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.