Laughter, Smiles, and Rain in SF!

Fun times touring San Francisco with our Austrian students

I was excited about Thursday’s itinerary, as it was my first opportunity to show the study abroad students my city. I have pride living in San Francisco, and I love showing it to new people. What a treat to be able to share it with the Austrian students!

I picked up Martin and Elias for carpool this morning and asked them what they were looking forward to most. Martin responded “seeing the crazy people” and Elias was excited to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Touring San Fransisco, they both got their wishes granted.

Our bus tour exploring San Francisco

We had an exciting day on our bus tour of San Francisco. It was a big day with a lot to do. In Palo Alto it had stopped raining, but on our way into San Francisco the clouds were all around us; luckily we were on the bus. As we drove up the freeway, I pointed out the football stadium, and it seems that we have a few San Francisco 49er football fans in our group. We went downtown and the students just couldn’t stop taking photos. One of the important things they really needed to know is “Where is the Apple Store and when can we go?”

Our Tour Guide, Ed, was very knowledgeable and had fun joking with the students, and I even think they were really listening. We had a birthday boy today and we sang to Alexander Burger. We drove downtown and under the Bay Bridge to look at the Giants’ baseball stadium. I noticed that Mark and Elias were already wearing San Francisco Giants Baseball Hats, which was great to know we have even more sports fans in Austria.

Seeing the Pacific Ocean and Haight/Ashbury

Next we drove through Golden Gate Park and saw the Buffalo. When we stopped at the beach and piled out of the bus they were so excited see the Pacific Ocean. I had thought they were just going to peek over the railing, but they went right on ahead and with Bernd (their teacher & chaperone) at the lead and went all the way to the water. The students ran around and hugged each other and took photos of themselves jumping in the air. For me, I thought it was cold, but they were loving it. The students were curious about the temperature of the water, which we looked up to be around 12 degrees Celsius. Burr! Luckily, by this time it had stopped raining.

We then went to the famous Haight/Ashbury neighborhood, where students enjoyed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and walking around this culturally important neighborhood. Bernd commented that getting a double scoop was way too big and that the portions in America were much different than the small scoops they get in Austria. Many of them had the classic American favorites of pizza and burgers for lunch, and most exclaimed, “Yum!”

Visiting the famous Golden Gate Bridge

We drove past the Palace of Fine Arts and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately due to heavy fog we couldn’t see the city, or even the top of the bridge, but the bridge looked beautiful and mysterious engulfed in fog. While walking across the bridge, I spotted a large pod of dolphins swimming below in the Bay and the group of boys I was with enjoyed that. It started raining pretty hard the last 1/2 mile of the bridge, and we all got pretty soaked.

We stopped at Alamo Square Park, home of the famous “Painted Ladies” Victorian houses that you see on many of the postcards. I was surprised to see so many of them spring up after a long day and jump off the bus and in the rain. I saw Sonja skipping up the stairs into the park with her umbrella. We were able to stop in a couple of other neighborhoods in our way back to Palo Alto, which was fun since each corner of San Francisco is different.

The students started the day with smiles and ended with laughter looking at photos from the day and some sleeping on the bus. I love their spirit and joyful energy. So far they have been a great group. Today I learned how to say “thumbs up” in German which I am not even going to begin to try and spell.

– Marya

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.

ECI’s first study abroad students of 2012

We look forward to sharing California with our Austrian group

Chaperones Marya Kahan & Lena Gammer are excited to show our students an amazing time in the Bay Area. The Austrian group will be living with volunteer host families, improving their English abilities, and seeing what American life is like first-hand. After picking the students and their teachers up from the airport on Tuesday, the group were all tired from their travels. Most of the students went right to sleep after arriving at their host family’s home. They needed to rest for the full itinerary they have ahead of them.

On Wednesday, the group had a full day. We started the day with an orientation and a walk in the rain to downtown Palo Alto, where the students participated in a Scavenger Hunt and all groups did very well. They are all quite clever! They didn’t let the weather spoil the experience.

Visiting Stanford University campus

The rain let up a bit for our Stanford University tour, which was fun and educational. Most of the students will be coming home with some variety of Stanford clothing or souvenir. This is a great group of students! Despite the rain they had a great time today and were in high spirits.

Today we are splitting into 2 groups and will both be exploring San Francisco. The weather should be a little nicer for us. Half the students will enjoy a guided bus tour of San Francisco, including stops at Haight Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Alamo Square, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The other half will take a guided tour of SF City Hall and United Nations Plaza, and will visit Chinatown and Union Square. On Friday they switch, so both groups get to see it all.

We’ll keep posting updates as the trip progresses. We’ll post photos of our time together on the next blog. We look forward to the next few weeks together. Share your own hosting stories in the comment section of this blog.

Welcome to California!

– Marya

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.