Erin and Danisha, St. Joseph’s students, stand by a remnant of the Berlin Wall.
Erin and Danisha, St. Joseph’s students, stand by a remnant of the Berlin Wall.

Two of St. Joseph’s high school students recently visited St. Joseph’s sister school in Handrup, Germany.

Erin and Danisha learned about the German culture and educational system, while sharing important aspects of the Lakota (Sioux) culture with their host families and students at Gymnasium Leonium.

“We had a wonderful trip,” said Jenny, the girls’ chaperone and Residential Coordinator for St. Joseph’s high school program. “The host families made us feel very welcome in their homes and made sure we saw all the sites.”

A long weekend in Berlin was a highlight of the trip for everyone. There, they visited remnants of the Berlin Wall and gained new understanding of the sacrifices people made to give their families a better life.

Lakota students enjoy shopping in Berlin.
Lakota students enjoy
shopping in Berlin.

Uta, a host for this trip and former exchange teacher at
St. Joseph’s Indian School, lived on the east side of the wall with her family.

Though she didn’t understand what was happening at the time, she recalls there was no contact with relatives on the opposite side of the wall for almost
28 years.

“It was hard to think about families being separated like that for so long,” said Erin. “I am away from my family when I’m at St. Joseph’s, but not like that. I can still talk to them and see them on breaks. And it’s my choice to be at St. Joseph’s – nobody makes me.”

In addition to the wall, Danisha was moved by their visit to the Museum of Immigration in Bremerhaven. “Everyone wants the best for their family, no matter where you’re from,” she said. “It was amazing to see what people have done to give their families better lives.”

Erin shows German students how to make a traditional Lakota dreamcatcher.
Erin shows German students how to make a traditional Lakota dreamcatcher.

In addition to historical sites and museums, the girls gave presentations in classrooms at Gymnasium Leonium on St. Joseph’s Indian School and Lakota culture.

They even helped one class make traditional Lakota dreamcatchers.

 

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