Studying Abroad in California!

Monday, August 1st / Montag, 1. August/ Lundi 1 Aout

After a long flight we finally arrived at SF Airport safe and sound and were picked up by our host families.

Nach einem langen Flug kamen wir wohlbehalten am Flughafen an und wurden von unseren Gastfamilien in Empfang genommen.

Tout d’abord bonjour et pardon mais clavier americain oblige, pas d’accents sur le blog, mais certainement plien de fautes d’orthographe! Desole d’avoir commence ceci si tard, mais je n’ai pas eu les infos avant!

Depart di;anche soir pour certains, lundi pour d’autres, mais après un long vol, arrive sans probleme a San Francisco. On se separe des jeunes aui sont en immersion et après une petite crise (perte du telephone de Jeanne) les familles viennent nous chercher a l’aeroport. Tout le monde a l’air gentil et tres content meme si nous sommes tous creves. La deuxieme famille de Marion est meme venue l’accueillir. Elle etait ravie et a dit “ils ont l’air trop sympas, c’etait gentil de leur part!”

Tuesday, August 2nd/ Dienstag, 2.August/ Mardi 2 Aout

Students get to know each other during an orientation in the morning, in the afternoon they are exploring Lafayette on a treasure hunt. In the evening the families meet at a potluck

Die Kiddies lernten sich waehrend einer kurzen Einfuehrung in die amerikanische Kultur am Vormittag kennen. Am Nachmittag erkundeten sie in kleinen Gruppen bei einer Schnitzeljagd mit lustigen Aufgaben die Stadt. Das grosse Treffen mit ALLEN Gastfamilien fand am Abend statt: bei selbst gemachtem Essen tauschte man erste Erfahrungen, die man mit den “neuen” Familien gemacht hatte, aus. Ausserdem wurden die Gewinner der Schnitzeljagd gekuert und gebuehrend gefeiert, bevor man den Abend – immer noch Jetlag-geschaedigt – gemuetlich ausklingen liess. Das schreit nach mehr!!

Le matin, orientation: les jeunes apprennent a se connaitre et parlent de leur famille. Tout le monde est ravi. L’apres-midi chasse au tresor dans Lafayette, en groupe, comme cela ils comencent a tisser des liens et explorent la ville qui nous accueille. Le soir de cette premiere LONGUE journee, tout le monde, jeunes et familles se retrouvent autour d’un repas et d’un jeu (le loto humain). Les familles sont aussi contentes aue les jeunes. La famille de Jeanne (qui a retrouve son portable) dit au’elle est “timide mais tres gentille”. Bon sejour en perspective!

Wednesday, August 3rd/ Mittwoch, 3.August/ Mercredi 3 Aout

San Francisco, Tag 1:
Der erste Punkt auf der Tagesordnung war die Fahrt mit dem beinahe schon legendaeren Cable Car in SF. Nach einigen Minuten in der Warteschlange war es dann so weit der Chaffeur winkte uns in den Wagon. Die unvergessliche Fahrt ueber die steilen Huegel San Franciscos endete in der Lombard Street, die wohl kurvenreichste Strasse der Welt. Nach einem kurzen Intermezzo in den zahlreichen Malls der Stadt kehrten wir zum Ernst des Lebens zurueck: die Zeit war gekommen fuer Alcatraz, die beruechtigte Insel, wo Amerikas Schwerverbrecher bis 1964 ihr Dasein fristeten. Nach einer Fuehrung durch das Gefaengnis, bei der wir viele interessante Dinge lernten, machten wir uns per Strassenbahn auf den Heimweg. Ein langer, aber sehr spannender Tag in Frisco!

San Francisco: jourmee 1: les jeunes sont toujours un peu creves, mais le decalage horiare s’estompe et nous voila parties pour SF!!! Des l’arrivee, nous prenons le tram dans les rues pentues. Puis la rue la plus du monde: Lombard street, on ne peut meme pas tenir debout. Un petit peu de marche et c’est le premier temps libre d’un grand nombre de temps libres a venir. Les jeunes se balladent et font les magasins sur Fisherman’s Wharf en se dirigeant lentement vers le ferry aui nous menera a Alcatraz. Elles ont aime la visite, personne n’est reste sous les barreaux ou sur l’ile donc tout va bien!

Au retour les yeux sont bien rouges tellement aue certains iront meme au lit sans manger… ah ces jeunes!!!! Mais ca va aller nieux, promis!!

