Berlin Weekend

This past weekend we spent Saturday (April 20th) and Sunday (April 21st) in Berlin! We left around 10:00 Saturday morning to take the train into Berlin with Sally. We finally reached the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (the large train station) around noon. Some of us were talking about how much our perspective has changed since our first day here in Germany. When we first arrived we had to travel to the Hauptbahnhof to get on our train to Stendal. We were all definitely overwhelmed, and scared. As we were walking through this past weekend we were much more accustomed to all the people, the schedules, and just the atmosphere around us. It’s great to see our different feelings of the culture around us, even after just three weeks.

 photo DSCN1612_zpsaef48f25.jpg
The Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

After buying our passes for all of our transportation over the weekend, we headed out to go look around. Our first stop was at the government building. We were amazed at the building and the intricate details incorporated into the structure. The building has so many pictures and figures carved into it; there is no way you can look at them all.

 photo DSCN1615_zpsc84fab16.jpg
The government building.

 photo DSCN1614_zps57cc1f9e.jpg
Us in front of the building.

After a little bit more walking we were finally at the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate). Tanja met up with us here, and we were off to try and get a few good pictures. There were tons of people there, but we managed to get a few pictures. We walked under the gate and it was such a surreal feeling. We knew that we would be in a very historic city when entering Berlin, but I do not think we were prepared for how much it would move us. We had just walked under a significant piece of history that many of our peers will never get to see in person.

 photo DSCN1621_zps936b5526.jpg
The Brandenburger Tor.

We were very close to Holocaust Memorial and headed towards it. Once we arrived we were very confused. It is a hilly area, with lots of concrete slabs that are different heights, in different areas. After looking up some history, we realized that this was the goal of the engineers and architects who designed the memorial. They wanted visitors to be confused and uneasy to give the feeling of how times felt during the Holocaust.

 photo DSCN1631_zps5dae404f.jpg
The confusing Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

Soon we were heading towards the Golden Lady (The Victory Tower). What we thought was a quick walk, ended up being about a two mile stretch. By the time we reach the tower we were all tired of walking so we stopped to take a few pictures of us with tower. Sally and Tanja explained to us that the lady is the symbol of victory; however where she is located now is not her original home. The tower used to be located in the Königsplatz, however in 1939 the Nazis relocated it to present location in the Groβer Stern.

 photo DSCN1646_zps52388673.jpg
Us five at The Victory Tower.

 photo DSCN1647_zpsa6057419.jpg
A close up of the Golden Lady.

On the way to check into our hostel we passed by Bellevue, which is the home of Joachim Gauck, the President of Germany. It has only been the place of residence for the President since 1994, and was actually constructed as a residence for Prince Augustus Ferdinand of Prussia. It also was the first neoclassical building in Germany.

 photo DSCN1650_zpseb5ebc33.jpg
The Bellevue Palace.

We headed to Alexanderplatz to check into our hostel and then headed to Potsdamerplatz. We experienced the subway here (which was very uneasy and shaky for most of us!) and did a little shopping in a close by shopping mall. We even had supper at an American diner! YAY for nachos and cheeseburgers! We all were getting tired so we headed back to the hostel to get some rest. We realized that our hostel was much like a dorm room with three bunk beds, one small bathroom, and a few storage bins!

We woke on Sunday morning and grabbed some breakfast at the hostel and headed out for the day. We caught the subway and headed to another part of town. We were sure where Sally was taking us but we soon realized we were at the East Side Gallery, the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall left that has been turned into an alternative art gallery. We walked down looking at most of the art and came to a break in the wall. We casually walked to the West side to see what the other side looked like. I, and most of the other girls, suddenly realized that what we just did was impossible and unthinkable a little over 20 years ago. We had just done something that got many people killed not that many years ago. It’s a sobering thought to know we crossed and touched such a large part of history…

 photo DSCN1694_zpsd4bc267c.jpg
The first part of the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall.

 photo DSCN1701_zpse7448cf5.jpg
Us five at the Berlin Wall.

 photo DSCN1702_zps1beea28a.jpg
Jennifer and I touching the Berlin Wall.

