Summer 2005 SST Unit in Germany

The Summer 2005 unit has returned, but we'll leave the pictures and stories here.

Sat, 9 Apr 2005

Willkommen in Jena!

During our first week in Jena I walked around town taking pictures of various signs I saw (among other things). I thought it might be fun for you to try and decipher these more or less typical billboards, signs and placards of the type you will be seeing much more of this summer. In the first picture you can see what German buildings with empty office space say. In the last one you not only see the word "cool" used as a declined German adjective, but you also see GC student Ben Herendeen in the picture (on the right).

Thu, 28 Apr 2005

Ankunft in Jena!

Students of the 2005 Germany unit arrived in Jena today - on schedule, if not exactly on top of their game. After 20 to 30 hours with no more than a few winks of sleep, students were treated to lunch at an historic eatery near the old town square. Finding himself just slightly short of cash to pay the bill, Herr Prof. Dr. Keim appropriated a donation from a willing student. After a survival tour of the city, students were picked up by their host families and whisked off to domestic bliss and much needed rest. Some got picked up sooner than others, but in the end no one had to sleep in the schoolyard. Tomorrow geht's los!

Wed, 4 May 2005

Erste Woche (first week)

Saturday marked the beginning of German classes and homework. But the weekend also offered the chance to relax, get to know our new city, and to appear in the local newspaper. The picture featuring (from left) Craig, Travis, and Matts H and G was all but ruined when a group of hooligans wandered into the frame playing with a ball (:->). The students met their new teachers, the delightful Birgit Bley and Christel Bettermann. We split up into two groups and, with these guides, explored the cosmos of German grammar. We also set out Tuesday on the first of many excursions to nearby cities. Our destination was the historical city of Naumburg, home of the exquisite Naumburger Dom. We were led by our JenaKolleg mentor, Wolfgang Bathe, who has been a regular fixture in German SST for many years. With his expertise, we were navigated towards the over 1000 year old cathedral in the beautifully preserved city.

Wed, 18 May 2005

Ich bin ein Berliner!

This week the group took the much-awaited trip to Germany's bustling capital. Once we arrived, we checked into a Jungendherberge (youth hostel), had supper, and were led by Wolfgang Bathe on a tour of some of the city's most beautiful sites. We walked down Unter den Linden to the Brandenburg Tor. This enormous gate was once a symbol of Germany's division during the Cold War but now epitomizes reunification.

The walk ended at the Reichstag, the home of Germany's federal government. The most recent addition to this lovely building is the glass dome where tourists can look out over the city. The next day, the group woke up and made their way to the Pergamon Museum which is famous world-wide for it's exhibitions of classical Greek, Roman, Babylonian, and Islamic art and architecture.

Our next stop was the Berliner Dom, a neo-Renaissance church. The Dom houses the crypts of some of the members of the Hohenzollern family, the Prussian nobility.

After hours of museum- and church- hopping, the students had lunch at Berlin's famous 12 Apostles Pizzaria, under the arches of the Friedrichstrasse Station. Some preferred the understated taste of the Matthew and Mark while others went for the spicy Judas pizza.

The students also got to see what remained of the Berlin Wall and the graffiti covering it. The city remembers the people who lost their lives attempting to cross the heavily-guarded border.

The students were given a few minutes to explore Fassbender & Rausch, one of the world's most famous chocolate stores, where chocolate artists have made edible models of some of the city's most beautiful buildings and even one of the Titanic.

A boat ride down the Spree gave us all a different perspective of the architecture of the city.

Wed, 25 May 2005

Berlin and Beyond

Here are more of the many good pictures taken by the group during our trip to Berlin. We are still processing the sights and sounds of this amazing city. A few photos are from back home in Jena.

We have since taken trips to Erfurt and Weimar. The latter included a disturbing and moving morning spent at Buchenwald. Pictures from these excursions will be posted in the near future.

