Farewell to Klasse 6C

Saying goodbye to our Austrian friends

Hello all! Saturday I sent your students off on their trip home. I am writing this on the train home from the airport. Everything went smoothly at the airport and I waited until they all cleared the security check.

We had a tearful goodbye with all of the host families in Livermore, full of hugs and many promises to stay in touch via facebook and skype. Host parents talked amongst themselves, musing “it’s amazing how quickly they become part of the family” and “we are already making plans to go and visit Austria.”

While your students were sad to leave America, I know it is their host families that they will miss the most. The bonds created and friendships that grew during the time they were here will flourish for a long time. I am still in touch with my host families that I lived with in France six years ago, almost seven.

Please know that it was an absolute pleasure guiding your children around San Francisco these last 2 weeks. We had a wonderful time together, and I was sad to see them go. Thank you for sharing Klasse 6C with me!!

Warmest regards,
Stephanie

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.

Education Everywhere

At high school, university, in nature, & on the baseball diamond

Hello all! I am sorry for the delay in this post. We have been so busy that I have hardly had time to sleep! What a fun week we have had here in California. Your students experienced some amazing days.

Monday – Shadowing at Granada

Monday your students had the chance to experience American High School, by shadowing their host brothers or sisters. They saw firsthand the major way that American high school differs from school in Austria – Students spend their day changing classrooms, while teachers spend all day in one room, and the students come to them.

Some impressions of the day:
“It’s strange that they go to every class every day” – Stefan
“It was cool, and easy” – Lucas
“Good behavior [of the American students] overall” – Prof. Horvath

Tuesday – Cal Berkeley

Tuesday students had another American education experience. We had a wonderful visit to the University of California at Berkeley. We were treated to a tour of the campus – we saw the Natural Sciences building, which has a Dinosaur skeleton! From there, we went to Haas Pavilion, where the Cal Bears Basketball team plays. We were able to look inside the beautiful reference library – it has been featured in movies.

After the library, we had the opportunity to attend a class! There were three different options – An astrology class about the planets, a history class about Tokyo, and an American Studies class about culture in the US. For those in the group that went to the Astrology class, we were treated to the chimes of the UC Campanile, ringing out the noon hour. Student had the afternoon to explore Telegraph Avenue – a fun street near the University.

Wednesday – Muir woods and Golden Gate Bridge

Wednesday we had the incredible chance to go to Muir Woods – an old-growth Redwood forest north of San Francisco. The entire California coast used to be covered with these trees, but the gold rush and development of California in the 1850s destroyed much due to logging. The Muir Woods area is the only National Monument of its kind near San Francisco.

When we arrived, the sun was peeking out through big fluffy clouds. We walked to the ranger station, where we were greeted by Ranger Tim, who would be our guide. He walked us along the path beneath trees that have existed longer than the USA has been a country. He spoke about how Muir Woods came to be a protected monument, and the thousands of visitors that come every year. We finished our tour in the Cathedral Grove, a group of trees that are around 800-1000 years old.

That afternoon, we finished our visit with a walk along the Golden Gate Bridge. We were treated to lovely blue skies, dotted with fluffy white clouds. While it was a bit chilly, it was not cold. Students had the opportunity to walk the bridge, take photos and to marvel at the majesty of the bridge itself. At 2.74km long and 67m above the Pacific Ocean, it is something incredible! After exploring the area, 6C met with 6A and 6B for photos with the incredible bridge in the background.

Thursday – Baseball Game and Farewell Party

Our last day together as a group. (Friday your students were back at school). We spent the morning rehearsing the grand spectacle for the evening’s Farewell Party – a chance for your students to put on a show as a “thank you” to their wonderful host families. They worked hard on two dances, a traditional Waltz and a hip-hop routine that some of the girls learned at school.

We had lunch at the High School, with some of your students spending more time with their host brothers and sisters. The sun was out and we all took a little sun!

After lunch, we headed off to the softball field at Granada High School, where your students learner about American’s Favorite Pastime, Baseball! With the help of Aleks’ host father, Mr. Klingmann, we played many innings together. Although baseball can be a complex game, your students caught on quickly and were able to grasp the basics. It was such a fun afternoon. Some of your students even hit Homeruns!

Thursday evening we met as a group once more, this time for the Farewell Party. Your students came with their host families, and we all had cookies, cake and drinks while everyone chatted and the students prepared for their show. It was an amazing show. Even more than the waltz and hip-hop, there was singing (Rock Me Amadeus and SpongeBob), a slideshow and thank yous from the students. The host families were entertained and pleased – and also a bit sad, because this was goodbye! Your students only have 2 more days with their host families.

Today your students are at school again, shadowing their host sisters and brothers in their classes. Tomorrow we will meet again to go to the airport, and they will begin their journey home.

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.

Chinatown & Cable Car Museum

The students had a lovely day in the city today, we saw Yerba Buena Gardens, some of the heart sculptures of Union Square, Chinatown, the Cable Car Museum and then they had free time to tour and shop around Union Square. The weather is perfect, please hope for more days like today.