We headed to Checkpoint Charlie to take a look around. Checkpoint Charlie was the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. We took a few pictures and headed to grab a bite to eat.

 photo DSCN1717_zps7d15e563.jpg
Checkpoint Charlie

 photo DSCN1720_zpsc0d90dde.jpg
The sign we saw all around Berlin, and then realized it was used at Checkpoint Charlie.

Lastly we headed for something fun that none of us had experienced to end our trip in Berlin. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum! None of us had ever been to a wax museum before and were kind of skeptical. It is very unnerving to the staring into the eyes of something that looks like a “person” and hard to not be afraid they are suddenly going to grab you and yell! However we had tons of fun, and even learned a bit more about Germany’s history!

 photo DSCN1736_zps4a3b7ffe.jpg
Anne Frank at the wax museum.

 photo DSCN1788_zpsad079915.jpg

We headed back to Stendal to relax after our long weekend. We were all overwhelmed from the amount of history we learned this weekend, but also elated that we were able to experience such a humbling place!


Our Second week at “Am Stadtsee”

Our second week of school was pretty interesting. After visiting the bi-lingual school on Monday, we went back to the Grundshule Am Stadtsee with varied perspectives on the differences between the two schools. An example would be that at the bi-lingual school, a lot more lessons are taught in English and students are more receptive to switching between two languages within a lesson. Another example would be that in the bi-lingual school, there is more cooperative learning and less direct instruction.

Jessica and I were given the opportunity to show the difference in solving subtraction and addition problems as well as teach a mini English lesson. The difference in addition is that the students do not carry above the numbers but below the numbers. In subtraction, they use more mental math versus actually subtracting to solve the problem. They use the bottom number of the problem to find out how many they need to add to equal the top number, for example 9-2=7, how many do we add to 2 to make 9.

In English, our cooperating teacher allotted us 20 minutes at the end of the lesson to speak some English with the students. We were told that they are learning about pets, clothing, and family members. We chose to focus our mini-lesson on clothing and colors (which they already know) by playing the game I SPY. This gave the teacher another resource to use while teaching about different topics in English and kept the students engaged while having fun. Of course we had to explain the game before we were able to play but the students quickly learned the concept and learned how to describe articles of clothing in English. Towards the end, we switched from articles of clothing to objects in the room as long as they described the objects in English they were able to use them.

During a Deutsch lesson, the students were able to go outside and experience a blind simulation course. Parcours im Dunkeln came to the school and set up the simulation so that all the students in the school could experience what it would be like to be blind. They put on an eye mask and were given a walking stick in which they had to maneuver themselves through the course by using a sweeping motion to guide them. This simulation enabled the students to have a real world connection and have a better understanding of how blind people live their daily lives and the challenges they encounter every day.

Overall, this week was a good week for us all! We are very comfortable speaking with the headmaster about any concerns or questions that we have and are happy that the teachers are accommodating and allowing us the opportunities to be more involved with the students.

-Jennifer and Jessica

Visit to Grundschule Schinne

It is the end of our second week here in Stendal. Today (4-19) we were able to visit a school in a small village name Schinne. We woke up earlier than normal because we had to ride the bus to the village. It was weird riding the bus as it stopped at the different bus stops picking up the students to go to the school. The headmaster of the school was able to ride the bus with us to make sure that we got to the school without any problems. The school is very small and is half the size of the school here in Stendal.
 photo IMG_0892.jpg
As we arrived to the school the students got off the bus and were given free time to play outside before school started. We went into the school and were given a tour of the school by the headmaster. As we toured the school we met a couple of the teachers and were excited to begin our day at Grundschule Schinne.
 photo IMG_0905.jpg
 photo IMG_0903.jpg
Our first class was a 3rd grade class. We all sat in the front of the class and the students introduce themselves to us, in English. They told us many things, such as their favorite color, how may pets they owned, who their best friends were, and more. After the entire class had introduced themselves it was our turn to introduce ourselves. As I introduced myself I was able to show the students where we from on a big map of the United States. The students were excited and amazed to see how far we traveled to Germany. After we all introduced ourselves, we were given interviews by the students. The students stood in front of who they wanted to interview and began to ask questions. When I was interviewed, I was asked what my favorite food was, my favorite color, my age and a couple of other basic questions. The students did a good job of interviewing us in English. The students did a couple of songs in English for us and we played a game with them. It was a lot of fun. One of the students that have family in Texas brought us some gummy bears, and other German treats because they aren’t as good in the US as they are in Germany. It was really nice and I’ll admit the candy was really good. At the end of the lesson, three students played a couple of American songs on their Accordion instruments. Their teacher said they had been practicing a lot because they wanted to be able to play for us.
 photo IMG_0893.jpg
As the day continued we went to visit other classrooms and were able to share about ourselves and the students were able to give us many more interviews. It was awesome seeing how much the children enjoyed having us in their school and enjoyed learning about us. I was amazed to hear them continuing to talk about it on the bus ride home. One of the girls that didn’t get a chance to interview us in the classroom came and sat beside us on the bus and began to ask us questions. It was really awesome to see the excitement she had in her while interviewing us. It was also awesome to see how much impact we have made by just being in their school for one day. It will definitely be a day that I will always remember and I’m sure they will remember as well. I enjoyed spending the day in the small village, it was a day well spent at the Grundschule Schinne!