Thursday, August 4th/ Donnerstag, 4. August/ Jeudi 4 Aout

San Francisco, Tag 2: Das Motto des Tages “Schwitzen, Schwitzen, Schwitzen!” Tanzlehrer Byron erklaerte sich dazu bereit, der Gruppe ein paar coole Moves des Hiphop-Tanzens beizubringen. Da half es auch nichts, Verletzungen vorzutaeuschen, jeder musste mitmachen. Nach anfaenglichem Zoegern war aber doch jeder mit Feuereifer bei der Sache und so hatten wir nach schweisstreibenden 2 Stunden und gefuehlten 100 Wiederholungen eine richtige Choreografie drauf!!!
Anschliessend konnten wir uns beim Shoppen auf dem Union Square von den Strapazen erholen!!! Abercrombie, Victoria’s Secret und diverse andere Laeden wurden leer geraeumt!

San Francisco Jour 2: lecon de danse avec Byron du hip-hop/blues… et tout le monde a participe! Juline a dit vendredi qu’elle avait encore mal aux jambes!!! ET Jeanne a tenu tout le long… Elles ont ete tres bien!!!! Le spectacle sera beau…

Aprem: shopping!!!!!!!!!!!! Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister et Victoria Secret ont ete devalise pendant leur 4 h de liberte… ‘C’etait genial, mais je n’ai pas tout pris, il faut que je garde de l’argent pour Los Angeles!!’ Ca promet pour le retour!

Friday, August 5th/ Freitag, 5. August/ Vendredi 5 Aout

Happy Birthday, Jaime!! Unser Geburtstagskind wurde soeben 14!!! In diesem Sinne: Feliz Cumpleanos!

Nachdem wir das Geburtstagskind gebuehrend gefeiert und mit Geschenken ueberhaeuft haben, war es Zeit fuer eine Lektion in alten Indianischen Braeuchen! Die Gruppe lernte, wie man ohne technische Hilfe Feuer macht, Schmuck herstellt und nicht zuletzt, wie man sich als Indianer kleidete. Als Models fuer dieses aussergewoehnliche Outfit stellten sich Alex und Sinah zur Verfuegung. Alex, der Jaeger, machte seine Sache so gut, dass man indianische Wurzeln im Stammbaum vermuten koennte.

Den Nachmittag verbrachten wir im sonnigen und warmen Walnut Creek, wobei wir dem oertlichen Kino einen kurzen Besuch abstatteten (Crazy, Stupid Love war der Favorit bei den Girls The Rise of the Planet of the Apes bei den Boys) und die restliche Zeit in der wunderschoenen Innenstadt verbrachten.

Aujourd’hui c’est l’anniversaire de Jaime! Il a eu plein de cadeaux!!

Enfin le soleil! Ce matin un atelier avec un Indien qui leur donne des infos sur la culture des indiens d’Amerique, puis leur apprend a faire du feu et des bracelets tradittionnels… Quelques ampoules mais beaucoup de fume et de sourires…
Cet aprem, film (au choix vos enfants sont alles voir une comedie romantiaue ou la planete des singes) puis encore du shopping!!!
Tout le monde s’est souhqite un bon weekend et on attend lundi avec impatience pour avoir plus de details.

Saturday and Sunday, August 6th and 7th/ Samstag und Sonntag, 6. und 7. August/ Samedi et Dimanche 6 et 7 Aout

Weekend spend with host families, some are going camping, some are off to Yosemite or Tahoe and some are just enjoying the sunny weather at home.

Die Wochenenden werden mit den Gastfamilien verbracht: einige machen einen Abstecher in den Yosemite Nationalpark oder nach Tahoe, andere bleiben einfach zu Hause und geniessen die sonnigen Tage. Aber eines ist sicher: Spass steht auf jeden Fall auf der Tagesordnung!

Week-end en famille pour tout le monde… certains partent camper, d’autres vont au lac Tahoe et d’autres jusqu’a Yosemite…. Ou alors ils seront ici a profiter de leur famille et du beau temps.

Visiting Golden Gate Bridge & Berkeley

Monday, August 8th / Montag, 8. August/ Lundi 8 Aout

Rebonjour a tous!!! Comment allez-vous? Vos filles ont passé un tres bon weekend. Marion dit “on a pas arrete de rire quand la mere essayait de dire mon prenom!” Jeanne a dit qu’elle avait passé un bon weekend et Juline qu’elle s’etait regalee!