Mon, 6 Jun 2005

Prag Blog

Last weekend a group of students took the opportunity to make an extra trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. They were accompanied by Germany SST Assistant Naomi Keim. Here are some photos of the trip and the city. The students were able to meet new people (Prague is a huge tourist city), sample the Czech cuisine, and explore. Alice finally found a rink where she could practice some figure skating. Craig met a group of British blokes and played some european football in the park. Kristin was able to take some pictures of Prague's gorgeous architecture. It was a fun three days but evryone agreed it was nice to get back to Germany where they could understand at least half of the spoken language.

Mon, 13 Jun 2005

Goethe, Schiller, Bach and Luther

Here are a selection of pictures from and of students taken in Weimar (including Buchenwald), Erfurt, Eisenach and Arnstadt.

There are a couple pictures in there, too, of Laura's 24th birthday bash. The students are setting off today (the 13th) for their Praktikum (service assignments). Pictures of the Keims visiting the students at the sites are forthcoming.

Wed, 15 Jun 2005

Day Trip Photos

Here are some pictures from our day trips to Erfurt, Buchenwald, Eisenach, and Arnstadt. The students have enjoyed at least one excursion outside of Jena each week, as well as various field trips around the city, including historical sites, the Jena Glas Museum, and a Kindergarten. Here is a description of the photos (left to right): 1. Buchenwald concentration camp provides a sobering reminder of the Holocaust. Over 60,000 Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and prisoners of war were killed at this work camp. 2. The motto of Buchenwald was "JEDEM DAS SEINE" (to each his own). 3. The Erfurter Dom sits high above Erfurt's outdoor market. 4. The Wartburg rests on a high hill, providing a gorgeous view of Eisenach and the Thuringer Wald. 5. Bernd, our leader, shares a little bit of the Wartburg's history with us. 6. Becca, Katie, and Leah enjoy the view. 7. Martin Luther stayed in the Wartburg while he translated the New Testament from Greek into German. 8. Legend states that Luther once threw a bottle of ink at the wall when he thought he saw the devil lurking there. Since then tourists have come to take pieces of the wall as sourvenirs, and nothing now remains of the stain on the wall. 9. Dagan, Aaron, and Amanda pause outside the Wartburg. 10. Laura braces herself for our bus ride to the Bach Haus. (Don't worry - we had a very safe driver!) 11. The Bach Haus is a museum in Eisenach that devotes itself to exploring Bach's life history and music. While there, we were given a demonstration of various keyboard instruments that were typical of Bach's time. 12. Laura, Becca, and Leah pose next to a statue of Bach outside of the Bach Haus. 13. Bach's signature. 14. In Arnstadt, we saw the Bach organ inside the Bach Church. Bach was once organist at this church, and he tuned the organ for many years. 15. We were also fortunate to hear the Bach organ, as the church music director gave us a small concert during our visit. 16. A view of the sanctuary from the organ. 17. We also were allowed to see the inside of the organ where the air is pumped through to create sound. 18. Brittni and Aaron pose outside of the Bach church with a statue of a somewhat younger Bach. 19. A typical train station in Germany.

Fri, 17 Jun 2005

Jena in the Spring

Since everyone left for their service assignments earlier this week, it seems only right that we give you a view of the city we studied in for the first six weeks. Jena is full of beautiful hills, flowers, and other scenary. The next to last photos shows Amanda preparing to leave for her service assignment.

Sat, 2 Jul 2005

Praktikum (Service Assignments)

We recently began visiting the students at their service assignments and took a few pictures.

Matt H has made quite a few friends over the past couple of weeks at Kindergarten Regenbogen in Jena. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with some of these kids but Matt is enjoying himself.(Fact: the idea of the kindergarten originated in Germany)

Marianne is also doing her service work with children (although they are somewhat younger) at Kinderschirm in Jena. Kinderschirm is a day care program for younger children whose mothers work during the day.

