July 6, 2012

From the Kids: What I Learned in Europe

At the end of the trip, some deep thoughts for the road home:   :)

  • J: Europeans drive aggressively.
  • M: How to make stick bread!
  • Z: How to play handball.
  • M: That Public Viewing is one of the most awesome things ever!
  • M: I learned that people here don't wear sweatpants or yoga pants; how to use The Tube; how to use the city bus; that when people cross the street in London, cars speed up, not slow down; people don't use casual shoes; I can understand a lot of the German that people are speaking, but I don't always know how to respond; PDA is WAY more acceptable here.
  • D: Germans eat a LOT more than us. We were expected to eat a whole pizza when we usually share with like four other people.
  • A: I learned that everyone's culture is so different. You know that other cultures are different, but when you experience it, it's so cool. Six different countries in one month and seeing all the cultures. This trip makes me want to travel even more. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I learned a lot about myself and other things.
  • B: How to use a taxi in London!
  • J: The majority of German people think French people are weird.
  • L: I can now understand almost everything they say in German, it's just hard to respond. Also I learned how to be responsible with my money...okay, MORE responsible than before. Haha.
  • M: I learned how to become more independent; to take advantage of ALL of life's opportunities and adventures; about German/European traditions; to try everything; and live life to the fullest.
  • K: That life is full of new opportunities and experiences, and that you need to take advantage of them and do everything you can while you have the chance!
  • T: Driving 'stick' (manual transmission) is tough! I also learned that I love to travel! I like exploring and seeing new things. I'm very glad I chose to go on this trip.
  • C: Always be mindful of what I'm doing. I'm in a different culture. Something that's okay in America might not be okay here (e.g. feet on the table, NOT ALLOWED).
  • H: I learned why time is added onto the end of a soccer game, and that Spain is the Euro Cup champ.
  • H: Mastered the London Underground. :)
  • N: You can get sunburn in the mountains, even though it's cold!
  • L: I learned from the Euro Cup that Germans have a lot of national pride when it comes to soccer.
  • C: You can just drive to France or Switzerland; you don't need your passport.
  • H: I learned 'suka,' which sounds like soccer, is a bad word in Russian; how to understand German in a Russian accent; they say 'war' in past tense, not 'ist gewesen'; anywhere you go in Europe is going to be slightly different and unique; they don't wear yoga pants, spandex, or sports bras...anywhere!; smoking is much more accepted here; Germany has a lot of immigrants; PDA is normal, and sometimes used as a greeting; how to use the city bus; almost all the boys play soccer; the haircuts are different (New Jersey style); and they generally wear shoes, not flip flops.
  • K: I learned that no matter what language you speak, love is universal; how to play handball; and that I love Germany!


  1. what an amazing opportunity for everyone. teachers who can do this with their students are truly the most outstanding. safe travels home :)

    1. You're right: an amazing opportunity for all involved. One of my favorite parts of the entire trip was reflecting with nine or ten of the students at the Frankfurt airport about all they experienced and found out about themselves. Teenagers have their faults, sure, but OH can they be energizing. So full of open eyes.

  2. I love these random comments you've posted. It fascinates me to see what kids key in on.

    1. Me, too. 15, 16, and 17 years old are in turns both insightful and hilarious.

  3. A terrific opportunity for your students as well as yourself. The comments are great, and sometimes pretty darned funny! Tell "J" that the majority of French people think that German people are weird. They have a reciprocal opinion of each other.

    Reading this was FUN!

    1. Glad you liked it! I laughed out loud when I read J's comment, too. Most everyone you talk to in Europe has opinions about everybody else, which I guess isn't that different from how Americans think about people in neighboring states or even counties/towns/schools, etc. Maybe we're all just a little bit weird! Traveling makes me more and more at ease with that possibility. :)

  4. Thanks for these tidbits! I'm happy you enjoyed your trip. Be safe making it back home.

  5. Emily:

    YOU are the role model for your students; especially "K" who now realizes that you need to experience the new opportunities that life offers... as YOU most certainly do.

    Nice touch to include the thoughts and impressions of your students.


    1. Thanks, Richard. I'm just thankful I was able to be a part of this exchange. What's the old adage? When Opportunity knocks on your door, open it. Glad I was in a position to do so!

  6. Great idea to get the kids' input on what they learned. We can all learn from their insights. Sounds like they all enjoyed themselves. You, too, I assume?

    1. Absolutely! It feels pretty great to be home, too, but I'm happy to say I picked up a few insights along the way myself. :) Good things.

  7. Wild_Bill picked up on exactly what caught my attention - that mutual "admiration" society between the French and the German. The only thing better is to listen to some of my English friends talk about the French!

    Another one that tickled me was the response to driving a stick shift. When I learned how to drive, there weren't any automatic transmissions! Good grief!

    Obviously, it was a wonderful trip.

    1. I'm sure! So much history over there. Hard for Americans to comprehend the depth of it, I think. And when there have been that many centuries full of that many wars and conflicts and unpopular boundary laws, well, collars can stay ruffled through the generations, I guess. You should have heard what a Swiss couple we met said about the French AND the Germans!

      Thanks for the comment, Linda.