D’ailleurs elle a ete tres sage aujourd’hui: elle n’a achete qu’un T-shirt a l’universite!! En parlant de cela, aujourd’hui visite de l’universite de Berkeley, qu’ils ont tous bien apprecie je pense et certains veulent meme aller y faire leurs etudes! Attention a vous! Apres-midi, shopping a Berkeley, au sein des annees 70… Et le soleil etqit au rendez-vous. Que demander de plus… Demain, direction la plage!

Der Startschuss fuer Woche 2 ist gefallen! Nach einem fuer alle erlebnisreichen Wochenende mit den Gastfamilien stand heute Berkeley auf dem Programm. Berkeley ist fuer seine ausgezeichnete Universitaet bekannt…und genau diese war heute unser erstes Ziel! Die naturwissenschaftliche und die philosophische Fakultaet sowie die wunderbare Bibliothek und das Sportgelaende – so sieht also das Studentenleben aus! Am Nachmittag : Shoppen auf Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue! Was will man mehr??

Tuesday, August 9th / Dienstag, 9. August/ Mardi 9 Aout

Bonjour! Nous sommes enfin sous le soleil Californien!!! Il fait chaud et beau!!! Ce matin, preparation du spectacle la veille du depart… Tout le monde participe, mais chuuut, c’est une surprise… Cet après-midi, direction santa cruz: lezarder sur la plage au soleil, et profiter des attractions au bord de l’eau… Ils ont tout fait!!! Et l’avis general est que c’etait genial!

Hallo ihr daheim Gebliebenen!
Endlich bekommen wir die Sonne Kaliforniens zu Gesicht. Am Morgen trafen wir erste Vorbereitungen fuer unsere Verabschiedung und am Nachmittag ging es nach Santa Cruz! Beach Time!!! Nicht zu vergessen sind natuerlich die Attraktionen des Boardwalks, auf dem man sich wunderbar austoben ka/nn…Die allgemeine Meinung: “Es war grossartig!”

Wednesday, August 10th / Mittwoch, 10. August/ Mercredi 10 Aout

Aujourd’hui, nous avons joue les vrais tourists a SF. Les jeunes sont toujours un peu fatigues de leur journee d’hier (qui restes geniale, fantastiquen trop bien et j’en passe) alors debut facile, une heure dans le bus a imperiale, sous le soleil (miracle a San Francisco?), puis on descend pour quelques memorables photos du Golden Gate Bridge et Alex et Fabian traversent le pont aller-retour en 40 min (environ 3 km, c’est impressionnant), puis direction le parc du Golden Gate avec se musees et son herbe verte et enfin la mairie de SF (un capitole plus grand que celui de Washington DC!).

Et demain, rebelotte, cette fois ce sera le palais des beaux-Arts, Haight Ashbury et on verra ce qui peut bien se passer d’autre!! En tout cas, meme si un peu fatigues par le rythme des activites, ils sont souriants et profitent a fond!!

Heute gab’s San Francisco mal aus der wirklich touristischen Perspektive. Da die meisten noch etwas muede von der “langen” Nacht auf dem Boardwalk von Santa Cruz waren, waehlten wir heute den einfacheren Weg und sahen die touristischen Attraktionen vom Bus aus.

Erster Stop: Golden Gate Bridge!! Alex und Fabian ueberquerten die Bruecke sogar ganz und kamen schweissgebadet wieder zurueck. Im Anschluss daran erkundeten wir den Golden Gate Park mit all seinen Museen und Sehenswuerdigkeiten. Zum Schluss noch ein kurzer Stop am Civic Center, bevor es dann wieder ab nach Hause ging. Tag 2 der Bus Tour kann kommen!

– Eva-Maria & Annie

Farewell to Klasse 7A

We had a memorable time with our Austrian friends

So much to see!

We have seen so much during the weeks they were here. Last Wednesday we were lucky enough to get a tour of San Francisco City Hall. We had a terrific tour leader, who was incredibly knowledgeable about the building and it’s history. I was amazed to learn that the city hall has been retro fitted so that the ground underneath it can move up to 27 inches in an earthquake, without moving the pillars supporting the building.

De Young Museum and Golden Gate Park

We then fit this group of 65 onto a pair of city buses, and made our way out to Golden Gate Park. The students had an audio tour of the museum, and then they had free time to eat lunch and visit the tower on the new building, which has a gorgeous view of the entire city. Here is a view of the park below us, with the Academy of Science building on the other side of the oval. The green roof captures rainwater and helps insulate the building.

