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Summer Service Learning in Germany

Prior to the start of Fall semester, a group of 15 students from 8th and 9th grade traveled to the small farm village Sammatz for a service learning trip.

Sammatz consists of about 180 permanent villagers, including 30 children with disabilities and up to 50 temporary international volunteers. During the course of the trip, CWS students experienced life far away from the big city... learning how to preserve and nurture the environment, making friendships with other young volunteers from Germany and all over the world, practicing their language skills in real-life situations and developing a closer connection to the culture, the landscape, the history and the people of Germany.

Students worked on the farm for seven and a half hours per day. Tasks included weeding and planting the flower beds, harvesting crops, baking bread, making cheese, feeding and herding the animals, and serving ice-cream in the café. Not only did the students gain essential farming skills, but they discovered what it means to be an indispensable part of a clockwork that depends on everyone’s dedication and thoughtful contribution to the whole. With the fresh produce provided by the farm, our students prepared breakfast and dinner in small groups for our team of travelers.

On the weekends, the group made excursions to the old medieval port city Lübeck at the Baltic Sea and the capital of Germany, Berlin. In both places, professional local tour guides shared their historical knowledge with the group and show the students not only the most famous, revered city sights, but also the beautiful hidden corners of their hometowns. During their free-time, students explored the city’s flea markets, ate traditional German street food such as “Currywurst,” “Döner” and “Spaghetti ice-cream,” explored little neighborhood stores and sit in the sun in the Berlin Wall park listening to German street artists. 

Highlights of the summer trip in 2019 include the Lübeck fairground evening, a beach day at the Baltic Sea, our Berlin city tour on bikes, climbing the Berlin wall, meeting old and new Waldorf families in the capital and eating a traditional German breakfast on a rooftop with an exclusive view of Berlin’s panorama. This intensive international cultural and linguistic exchange opened our students’ hearts and minds for alternative ways of living as well as inspired and prepared them for their continued German language learning journey and their future roles as world citizens!