we are sure that you are craving some news, so here it goes! We've made it through the first few days and it has been wunderbar! Upon our arrival in Duesseldorf the students suddenly fell silent, with nervous smiles frozen on their faces. It took us instructors a moment to realize that it had gotten quiet - we were suddenly able to hear ourselves think again! Our students had been chatting and laughing non-stop since we had left the States. They were truly great - they immediately bonded over games, snacks and mutual excitement! When we had made our way through baggage claim, we were received by the eager families and our students were quickly whisked away for food and some much deserved sleep!
We met on Tuesday morning at the VHS (our instruction site), to begin our examination. Our students were visibly excited and quickly weathered the examination. They demonstrated such independence and curiousity, so that we didn't even have to bridge the silence by prompting or steering conversation, but answer countless and insightful questions instead! By noon the students were picked up by their families to be shown around the city and partake in family activities.
All of our students arrived early for the first day of school today (Wednesday - Did you know that this name derives from Wodan, another name for the Norse god Odin? Well your kids do now, ha! ) and were already engaged in excited conversations before the instructors even arrived! We were so pleasantly surprised - we had thought that we would be early! After a few announcements (and singing Happy Birthday!) we began our classes. Our students were fully engaged in topics of culture, grammar, conversation and literature. Each student surprised us of their command and complete ease with the language. They operated at a level that we had not anticipated until at least the second week! As teachers who love to share German culture and language, we are incredibly excited for the weeks to come. And I think the students are as well...
Tomorrow we are joining a local improv theater company after school, which was originally intended to "break the ice". Well, the ice has melted a while ago and so, we guess, we are swimming! :)
This sunday the instructors, students and their host families are going on a Rhine River tour to visit the culturally significant Loreley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorelei) and view castles and fortresses that decorate the water banks. We will also be visiting the Marksburg, a fortress straight out of a fairy tale! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marksburg). I don't think the students even realize what is in store for them!
Trivia: You may have heard the NBA player Dirk Nowitzki has assisted the Mavericks to recent victory, but there is another German "hero" we will be rooting for tonight. The ice-hockey player Christian Ehrhoff (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Ehrhoff) will be representing Krefeld in the Stanley Cup finals tonight. So be sure to tune in and cheer on one of our Krefelders!
If you are on facebook, we encourage you to join our official fanpage to view some first pictures.
Good-bye for now and best greetings from Krefeld,
The Krefeld Team.