I am currently on vacation in Germany! I’m here for five weeks on a visit to my grandparents. I go almost every summer, but each year is a new experience for me. This year, I flew by myself to Germany (usually I fly with my family) and it was scary, but fun. Once I got to the airport in Frankfurt, it was about an hour drive to my grandparents’ village.

My days usually consist of a little sight-seeing, swimming, and practicing my German. I know a little German from when I lived here when I was little, and I’m taking German at my school as well, so the language barrier isn’t a big issue for me. However, even if it was, many places have English in addition to German and many people can speak English here. The biggest problem I’ve encountered is the jet lag. There is a 9 hour difference between Germany and Washington, so it’s almost like you’re switching day and night. It took me about four days to finally get the jet lag out of my system.

The culture is Germany is fascinating, but not everyone wears Lederhosen! For example, fresh goods are abundant here; there are delis and backeries in every grocery store. Germans also use a formal ‘you’ to address acquaintances, strangers, and workers as a sign of respect. This can be hard for me to remember sometimes, but I’m getting the hang of it.

Another interesting thing about German culture is the history it has. It has castles around every corner. The one I recently visited was called Hambacher Schloß (Hambacher Castle). This castle walked you through the fight for democracy in Germany from the 18th century to the 20th century. In it, there can be many parallels drawn between the things Germans fought for during the 18th century and the things that colonial America fought for.

I’ve been in Germany a week so far, and it has been such a great experience! I have another month here, and I’m looking forward to learning and seeing new things!

From Lea, 15, South Hill

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