After the De Young, we split into two groups. One group went back into the city to explore downtown, and the other went down to the peninsula to explore the suburbs a bit.

Computer History Museum

On Thursday we spent the morning putting together their presentations for the evening farewell party. They did a great job practicing, and entertained their host parents with waltzing, and Austrian jokes and games on Thursday night. During the afternoon, between practice and the party, we visited the computer history museum in Mountain View. It was very interesting, I was pleased to see what a great job they did explaining the history of computing. Definitely worth the visit. It was too rainy for me to take a picture, but the attached photo shows what the building looks like. You can learn more online at: Computer History Museum

On Friday the students spent the day at the high schools, Gunn students had an international lunch that they all got to enjoy. Some of the students also had a visit to Google, and then it was time to relax with their host families for the weekend.

Our students have flown back to Austria, with many happy memories of California. It sounds like they had a great last weekend. Some students went to a movie together, some went to Monterey and saw the beach and aquarium, and some went to La Cirque de Soleil. On Monday, even though we were leaving that day, we still had time to squeeze in a tour of Berkeley. The students got to see the Baseball stadium, the hall of sciences (including a dinosaur skeleton,) and the famous campanile. I could not resist posting pictures, because they actually had some California Sunshine on the last day!

I hope that this is just the first taste of California for all of you, and that you come back soon!

Return to the U.S. this summer with ECI!

Want more opportunities to improve your English and explore California? Then enroll in one of our summer immersion programs for European students. You’ll find all the details on the Edu-Culture International, Europe website.

Tahoe Visit, Stanford, and Tesla Motors

Final blog from Local Leader Jennifer

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Google Tour

Students were treated to an unexpected and rare tour of internet company, Google, on Friday after their high school shadowing day. Using host family car pools from both schools, the group was transported to Google Headquarters, where they were given a tour by present and past Google Employees. A special thanks to Heike Schmitz for getting us “in” to Google. The students, together with the tour of the computer museum and Google, really go an “inside” look at Silicon Valley. We hope some of them may return someday for school or work.

Weekend Wind-Down

The weekend was another fun one for host families and students. Some headed out of Palo Alto for sightseeing, others enjoyed sporting events, and others relaxed at home with various activities throughout the weekend. The kids are all looking forward to reuniting with their loved ones at home, but also are enjoying their last hours here.

Devine Family Trip

Our family braved the forecast of snow to travel to Lake Tahoe for skiing and snowshoeing. Emanuel showed us how to ski FAST racing style, and we enjoyed showing him how to snowshoe but it was so WINDY that we called it quits after just a brief look at the scenery on the mountain top. We also took a “dip” in Lake Tahoe, actually we were walking to the water but misjudged where it actually started since it was covered by snow and ice. Emanual has a rare claim to fame that he actually swam and skied on the same day at Lake Tahoe.

Monday sun and the city

Today is sunny and gorgeous in the city. Classes b and c headed first to the Embarcadero, then democratically by vote decided we would all go through thru the financial district on our way to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. The climb paid off with breathtaking views from all sides. We took the campus wooden stairs down enjoying beautiful gardens and the sounds of birds.

Gold rush history

After a stop at the gold rush museum it was time for some free time where at least one student must shop for luggage so he can bring all of his purchases home.

Police and Fire Station Visit

Tuesday was a lovely day in Palo Alto and the students enjoyed a walking tour of the Stanford Campus. On the way to the main Quad, we stopped at the Police and Fire Stations where we learned about how firefighters live, about the gear they wear, some new high tech gadgets they use to make sure they don’t run out of oxygen, and more. At the police station the students verified their prior learning on Americans and guns, as they were informed that anyone over 18 can buy a gun if they have the money and pass a background check. Although there were several weapons that were displayed, the kids were allowed only to take photos, no touching.

Stanford Campus Tour

Then it was on to the main part of campus where we saw Palm Drive, the Roudin Sculptures in front of the Memorial Church, the bookstore and more. The students completed their evaluations of the trip on the desk of the lovely Tresidder Student Union in the sun.

Tesla and Stanford Mall

The last stops of the day were to the Stanford Mall, known for its lovely flower displays and a smaller group walked across the street to Tesla for a look around at the new electric Roadster cars, starting at $109,000. We were not able to test drive, only those who put a down-payment down are afforded that privilege, but we did get some great pictures.