On Tuesday the 22nd we will be visiting Alcatraz. They have very specific requirements on how many adults we must have with us for the number of student we will be bringing on our tour. We need one more adult chaperone for this visit, someone that is over 21. Are there any parents that could spare the time to go on our tour with us? It would be an interesting experience, and you will get to spend a little more time with your Austrian exchange student and their friends.

Tomorrow we will have a bus tour of San Francisco. We will meet behind Trader Joe’s Town and Country Village at the corner of Embarcadero Road and El Camino Real. Drive all the way to the back of the parking lot, near the train tracks, and look for the tour bus. You can pick up your student in the same location at 5:15 pm.

The students have BART cards in their purse or wallet that are loaded with enough money for all of the times we need to ride on BART. We had a couple of cards that did not scan properly. It might help if you mention to your student that the card should not be stored next to their cell phone or a credit card. We will mention this also, during the day tomorrow.

Thanks for hosting, please feel free to contact me with any questions or issues.

Kirsten Flynn – ECI Local Leader

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.

First Days in Palo Alto

It’s been a great first day for us. The flight arrived on time, and we arrived by bus at the Palo Alto High School ahead of schedule. The kids were tired, but this morning they were ready to on our first adventure. The kids enjoyed seeing shopping, seeing fortune cookies being made, a tour of the cable car museum, and Union Square, a center for the arts and shopping. Did I mention they enjoyed the shopping?

I am really enjoying getting to know the kids and their teachers. We are very glad to have them visiting us, and I have received many comments from host families as to how much they are enjoying their student already! I know that my family is really enjoying getting to know our student, Emanuel. As the weekend draws near they will be able to catch up on their sleep a little but also to share some fun adventures with their host families. We are hoping the weather stays nice, today it was party sunny and very pleasant.

Jennifer Devine – ECI Local Leader

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.

Fun from the Beach to the High Sierras

The students of Klasse 6A & 6B spent their first weekend in California with their host families in many different ways. Some families traveled east of Danville to the High Sierras for a weekend of skiing and fun in the snow. Lake Tahoe is about a 4 hour drive from Danville and boasts some of the best skiing in America at resorts such as Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl! The weather was cold and snowy, but that didn’t stop those who were there from enjoying the slopes.

Others headed in the opposite direction, west, that is, to enjoy a day at the beach. Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk is about 2 hours west of Danville and is a great place for kids and adults alike! You can ride the world famous Giant Dipper Roller Coaster or enjoy the spectacular beachfront setting on beautiful Monterey Bay. Many families took advantage of the weekend and spent the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and drove along amazing 17 Mile Drive in Carmel.

When families weren’t on the road to a specific destination, local fun was found at shopping malls, movie theaters, Sky High trampolines, bike rides and trips to the top of Mount Diablo! I think everyone had a great weekend, whether they traveled far or stayed close to home!

Experiencing High School “American-Style”

Students were up bright and early Monday morning to join their host family students for a day at San Ramon Valley High School for Klasse 6A students and Monte Vista High School for Klasse 6B students. Though these schools are top rivals when it comes to sports and school spirit, both schools did their best to welcome our Austrian friends. San Ramon and Monte Vista offered the students a school tour lead by the leadership class. They were able to see the library, gym, science and photo labs and theater.

The students of 6A & 6B had new experiences with each class they observed with their host student. Some classes were giving tests, others lectures. The students told me they really enjoyed meeting their host family student’s friends and hanging out with them at lunch! They all said they enjoyed the American high school experience because it is so different from their school in Austria.

From High School to University of California, Berkeley

Tuesday brought rain clouds, but our spirits were bright as we boarded the Bart train in the morning bound for Berkeley. Only a 30 minute train ride from Danville, Berkeley is the home of the University of California, Berkeley, one of our state’s and nation’s most prestigious university. We met Tracy and William from ECI, who gave us an interesting tour of some of the main buildings on the UC Berkeley campus.

Our first stop was the Life Sciences Building to observe and photograph the life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex. Next, we saw the Cal women’s volleyball practice at Haas Pavilion and then hiked up to the top of the Cal Bears Track and Field stadium. Even with the rain, the view from the top of the stadium was amazing. It was then on to the Doe Memorial Library. Of all public research libraries, UC Berkeley libraries are ranked number one in the country.

We took a break for lunch and the students ventured out onto Telegraph Avenue, a main street of shops and restaurants, that connects Berkeley to the university. The students couldn’t wait to get to the Cal Bookstore to buy Cal Berkeley sweatshirts and tee shirts!

After lunch, we had the unique opportunity to sit in on a university lecture in one of the following courses: Astronomy & Planets, World History of Japan or American Studies: Culture Wars. The students got to hold an actual meteorite in the Planets class, and the discussion in the Japanese History class about the earthquake tragedy was captivating!

We headed back to Danville to spend the evening with our host families after a great day in Berkeley! We are looking forward to a day in Muir Woods and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog and that it gives you an idea of the great adventure your children are having in California! They are great kids and I am really enjoying my time with them!

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.