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Letter: Trip to London, Volksfest were September highlights

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Letter: Trip to London, Volksfest were September highlights
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

By Jason Sternke, Worthington exchange student to Crailsheim

Hi Worthington! Another month has passed already. September was filled with trips, festivals and meeting new people. It seems like I was writing the letter for August just yesterday — how time flies!

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In the beginning of September, I started school. I go to the Realeschule am Kralsberg. This is just one of three types of schools here in Germany. The Hauptschule provides education through the ninth class. This is considered the lowest level of education and is not very popular. The Realeschule goes through the 10th class and is best for apprenticeships. Finally, the Gynasium goes through the 12th or 13th class and is considered “college bound.” What school one goes to depends on the school he or she chooses in the fourth class. Wow! When I was in fourth grade, I still wanted to be an NFL player.

I find it interesting that they have to make such a big decision at such a young age. But, you can always continue in your education. For example, if you’re in the Realeschule and finish the 10th class, you could then go to a gymnasium for two or three years so you could go to college.

Like I said earlier, I go to the Realeschule am Kralsberg. It is really cool. The students and teachers are really nice, and I love the schedule. On Mondays, I go to school until 3:10 p.m. Every second Tuesday, I go to school until 12:05 p.m. (the other Tuesday I go until 3:10 p.m). Then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I go to school until 12:50 p.m. It’s really nice.

Within the first week of school, we had our first field trip. That Friday, we drove to London. It was a 16-hour bus ride, two of which were on a ferry. Throughout our week in London, we took a tour of Buckingham Palace, went to the London Eye, spent a day in Camden market, had some free time to roam about the city and much more. The trip was especially great for me because it allowed me to get to know my classmates better. While we were in London, we stayed with host families. It was a bit different, because I was used to hearing German all the time, but I didn’t mind hearing English again — especially with all the cool accents.

On our trip home, there was only one thing any of us could think about: Volksfest. Volksfest is a huge festival where many people get together (most of them in traditional German clothing) and have a lot of fun. At Volksfest, there are a huge variety of attractions. There are rides, games, food stands and — of course — the famous Engel beer tent. Every year, thousands of people come to Crailsheim for Volksfest. It lasts four days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) with a parade on the last two days.

We got back from London on Volksfest Friday, slept for about three hours and then went to Volksfest. I was very tired, but it was worth it. The next day, I got up early for the parade. Every year, there is a section in the parade for the sister city of Crailsheim (that’s us!), but this year was special — this year, our very own Mayor Oberloh rode in that section on his Harley. That was awesome. It was fun to talk to the Oberlohs when they came over. They filled me in on recent events, like how Paycheck did in the Turkey Day race. It was nice to hear about everything going on back home.

After the parade, I took a little time to rest and get ready for the rest of Volksfest. Then the previous day’s events repeated themselves. I went to Volksfest, went to sleep late, got up early the next day for the parade and then went to Volksfest again. It was so fun. Then on the last day (Monday), I went to Volksfest, but left a little earlier because I had school the next day.

The next week seemed a bit dull compared to Volksfest, but then my host family took me to Oktoberfest. I know this letter is about the month of September, but Oktoberfest starts Sept. 21 and goes through Oct. 10th. We went on the 28th of September. Oktoberfest is a lot like Volksfest, only much bigger. There are more tents, games, rides and people. It was very neat to see all the people in their traditional German clothes.

Well that’s about it for the month of September, but I’m looking forward to writing you all next month.

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