NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Exploring a new culture with such a rich history was just part of this year’s Bethel College interterm trip to Europe.
We traveled to Munich, Salzburg, Basel, Weimar, Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin and Frankfurt. Our group consisted of five students with Merle Schlabaugh, professor of German, leading us.
Some of the historical sites we went to included Herrnchiemsee (a 19th-century palace on an island in Bavaria); the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany; the Monument of Nations, also called the Battle of Nations Monument, in Leipzig; the Berlin Wall and Reichstag building in Berlin; and Hohensalzburg, an 11th-century fortress and castle overlooking Salzburg, Austria.
We also spent a lot of time in museums throughout the trip, where we learned about the history of Europe during different time periods. Seeing history up close made it a lot more real for most of us.
A big highlight of the trip was the food. We liked to try different foods that were typical for the city we were in. We were rarely disappointed.
Some of the favorites in the group included brautwurst, döner kebab, schnitzel, Frankfurter Grüne Soße (Frankfurt green sauce) and ice cream. We usually would eat a large breakfast and then have some wonderful cakes in the afternoon with coffee.
We also got to experience the daily life during home stays in Basel, Switzerland. These were a highlight for many on the trip.
Everyone was very kind to us and showed us amazing hospitality. We made some lasting friendships with these lovely people.
Another activity that we got the opportunity to do was go to a Hertha BSC soccer game. The atmosphere in the Berlin Olympic stadium was crazy! We had a great time cheering on the team, even though no one scored.
Going into churches was another cool thing we did. We saw where some of the most famous composers, like Bach and Mozart, spent time, which was really interesting. We also got to hear two boys’ choirs, the Thomanerchor (St. Thomas Church, Leipzig) and the Kreuzchor (Kreuzkirche, Dresden), both excellent concerts.
We learned German, experienced a different culture, took a lot of steps together (some days more than 30,000) and made a bunch of memories that will last a lifetime.