Four of St. Joseph’s high school students recently visited St. Joseph’s sister school in Handrup, Germany. Staying with host families, students experienced the German culture and their educational system. In turn, they helped their hosts and students at Gymnasium Leonium learn more about the Lakota (Sioux) culture, making dreamcatchers and learning traditional hand games.

Ashley helped 5th grade students in Germany make Dreamcatchers
Ashley helped fifth grade students in Germany learn to make traditional Lakota dreamcatchers.

“We had a wonderful trip,” said Claire, chaperone and houseparent for St. Joseph’s high school program. “The host families made us feel very welcome and made sure we saw all the sites.”

“Our students were really struck by how big the world is and how different - but the same - people are,” added Anita, also a chaperone and high school houseparent.

In addition to historical sites, museums and time in classrooms at Gymnasium Leonium, St. Joseph’s students visited Frankfurt, Lingen and Amsterdam.

St. Joseph's Native American students in Papenburg, Germany
St. Joseph’s Native American students and their German hosts cross a drawbridge in Papenburg, Germany.

After their arrival, chaperone Claire sent an email home:

“We had a great time in Frankfurt yesterday. We explored the city and did some shopping. The kids say they like everything about Germany so far. They are having a really good time learning and seeing new things. Frankfurt is a very big city and they liked seeing the modern skyscrapers, as well as the older buildings in the center of town. They liked the 7-story shopping center Kaufhof, which is like Neiman Marcus.

After Frankfurt, we took the train to Lingen. Frankfurt has one of the largest train stations in Germany, and we had to run to make our connections, which is not easy to do with luggage. We changed trains in Köln. In Köln, the kids were most impressed with the Bridge of Locks, which is a walking bridge with a fence full of padlocks. Lovers place the padlock on the fence and then they throw the keys into the river below."

In the fall, St. Joseph’s Indian School will host German students from Gymnasium Leonium on their visit to South Dakota.

St. Joseph's students at Coppenrath Baking School
During a stop at a baking school, St. Joseph’s students met a German benefactor - she was thrilled to meet them!


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