This past week, we did something really ausgezeichnet/fantastic!! We got in the car…
and we drove and drove and drove… From the east coast….
We headed to the small city of Bemidji, visited Paul Bunyan and his Big Blue Ox…
… before entering Waldsee (the German language section of Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota).
There we spent an entire week immersed in the German language, culture, and food.
Of course, it’s never the beautiful buildings that make the experience, it was the program and people. The days were well planned out… After breakfast, everyone got together to sing songs together (and to do a bit of dancing too!). Then the rest of the day alternated between language session, activity periods, the 2 “Pauses,” and meals.
There were three language group sessions over the course of the day and they alternated with with three activity periods with options like soccer, swimming in the lake, weaving & other crafts, zumba, fencing, slip-n-slide, GaGa ball (see the photo below left), fun tubing (being pulled on a boogie board behind a boat), frisbee, hiking, games, and I’m sure I’m missing a number of other options. Usually there were about 8 or 10 options to choose from each time.
The idea is that you speak as much German as possible throughout the day in a very natural way… from asking for food at meals and borrowing money from the bank, to playing Fußball/soccer with native German speakers!
The day also included meals (with home-made German food)… the bread and pastries were amazing…
and two “Pause” times when the “bank” was open (and you could take out Euros). The kids could then go “shopping” for candy, books, pens or pencils, CDs, hats, t-shirts or they could buy a piece of cake at the Waldsee Cafe.
The evening had an assortment of activities and games. It was truly a fabulous experience.
My friend went with her two kids and knew NO German what-so-ever… and has come away speaking in short sentences… and with the professors and native German speakers, my German was really stretched to its limits–in a good way, that is!!!
The kids loved it too. LD said it was very challenging, but he was full-on into the activities all day long! And the girls adored their language group. By the end, we had all met really great people and made some good friends. It was really a neat family experience… and I can see that it is an incredible experience for youth who go there (without their families) as well. The staff are wonderful.
I guess that’s about it. We can’t wait until next year!
Concordia Language Villages offers programs in 15 different languages including French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Russian, Swedish, and more!
You may be interested in these related German posts & how we’ve been learning German in our Homeschool:
- Coming in a couple of days: The German curriculum and books we will be using (a review of more than a dozen resources)
- German Family Vocabulary Practice — die Familie
- Free German Grammar Worksheets (sein — to be)
- German Books for Kids — the books and stories we used last fall (2014 when the kids were 6, 8, 11)
- Free German Worksheet Packet on Animals (Part 1)
- German Stories for Kids Online — and a Packet on Animals Part 2
- Free German Worksheets for Kids
- Foreign Language Gold Mine: German Flashcards, German Writing Worksheets