Matt G and Alice are enjoying their work in the bustling city of Berlin. They lend a hand at Feierabendheim, an assisted living house for the elderly. Matt and Alice spend the day playing games and talking with the older folks. They are eager to tell Matt and Alice their stories- sometimes two or three times!

Brittni works at Stoffwechsel in Dresden, an organization that has outreach and after-school programs for kids. She helps out in the kitchen and interacts with the kids, too.

Kristin has some new experiences in Kiel in northern Germany. She lends a hand in making playground equipment.

Laura and Becca work together at Jugendwerkstatt Bauhof in Halle. This program helps youth that have dropped out of school to learn employable skills, such as carpentry.

We will have further updates on the rest of the service assignments in the next couple of weeks.

Mon, 11 Jul 2005

Praktikum (Part II)

We continue to visit students at their various service sites around Germany. Laura is working at Church and Peace in Laufdorf, near Wetzlar. She helps out in the office with paperwork and is living in a Hausgemeinschaft (housing community) there.

Rebecca hangs out with a sister at Christusbrudergemeinschaft in Selbitz. At this Lutheran convent, she works in the garden, teaches piano, and tutors people in English.

Aaron and Amanda are working together at Hedwig-Pfeiffer Haus in Weimar. They help out in the kitchen, work in the garden, and do some housekeeping.

Craig is at Bittelbronn, near Mockmuhl. Craig works as a regular farm-hand at Bioland, an organic farm and dairy.

The students seem to be very happy with their service sites as well as the work they are doing there. And that makes Prof. Keim very pleased with himself.

Fri, 22 Jul 2005

Praktikum (Part III)

We've spent the last couple of weeks visiting the remaining students at their service sites. This week was their last week of work and the students are eager to see eachother again.

Prof.Keim made a trip to Bad Pyrmont where four Goshen students are lending a hand at Missionsgemeinde, a church has does youth out-reach. Dagan, Katie, Leah, and Travis work with the kids and help out with yard maintenance.

We also took a trip to the beautiful city of Leipzig where Molly and Sarah are working for die Heilsarmee (the Salvation Army). The Salvation Army is known all over the world for helping the less fortunate. With the record high unemployment rate in Germany, they are very much needed right now. This particular one has a youth cafe and has beds available for the homeless. The girls help sort used clothes, furniture, and appliances. They also designed and made a banner to decorate the youth band practice room.

Kristin's second service site is at Streetwerk right here in Jena. It serves as an after-school program for teenagers. Kristin hangs out with the kids, who were delighted to find that she draws in her spare time. A few of them even commisioned pictures from her, including one of her co-workers (pictured here). Kristin is also pictured sitting on a bench she painted for the patio.

All Goshen students will be returning to Jena on Saturday. On Sunday, we have an Abschlussfeier (Going-away Party) to say good-bye and thank you to the host families. We will bring you photos of the celebration in a few days. Aufwiedersehen!

Sun, 24 Jul 2005

Die Abschlussfeier

Sunday was the day of our Abschlussfeier, a chance to say good-bye and thank you to the host families. About 60 people showed up for coffee and pastries and listened as the students stood up to talk about their service assignments (auf Deutsch, naturlich!).

The students also entertained their guests with some music. Molly and Craig played a couple of songs on mandolin and violin. Then all the SSTers gathered to sing a round of 606.

Some of the students have become very close to their host families over the last few months. Laura and Aaron are pictured with their host parents.

Die Abschlussfeier also reunited the students, most of whom haven't seen eachother in six weeks. It gave them a chance to see how they've grown, not only personally and spiritually, but also how their beards have developed over the past few months. Aaron and Travis realize they have a lot to learn from their mentor, Prof. Keim, about facial hair, but some knowledge just comes with age.

The students have two more days to hang out with their families and say good-bye before they leave early Wednesday morning for the Frankfurt airport.

Goshen College
International Education Office
Kevin Koch
+1 (574) 535-7346