Institut für Elementare Musikerziehung

We were invited to the Institut für Elementare Musikerziehung to participate with the students in their music class. One of our “guides” Tonya brought us to the Institut and participated with us. When we arrived, the music teacher, Sebastian was happy to see us and welcomed us into the classroom. Once inside, we had to take off our shoes and sit on rectangular pieces of carpet on the floor in a circle. Each class lasts approximately one hour and we attended the four and five year old classes. Our first bunch was a group of girls and they were very shy but warmed up to us as the class went on. The second class was a co-ed wild bunch and I applaud Sebastian for being able to tend to all 10 rambunctious, eager to learn students and being patient with them.

Both classes began by singing the Name Song (in German of course), in which we went around the circle and when the song stopped we had to say our name. This was a good ice breaker for the students and us as well since it was so repetitive we were able to quickly learn the words. As a group we learned hand gestures to Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite, Op 71a.” After we learned the hand gestures, we all had to choose a scarf and the fun began! Sebastian played the music and we were able to dance with our newly learned movements.

 photo 421_zpsc9b777bb.jpg

Sebastian then brought out the musical note cards to review with the students. They are learning about the whole note, half note, quarter note, eighth note and their beats. The teacher and students have a “secret language” to help them remember the number of beats per note. They had hand movements and different sounds to teach pitch.

 photo 418_zps5eff3122.jpg

After reviewing the notes, Sebastian brought a beautiful wooden xylophone to the center of the circle. The students were so excited to be able to play the xylophone! Each student was able to play. They sang a song and when it came to the chorus they played eight notes on the xylophone. Another song Sebastian played with the students was a song about a mouse that went up the stairs and when he was hungry he had to come back down to eat. Each word in the song corresponded with a note on the xylophone. Sebastian proceeded to ask the students to find the violin and cello in the room. When they did, he took the instruments out of the cases and showed the students. He asked questions about each instrument. For example, he asked them if the instrument was solid or hollow; what is the shape of the outline of the instrument; he told them that the body of it was called a corpse; he went over the different parts of the instrument and asked the students how many strings each instrument had. He had each student practice the form of holding a violin and then they were allowed to play the real thing. He also allowed them to play the cello. Afterwards, he had them touch the cello while he played the instrument so that they could feel the vibrations while it was being played.

 photo 422_zps9cad5927.jpg


Seniors’ English Class

This week we had an opportunity to speak to a group of seniors. They were students who had been learning English for 1-2 years. There were approximately 10 students in the class. Some of the students had even done research on Spartanburg before we arrived. A few of the the students had notes and questions written down for us. The presentation was also open to the public so people other than the students could come if they wanted to.

We prepared for the class by making a PowerPoint presentation. We told the class a little bit about ourselves and our lives. We told them about Spartanburg and the things to do there. We included 2 slides about Upstate and let them know about the degree programs, tuition cost, and student activities. The most important part of the presentation was the part in which we compared the daily lives of Americans vs. the daily lives of Germans. They were very interested in this topic. In Germany it is very common to ride bikes or take public transportation while we drive. There are also many small specialty shops here unlike at home when we frequent Target or Wal-Mart. We made sure to include a lot of pictures into the presentation so they could follow along easily.

