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Letter: Trip to Dachau is one of many memorable experiences

The month of February was filled with truly amazing experiences. I started the month out with a volleyball tournament. There were 10 teams in total and while we came in tenth place, I still had a lot of fun! I finished my ballroom dance course with an “Abschluss Ball” that showcased the many different dances we learned. It began with the couples lining up and marching around the room so everyone could see. Throughout the night we rotated in groups to show off our dances with the public given a chance to dance in between. It was an elegant occasion, and I wore my prom dress from last year. This event was unlike anything else I’ve ever done in my entire life. It was one of the most fun and interesting experiences I have had in my time abroad.

The election for next year’s Crailsheim representative was held. and two good candidates who are very nice girls tried out. Emelie Düll was chosen as the next exchange student. I am excited to have her travel to the United States with me and look forward to being a mentor for her while she spends a year in Worthington.

During the academic year my school has two “Korridor Woche’”(Corridor Week), during which time the class schedule is modified and some of the classes take field trips. I was able to go on three different trips. I visited the concentration camp at Dachau, which was the only camp that operated for the entire 12 years of the Nazi regime. I have always found the history of World War II to be remarkable. After hearing about the concentration camps and the sadness of the Holocaust, to actually visit the site where this genocide took place takes the horror to a whole new level. It was just so hard to fathom that such terrible events took place where I was standing. One curious fact that I learned was that in the few free hours the prisoners were allowed, they would meet up with their friends on the lane where all the barracks were located. They were able to still keep a good spirit and have hope in a place that offered no humanity.

I also visited a bible museum in Stuttgart with the fifth class. They had different activities that taught about the bible in a way that would be fun for kids. We also enjoyed some shopping on the “Konigstrasse.” My final trip was with the sixth class, and we visited a Mosque in Crailsheim. I was able to learn more about the Islam faith and their place of worship and found it very interesting.

This month Crailsheim celebrated their city holiday “Stadt Feiertag,” which included many activities I could attend. The main event held on Saturday was the Gala, which had an international theme this year.  The emphasis was on the four partner cities Crailsheim has with Pamiers, France; Biłgoraj, Poland; Jurbarkas, Lithuania and, of course, Worthington, Minn. I sat at a table with the mayors from all the different countries and Crailsheim, and I really enjoyed talking to them. They interviewed someone from all the participating cities, including me. They also showed videos from each sister city, and it was cool to see how much Worthington has changed in the last five or six years since they filmed it. I actually caught a glimpse of myself in the video, and I was about 10 years old! They also served traditional food from all the countries. From the United States they had a Thanksgiving-type meal with turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and vegetables. It was good, but Thanksgiving food at home tastes better. On Sunday, they had a presentation about the history of women in Crailsheim. At Tuesday’s event were stands from the sister cities with information and food. At the American table there were facts about the exchange history and a lot of sweet treats. I was interviewed again as was Lilo Herzig, the Crailsheim student who spent last year in Worthington. There were also fun entertainment acts. It all ended on Wednesday with music by the city band and awards given to important people in the city.

I have had the time of my life these past few months, and I am beyond thankful to both committees and to everyone who has supported me along the way.