From Friday, the 23rd, to Wednesday, the 28th, a group of Germans from our sister city of Borgholzhausen visited New Haven for a rededication ceremony. While they were in town, the Bürgermeister (German word for mayor) of Borgholzhausen, Dirk Speckman, visited with the German 2 class. Leonie Niemeyer and Sandrina Lupp-- students from our sister city-- also visited with the class and answered questions.
The following statements came from the class’s Q&A with the visitors.
First, Bürgermeister Speckman was asked if he had visited any other cities in the US besides New Haven. He stated, “When I was here in 1997, I flew into New York and spent 6 or 7 days in there. I also visited Philadelphia, which was cool to see the bases of the American Foundation.”
He also mentioned that he had visited Chicago, the cities of Seattle and San Diego on the West Coast, and the Lake of the Ozarks.
Leonie visited St. Louis and stated “We saw the Arch and rode the trolley. I fell asleep.”
When Bürgermeister Speckman and Leonie were asked if anything about New Haven surprised them, they agreed that they were both surprised it was so hilly here.
Bürgermeister Speckman was asked what his favorite thing to do in the US was. He said that he enjoyed driving around and looking at the countryside. He also mentioned he liked visiting with old friends.
Leonie and Bürgermeister Speckman were asked if there were any big differences between the US and Germany. Leonie mentioned,“The school is very different and the school system is also different.”
Bürgermeister Speckman said, “Sports plays such an important role in this area and in school.” He went on to talk about how, in Germany, there are no school-sponsored sports, only club teams. He also said handball is big over in Germany, and it is almost unheard of over here in the US.
Bürgermeister Speckman was asked about the landscape of Germany. He stated, “The north of Germany is extremely flat. We always say you can see today who is coming to visit tomorrow. The area of Borgholzhausen is a little bumpy and hilly. The south of Germany is very hilly and mountainous.”
Leonie and Sandrina were asked if they played any sports in Germany and if they have jobs like many high school students here in America do. Sandrina stated, “Yeah, I play volleyball but it doesn’t belong to our school. It’s separated. I think German kids work during holiday. Leonie works during weekends but it is not very often.”
Leonie and Sandrina talked about some fun memories they had here in America. Sandrina said, “I was with Sarah [McKernan] at a competition of her boyfriend for shooting. In Germany that isn’t allowed.” In Germany, you cannot buy a weapon until you are 21 years old.
She went on to say, “We went to a very big shopping mall.”
To end their time in America, many of the Germans went to New York City. We wish them safe travels back to Borgholzhausen!