They had some great questions for us and we were able to talk about the stereotypes that Germans have of Americans (though the word stereotype is rude here so we said misconceptions). They said they thought of McDonalds, how polite we are, and how proud we are. They asked us about our healthcare system, our daily lives, and why we are in Stendal. There were also two reporters there from the local newspapers. They took photos and wrote articles that came out in the paper on Saturday. It was a great experience and we were happy to share about our culture.

 photo 6a5c9c28-09be-4bee-af0c-63820df1d3b0_zps9d158697.jpg
This is one of the articles in the paper about us. The wind was blowing really bad so the picture is not that great.

 photo 53e15077-fc36-41b3-8141-f70bf07ade9a_zps9621ac13.jpg
The second time we were in the paper in one day!

Bilingual School “Altmark”

 photo DSCN1599_zps470729d4.jpg
A picture of the schools, with two Flat Stanleys!

On Monday April 15th we have the opportunity to visit the bilingual school here in Stendal. The school is a private school that has two first, two second, two third, and two fourth grade classrooms. Since the school is a private school there is a fee for the students to attend, which is 180€ a month. The classrooms each have twenty students in them.

We started off the day by meeting Sally to walk to the school. The school is a little bit farther away from our flat then our other school, but not by too much! We were greeted by the Vice Principal Birgit who showed us the staff room. Soon Sally was off showing us the rest of the school. We all loved how open the school was, with the “cafeteria” just being in an open space in the middle of the school. There are three levels to the school – the bottom floor being the largest and the two upper floors housing several classrooms.

 photo DSCN1579_zps73058dea.jpg

On Monday mornings the school has their house meeting where the entire school (about 80 students and the teachers) meet in the gym to discuss the previous week. The school has a safety patrol which watches out at recess to make sure all students are on their best behavior, and a new safety patrol is appointed each week during this meeting. We were given our schedules and spilt off into pairs to observe.

 photo DSCN1581_zpsa70397a3.jpg

Jessica and I spent the first lesson of the morning in a “things” lesson for third graders – where the students can cover anything from science, to history, to life skills. The students were learning about fire safety. We immediately could see a different between our normal school and the bilingual school! All instruction was given in English during this lesson, and we actually knew what was going on! The students were reciting a poem about what to do if your house was on fire from memory and doing very well at it.

Soon it was time for breakfast break, and then we were off to a 2nd grade English lesson. The teacher for this lesson was Uta, who was very nice and welcoming to Jessica and I. Uta grew up in South Africa, but her parents are British so she has a very British accent! The students were looking at pictures and describing things they saw. The entire lesson was in English again, and to our surprise, most of the second graders were very comfortable with their English. They were able to make complete sentences, and even ask for help a few times. Jessica and I were allowed to walk around and help the students with their work. Jessica had a special connect with this group and was very excited to help since we student taught in a 2nd grade classroom.

After the students had their morning recess break, we heading to a German lesson with the same 2nd grade class. The students were describing a tulip and spring. Soon the students were writing poems. This lesson was completely taught in German. It is still a shock to me how students can go from English to German in the blink of an eye.

 photo DSCN1580_zps0b0a2a74.jpg

Next we were in a fourth grade English lesson. The students each introduced themselves to us and told us their names, about their families, and their hobbies. Jessica and I then introduced ourselves. The students were working on listening to descriptions in English and trying to find what is being described. They are working on this to prepare them for a test they have to take that is given by the government here.

 photo DSCN1583_zps68eb42fe.jpg

Soon it was time for lunch. Lunch breaks here are very different from ours in the states. The bilingual school takes an hour break where all the students are on the playground together and are called by grades to each lunch. While we think this would be crazy, there are actually only two teachers outside with the students during this time. They are very responsible, and the safety patrol that I talked about early also helps with behavior outside.

At the end of the day the vice principal Birgit invited us to dinner at her house in Tangermünde the following evening. We all were very excited, but also nervous. This was the first time we all would be purchasing train tickets and taking the train all on our own. However, we made it safely to Tangermünde the following evening and had a wonderful dinner and great conversation with Birgit and her son! We have worked out where we can visit the bilingual school at least one more day towards the end of our trip and are very excited to return!

 photo 585_zps5d24f584.jpg
Us with Birgit after dinner!


