Thursday, October 27, 2011


We left Osnabrück and after an hour on the Autobahn arrived at Düsseldorf airport. After about a 45 minutes of flying from Düsseldorf we arrived in Paris.

Theres a lot of immediatley noticable differences between Germany and France. As soon as we landed in Charles de Gaulle airport it hit me that it wasnt as clean as Düsseldorf airport.
Germany is cleaner and more orderly. I sort of felt like I was leaving Germany and coming back to Philly, it was that dirty lol. Paris is pretty and crowded. Its sort of like San Francisco but dirtier and more full.

After a 2 hour taxi ride from Charles de Gaulle we arrived at our hotel, the hotel st merry in the Marais. It was actually an old monastery that was refurbished into a hotel. It was a bit small for 21st century people. I had to do a lot of ducking and bending over. Howver, I wasnt gonna let a small hotel room ruin our Urlab in PARIS! We hopped on the paris Metro and spent rest of the night at my host dad's nephews place who's married to a French girl and lives in Paris.

We woke up around 9 and ate a light lunch of croissant and cafe au lait and then took a cab to Versailles. Alojg the way Westward we passed along the boulevards of Paris and even went through the tunnel where Princess Diana died, as or cab driver pointed out. Once we got to Versailles we waited in a 2 hour line till we could also see the Palace that receives millions of visitors from around the world. It was an amazing place and to think it was built over 3oo years ago, older than the United States of America. We finished up around 5 and headed out to Versailles train station and took the train back to Paris.

We woke up around 9 and relaxedly made our way to the Louvre. The Louvre is one of the most famous musuems in the world and a main tourist destination in Paris. It was packed. The whole musuem used to be a palace and was constructed under Napoleon and as a result, it is, as my host sister described it 'the most illogical museum in the world'. We had spent about an hour trying to find the mona lisa. You have to go down a set of stairs, walk a long a few corridors, go up a flight of stairs, walk down another corridor etc...Once we found the Mona Lisa, it was flocked with tourists eagerly taking pictures to prove they were there. We looked at the different collections in the Louvre until 5 o'clock and then walked around the Tuileries gardens and the Seine waterfront and finished the day off with lunch at a French restaurant near our hotel.

we woke up early and got onto the Metro and took it to the Champ de Mars where the Eiffel Tower is. We had a 9:00 am appointment to ascend the tower. It really is huge. It's huge. We got to the base of the tower around 8:45 and already the line of tourist was already a decent size. We climbed the top and could see all of Paris. Its a huge city and extends as far as the eye can see in every direction. After an hour or so at the eiffel tower we descended and ate lunch near it. Then we took the metro the the Champs D'elysees which is like the 5th Avenue of Paris. My host mom wanted to look at the shops there. It was lots of luxury good stores. Like we walked by the original Louis Vuitton store. It had a line of people waiting to get in. Its a neat stretch of shops and when you look up the stretch of shops you can see the Arc de Triomphe menacing in the distance along the boulevard.

We had a 6pm flight out of Paris and we didn't have a full day in Paris. We walked around the Marais and made our way to Notre Dame and the Latin district, one of the oldest parts of Paris where the Seine passes through and you can look along the banks. After spending a good half hour in Notre Dame we picked up our luggage from our hotel and took the train back to airport and we were back home in Osnabrück around 8.

If I could go back a year from now I never wouldn't have believed all the places I've been in the last 5 months or so. I've been to Japan, (Tokyo and Okinawa) Frankfurt, Bremen and Osnabrück and Paris. Japan, Germany and France in less than 5 months. I never would have believed it and it's still pretty amazing to me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

German high school vs US high school

I've been in Germany for a little over 4 weeks. In all of these 4 weeks I've been going to school. German high school is very different from high school back in the US.

In both American and German high school, there are required classes. Germans are particularly skilled in foreign language. From 6th grade on they usually start taking English, and then in 8th grade they are required to take another foreign language, usually French or Spanish.
They then take both foreign languages till 12th grade. Leaving most Germans with at least basic knowledge in 3 languages.

Class is run a lot differently here also. While in America the teacher gives a lecture for the full class time, I've never had that happen in my 4 weeks here. German class contains a lot more interaction between the teacher and the students.

In my school in the US, we usually have a test every week or close to that. In Germany, we usually only get one test per month for each subject. There's never multiple choice or true false in German schools. All tests are always essay or short response.

German school is in general more relaxed than American school.

It would be extremely hard for me to say which system I like better. I am used to the American system and I still miss it. It's more regimented and strict and I sometimes miss that orderliness.