Uneventful Trip to the Airport

Tony, the funny Italian New Yorker bus driver (we really want him to be our driver for the bus tour next time) picked us up and we headed to the airport for an easy check-in. I just heard that the students and teachers have arrived home in Vienna safe and sound. It was a pleasure to meet each and every one of the students, and I hope I will perhaps see some of them again in the future. Many other host families shared with me yesterday at drop off how great the experience was and how much they will miss their student.

We wish the students well! Thank you for reading my blog.
Jennifer Devine, Local Leader

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Return to the U.S. this summer with ECI!

Want more opportunities to improve your English and explore California? Then enroll in one of our summer immersion programs for European students. You’ll find all the details on the Edu-Culture International, Europe website.

Rain Cannot Stop the Fun

Klasse 7 enjoys sightseeing, museums, and school visits

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In spite of the unusual weather in San Francisco and Palo Alto, the students are enjoying their sightseeing, educational, and school visits. On Wednesday the students again grabbed umbrellas and raincoats and headed for the city.

Visit to United Nations Plaza, Civic Center, City Hall

They were welcomed at the San Francisco City Hall by Ellen, an elderly but energetic guide. Ellen showed some of the highlights of the city hall building, including a visit to the Mayor’s office (he was not in, but we met his secretaries).

De Young Museum Visit

Then it was off to the de Young Museum, which showcases a number of American and South American exhibits. Several of the students commented that the Mayan and Aztec art was quite “Scary”, and I agreed with them. The audio tour was helpful in describing the different exhibits and types of art. The students all visited the tower of the museum, which provides a 360 degree view of the city, to have their photos taken. These photos will be given together with a thank you card to the host families after the Farewell Party on Thursday. The students split up after the museum, their choice: continue touring the city or to to do some shopping. Can you guess where the majority of kids went? (it was raining, so maybe that is the main reason). I have been very impressed by this group’s shopping stamina, I have to say.

It’s Showtime on Thursday

On Thursday the students prepared all morning for their “Farewell Program” for the host families. Each class prepared a marvelous presentation: A performed a medley of songs, B prepared a funny word pronunciation game, and C did a Quiz Fact Game Show. Rafael created a wonderful movie for the grand finale of the program – 8 minutes of photos and comments set to music. The host family really enjoyed it and I’m sure that the home families will as well! 12 of the students hosted and shared their personal thoughts about the trip – they were amazing; very poised and speaking from the heart. The teachers were very proud of them, and so were the local leaders, Kirsten and myself.

Personal Computing Museum – Sponsored by Bill Gates

Ok, Bill didn’t give us a personal tour, but we did get to see him talking about Microsoft. After ending our practice, we headed to the bus for a wet ride to the local PC Museum, just outside of Palo Alto in Mountain View, home of Google, Symantic, and many other Internet companies. The kids enjoyed playing the “ancient” computer games like pac-man, pong, and more. There were many interesting video clips featuring the start of IBM, Palm, HP, and of course Microsoft.

Google Bound

The museum was the perfect segue into tomorrow’s (Friday) Google Tour, which came about very fortunately just a day ago. Several of us had been working several different angles to get a tour of facebook or google, and one of our Host Mom’s (one of the first 100 google employees) was able to call upon a friend to give the tour! This is certainly a very rare opportunity for groups like ours, and the kids are very excited. Caroline is baking a cake in the shape of the google logo to present to the tour guides.

Shadowing Day

The Palo Alto High guests were greeted with Paly “Pride” T-Shirts and green beads in honor of the Paly Viking championship football victory last fall. The Gunn guests were invited to enjoy a special International Lunch at Gunn today – an amazing assortment of foods will be offered from around the world. The event is a fundraiser to help victims of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan.

Ready for the Weekend

Host families are preparing for one final weekend with their students. There are plans to attend some sporting events, baseball at Stanford and Pro basketball, some trips to the mountains, to the beach, and some good old movies. Laser tag is also a popular indoor choice. We’re excited about bringing Emmanuel to ski. There is record snow in the mountains – but the road is supposed to open at noon, so we’ll head up to Tahoe in early afternoon. The boys will “skip” one class so we can beat the rush hour traffic. Enjoy the weekend, I’ll write the final blog on Monday.

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Return to the U.S. this summer with ECI!

Want more opportunities to improve your English and explore California? Then enroll in one of our summer immersion programs for European students. You’ll find all the details on the Edu-Culture International, Europe website.