Grunschule “Am Stadtsee”

 photo DSCN1202_zps81370c3b.jpg

It is the end of our first week here at the school Stendal, and the week has been very interesting and exciting. On Monday morning we all got dressed and went upstairs to have breakfast before we left for the school. As we sat at the table we began to discuss our thoughts and anxiety that we were having about going into the school. I felt like I was in grade school and it was the first day of kindergarten. I did not know what to expect. I will admit that my biggest fear was that I would be able to understand the language and would be totally lost.

 photo DSCN1443_zps2882ce27.jpg

As we walked into the school with Sally (our guide) we were met by the principal, Silke (Silk-a). She greeted us with the words “Good Morning, Welcome to Am Stadtsee!” Then she walked us to the English room in the school. Some of my anxiety went away, because I knew that there was someone who that could speak English in the schools. We sat it the room and she gave us information about the schools and our classroom assignments. I was excited to know that I was placed in a second grade classroom. The other girls are in fourth grade and will be moving to third after two weeks. I was also relieved to know that my teacher can speak English. The school is not a bilingual school, but they do learn British English. In grades one and two they have English lessons once a week, and twice a week for the higher grades. The school starts at first grade and goes through fourth grade. There are 200 students at the school with 12-15 students in a class. We were given a tour of the school in pairs by fourth grade students. I thought it was so neat to have the students give us the tour, and they spoke English to us while giving the tour. We were introduced to the other teachers of the school and then off to our class we went. As I sat in my classroom I was a bit confused. Everything was in German! Dr. Goodman visited my class with me and was trying to translate things the best she could but I just sat there absorbing it all in.

 photo DSCN1442_zps9b72c356.jpg

The next day we were off to school alone. There was no Sally or Dr. Goodman there with us to translate anything. I walked into the classroom a couple minutes before the students came in. As they arrived and saw me in the classroom, I was greeted with “Guten morgen” (good morning) by many of the students. As the day began the students began to speak to me –in German! I began to communicate with them in a language that I barely know the basics of. I began learning the names of the students and felt more comfortable being in the classroom. During the morning break the teacher came and spoke with me she asked me to read the book “The Very Hungary Caterpillar” to the class later that day. She had a copy of both, English and German language and wanted me to help with that lesson. I was excited and full of joy to know that it was only our second day in the school and I was doing a lesson with the class without any preparation or plans. The teacher read a page in German and I read it in English. The student really enjoyed that lesson. They were happy to have me in their classroom. I was beginning to learn German from them and they were learning more English words as well.

 photo DSCN1444_zps2207cd47.jpg

As the week continued I became more interactive in the classroom. I began to understand what was going on in the class from making connections of their actions in the classroom. I assisted with many of the different lessons. We all were beginning to learn the normal routine for the school and the children. It does feel a little uncomfortable walking up to the school in the morning and everyone is just staring at you like you are the new kid at school. But I’m sure as the weeks go by we will be at ease. The first week went by quickly, and I am really enjoying the experience. I’m looking forward to do more in the classroom with the students in the weeks to come.


The Mystical Dance of Ireland

We are enjoying our stay here in Stendal and had the pleasure of meeting some fellow hotel guests on Sunday. Dr. Goodman and I were on our way out for a bike ride when we ran into Marko and Shelly. They are members of the show titled The Mystical Dance of Ireland. They are in town for a performance on Tuesday night. They will be performing at The Theater de Altmark. Shelly was so nice, she even offered to show us her instrument. She plays the Uilleann pipes. The looked very similar to the bag pipes but they were smaller. We talked for a few minutes and then went for a bike ride. The next day (Monday) I asked the tour manager where we could buy tickets. Since we had only been in town for 5 days I had no idea how to go about the ticket purchase. We looked online but they do not sell tickets online to this particular theater. The tour manager said her would give us a call tomorrow. He called us at 6:00 on Tuesday to let us know we had tickets! Plus they were free tickets. He had them reserved at the theater under “The Americans.” It was a short walk and we were there. The lady at the counter laughed before I even finished my sentence in (bad) German, she obviously knew that we were the Americans.
 photo DSCN1413_zpsd1bbf804.jpg
This was the theater. It was very small compared to The Peace Center in Greenville.

