made the right choice. Our tour guide was, despite her older age, very funny and made learning about the towns history exciting and light-hearted.
After the tour was done we were given free-reign in small groups of five as long as we were back in town by the last train available that night. In our free-time we walked around the cobble-stone streets taking pictures, entering nice small shops, big brand stores like H&M, visiting the university’s library, and the city’s park. Fatigued from the countless hours of wandering around, my friend Sam recommended our group go eat at restaurant that broadcasted the German soccer games. Here we were able to relax and regain our energy to roam around for a little while longer before heading back to the castle. During this time, we were reminded on a task we were given by the teamers before boarding our trains. We were given some German colloquial words on a small piece of paper which we would have to ask the Marburg locals for their meanings. My friend Avni and I decided we would ask for our words meaning multiple times to get to know more people and practice our German. From the theater near the university to back at the train station, we were able to feel accomplished with all the new people we got to meet even with a month’s worth of the German language knowledge.
After Marburg, language camp went by in the blink of an eye. In our final week we studied for our class finals and presented our mini-ambassador projects (a project were we tried to spread the word on the CBYX/PPP program to get people to apply and/or host a child) at places in the Bad Laasphe community. This was a lot of fun, especially getting to know real German students personally and share our perspectives on each other’s countries.
Throughout this month I realized how Germany and America are more similar than they are different which I did not expect coming here. Language camp was so much more than learning German. Here I nurtured amazing relationships and life-long friends. On our last morning my friends and I spent time playing fun games and hiking up a trail to a place where the view of the castle, birds, windmills, and sunrise all waved a farewell as we now began our new lives with our host families.