The theater was very nice. We had to check our coats, which was a first for me. It was a packed house so we were not all together but that was alright. The show started with a fun music and dance number. There were 8 dancers in the show; 4 men and 4 women. There was also an Irish band that had 6 people in it. The instruments they had were the keyboard, the gitarre, the akkordion, the geige, the floete, the uilleann pipes, and the blechfloete.
 photo DSCN1423_zpsea0668ac.jpg
This is the Irish band.

 photo DSCN1439_zps160a99c4.jpg
The Irish Dancers

 photo DSCN1416_zpsa0eae340.jpg
The costumes were very colorful.

 photo DSCN1420_zps418f5830.jpg
She was singing “Danny Boy”

The dancers performed 12 dances and there was an Irish singer who performed 4 songs. The dances were so intricate. I couldn’t believe how fast they could move their feet! They had a few different costume changes throughout the show. It was so nice to hear her sing because she sung in English! The last song was “Danny Boy” and it was beautiful. It was great to be able to have such a unique experience in Stendal. We were very thankful to get the tickets and enjoy our first cultural experience in Stendal.


On Saturday, April 6, we took a trip to a small town called Tangermünde with our guide Sally. We met Sally at 11:00 to go into Stendal for shopping before going on the train from Stendal to Tangermünde. We looked in a couple of the shops, bought stamps for our postcards to send home, and then mailed them to go home. After shopping, we had time to stop for lunch at the Koffee Inn and then proceeded to make our way to the train station by our favorite form of transportation: walking. It took 15 minutes by train to travel from Stendal to Tangermünde where we met Michael our guide for the city tour. He was a good guide because he was excited about the town and knowledgeable of the surrounding history. We began our journey by walking through the town and just taking in the small town’s sights before the tour began. The town celebrated its thousand-year anniversary in 2009. Its name derives from the German word: mündung meaning mouth and the Tanger tributary of the river Elbe. Hence, Tangermünde was formed.

The city tour started at the Neustädter Tor Gate where Michael described the significance of the gate and how it would greet people allowing them to enter from the surrounding towns. On the gate, there were five eagles that represented (left to right) the Prussian King, the Empire, Tangermünde, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, and that of Brandenburg. The black and white squares on the shield of the Empire eagle represent the death or conquer of the city (black) and its rebirth when they overthrew their conquerors (white). Behind the gate and off to the side was a restaurant that is set up as it would appear a thousand years ago. There was a “throne” seat, with wooden benches for seats at long wooden tables, they displayed several old artifacts from the medieval times, not just the decorations were medieval because Michael explained that sometimes they don’t give utensils when serving the food so you have to eat with your hands.

 photo Tangermude-MedievalRestaurant_zps58affcc3.jpg

In 1617, a historic fire took place and out of the fire began a tall tale about a woman who was accused of setting the town on fire. Standing next to the Town Hall there is a statue of the woman called Grete Minde who supposedly set the town on fire because she was a witch. There was no proof either way of her innocence or guilt. The town hall was another landmark of Tangermünde it looked like a church but was nothing more than a town hall, and we were lucky because on the day we went there were several weddings. Tradition is that after leaving the town hall, the guests or well-wishers come and throw flower petals, rice, and seed at the happy couple. From what we have observed, the majority of Germans do not go to church on a regular basis so getting married in a church is culturally optional.

 photo Tangermude-GreteMinde_zps4797242c.jpg

However, we were able to witness the beginning of a wedding ceremony at St. Stephen’s Church, which is directly across from the town hall. After watching the wedding procession into the church, and realizing that Michael could not show us the inside, we made a trip to an old school that was converted into a restaurant. We learned that children used to go to school on their sixth birthday regardless of when their birthday took place. There was a huge celebration for the first day of school and the children would receive a cone full of candy and school supplies as part of the festivities. The tradition still carries on today but the difference now (at least in Stendal) is they go to school in September even if it is not their sixth birthday. We then proceeded to walk toward the fortress protecting the city the riverside, and Michael showed us the prison tower as walked to the top of the wall that used surround city. The fortress helped to protect the city’s defenses and flooding from the Elbe River. The last significant building that Michael showed us was a building where the upper level was bigger than the lower. This seems insignificant but he further explain by saying that the lower level has to pay more taxes that the upper levels. So in order to avoid paying higher taxes the owners built the building with a smaller first level, a medium second level, and a large third level.

 photo Tangermunde-6thBday_zps0160c7fa.jpg

 photo Tangermunde-TheWall_zps82005f96.jpg

 photo SamariawithMichaelinTangermunde_zps23eabd14.jpg

On the way back to the hotel, we all stepped out of our comfort zone when it came to trying the German fast food “döner”. We had the chicken döner, which contains chicken, salad (similar to cole slaw), tomato, pickles, and onions inside of a bread roll. It was similar to a gyro but the flavors and seasoning were different. Speaking of food, we have tried several different types of food to embrace the German culture. We had currywurst at the Mensa (college cafeteria), and a true bratwurst on bread roll from a street vendor.

Tomorrow the plan is to having a relaxing day before our first day in the school. We know that we are all in the same school and two of us will be in a classroom together. However, we still have not learned who our teachers are or our respective grade levels. We are all a little nervous and apprehensive about our “first” day of school.


Welcome to Stendal!

Hello all! It’s Brittney here. We have gotten all settled in here at the apartment and have been enjoying this beautiful city. Stendal is approximately 74 miles away from Berlin. Stendal was first recorded in the history books around the year 1022 as “Steinedal”. The city of Stendal is small. The city is small enough that we walk or bike everywhere we go. People do own cars here but the city is small enough to walk comfortably.
Our amazing guide Sally gave us a tour of the city. First she took us to the grocery store. It was very interesting to go to the store and not be able to read any of the packaging. We were able to buy a few things that we needed with sally’s help. Sally then gave us a guided tour of the city. Our hotel is located near the Uenglinger Tower. The tower was built in the 15th century and was part of the wall that surrounds the city. It is a great example of the architecture in the city. We wanted to walk into the tower but there was still snow on the steps so it is closed to the public at the moment. There is a really neat restaurant next the tower. It is the oldest restaurant in the city, they serve German food here.
 photo 096_zps1bbb3c14.jpg
 photo 095_zps2add8035.jpg
These are the stairs leading to the inside of the tower.
 photo 099_zpsb3453314.jpg
This is the old German restaurant.
We also went to the Tiergarden Zoo in Stendal. It is a nice zoo located close to the elementary school we will be teaching at. The zoo has quite a few animals. It was funny to see a raccoon at the zoo! It was a good reminder that our idea of “normal is so different from theirs. We looked at the monkeys, owls, and bears for about an hour and a half. The zoo has a great playground. I was so surprised to see a merry-go-round and a see saw. They also had tee pees for the children to play in. I had fun on this wooden toy. It leans back and forth with your weigh so you must keep your balance. They also has an in-ground trampoline. I have never seen anything like it! We had almost the whole zoo to ourselves because it was so cold but we had a nice time.
 photo 127_zpsb0a1dd5a.jpg
There are not a lot of plastic toys here. Most of the playground toys were made of wood as well.
 photo 129_zps462b536c.jpg
This is one of the owls at the zoo.
 photo 148_zpsf9174d2f.jpg
The baby goats at the zoo were adorable.  photo 151_zps41389d8a.jpg
This was one of the coolest playgrounds I have ever seen.
Sally then took us to the Hochschule. The Hochschule is the college that Sally attends. There are approximately 2,500 students that attend this school. There are three main buildings and a mensa (cafeteria) with a bar attached to it. Stendal is also home to a large train station and bus station. The Winckelmann museum is located in Stendal. It is a museum dedicated Johann Winkelmann who was a German art historian and archaeologist. The museum has a trojan horse which is the largest trojan horse in Europe. If you go inside the horse you can climb to the top and there is an amazing view of Stendal. We are hoping to visit the museum later in our trip.
 photo 104_zps64881472.jpg
 photo 103_zps6123ff80.jpg
We look forward to spending the rest of the month here and getting to know the city better.