germany (115)

Final reflections

Looking back on my adventure as a whole this week. Reflecting on some of my best times and my worst times. There were many new adventures, friendships, challenges, successes and failures. Being home, I feel now that I have a better understanding of what is truly important. I feel silly about how many molehills I made into mountains over there. I think the challenges were great for building my resiliency and upsetting my complacency, and I think this will make me a better teacher in the future. It will certainly help in my upcoming practicum (I'm at a pretty challenging school I think so I'm gonna need some toughness). I really lucked out with the school I was placed at, my partner teacher was so helpful and amazing to me for the entire trip. She invited Victoria and I into her home for dinner and was always ready to help when I needed it. She offered to write me a reference letter on our last day of school. And on my last day in Hamburg, we went out for breakfast and said goodbye after a few hours of chit chat. Genuinely felt like a friend! I want to go back and visit her one day. If I could learn German and work there as a teacher, that would be the dream. She said it's possible! Who knows. For now, I'm ready to take on Field III.

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity TAB, I'll never forget it.


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Some pictures and recommendations

If I was to make any recommendations for living in Hamburg, it would be to:

go to a St. Paulii football game (look for ticket scalpers out front)3700454032?profile=RESIZE_710x



visit Lübeck, 


And the Castle in Schwerin


Go to Miniatur Wunderland (and see Batman and Robin in Vienna)



visit Sternschanze (check out some of the street art there).




Also, check if there are homestay opportunities before you book your accomodations!


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Reflections on Hamburg

There are many things I will miss about Hamburg now I am back in Calgary. The experience of living in a German city and observing the differences in culture and life style is something I will always have as I move forward in life. I will miss the architecture of the apartment buildings in Hamburg, the walkability of the city, the views of the canals, the Alster and the Elbe, the mini-Oktoberfest and Christmas markets, German foods like currywurst, the street art, and most importantly the amazing students from my school placement.

Some things I would recommend for next year’s Germany TAB students:

  • Accept a home stay if they are available. The one host family that was available this year was incredible and so welcoming when we visited. Accommodation is also very difficult to find in Hamburg, can be quite expensive, and takes a lot of patience to find but have perseverance in your search!
  • Not everyone speaks English in Hamburg so learning German phrases before coming will help a lot.
  • Your accommodation might ask you to get personal liability insurance.
  • It rains nearly everyday so bring an umbrella.
  • Take advantage of your free time in Hamburg and explore the city!

A few things to do and see in Hamburg: visit the museum Miniatur Wunderland, the Kunsthalle art museum, the neighbourhood Speicherstadt, St. Pauli, and Sternschanze, take a water taxi across the river Elbe for a view of the harbor, go to the Fish Market once, take the elevator to the top of the St. Nikolai Memorial, explore Stadt park, travel to other nearby Germany cities and towns like Lubeck and Schwerin. 3699577898?profile=RESIZE_710x


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German cities and towns

A wonderful aspect of the Germany TAB placement is the opportunity to travel. During the two months I was in Germany I not only travelled to other countries in Europe but had the chance to see cities and towns in Germany. The architecture and history vary drastically across the country. Visiting these other parts of Germany allowed me to develop a more well-rounded understanding of the country. Here are some photos of other German cities and towns I visited.









3699503270?profile=RESIZE_710xNeuschwanstein Castle near the town of Füssen







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Upon arrival in Hamburg, I soon encountered examples of sustainability and environmental consciousness. During my first visit to a grocery store I noticed that shoppers brought their own bags for groceries and the store displayed cloth ones for purchase. During my entire time in Hamburg I can’t seem to recall a time that a store gave me a plastic bag. Away from the grocery stores, several neighbourhoods held outdoor markets on various days throughout the week. My neighbourhood held an outdoor market three times a week along a canal with stalls displaying local vegetables, fruits, flowers, cheese, and meat.

Public transit is readily used in Hamburg. Many train lines and buses connect to almost all parts of the city. There are also bike lanes on every street marked by red pavement stones. Bikers speed past without any notice so it’s a good idea to watch out for the lines and red pavement stones when walking.

There are community gardens in many parts of the city. People can rent small plots of land to garden. These beloved gardens provide a connection to nature amongst city life. One day during my teaching placement we went for a walk with kindergarten students to the community gardens across the road. We wandered through the many lanes of the garden looking for apple trees to spot. At the end of the walk the students picked apples from the trees and ate them there. This made an impression on me as in Canada I feel we are often disconnected from our food and many of our fruits and vegetables in grocery stores are genetically modified.

A major climate protest happened in Hamburg while we were there (as they also have been across the world). Thousands of citizens and people from other cities attended the protest in Hamburg including students from local schools.

3699356788?profile=RESIZE_710xAn outdoor market in Hamburg 


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On the water's edge

Hamburg is a city built upon and around water. As I travel through the city each day I am met with constant sights of the Alster (a large lake that fills the center of the city), canals that lace their way throughout the streets, the river Elbe that I cross each day to my school in Wilhemsburg and where people gather to see the ships arriving in the harbor. Being near to water brings consistent glimpses of beauty and instills calmness within the city. As for the weather, it rains nearly every day. Water is everywhere and part of daily life. There are more bridges here than other cities famous for water such as Amsterdam and Venice.

A major food source for the city is fish. The Fish Market is a cultural attraction that draws citizens to its harbor stalls early each Saturday morning. This market displaying freshly caught fish can be wandered through as the sun rises and the market's lights glimmer against the black water of the early morning Elbe.

Water taxis are also a way to cross to the different neighbourhoods of the Elbe such as Speicherstadt and Hafencity. This form of public transportation is an amazing way to see the harbor sights including the newly built and famous Elbphilharmonie that Hamburg showcases on the river's edge.

Once back in Calgary on the prairies I will miss the sights of water that I have become accustomed to in Hamburg.


A view of a canal 


Ships at the harbour 

3699286203?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Fish Market 

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Tschüss Hamburg!

I'm home now. Seems like it was all over in a blink of an eye. I wish I could have stayed longer. Feels like you just start getting used to it, adapting to living in your city and so on, and it's time to go home! It was such a great experience. At the same time, I'm glad to be home in a warm familiar bed, and have a few days to get prepared for practicum next week. Anyways, I would definitely recommend doing TAB to anyone interested!! I learned so much about myself.. So many things that otherwise wouldn't have been revealed to me. I can honestly say that I will not only be a better teacher but a better person because of this experience. It's so easy to get complacent if you never leave your home country. I love Hamburg and I love Germany and I will certainly be back in the future. Thank you so much for this opportunity TAB!!


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Some Recommendations...


I've attached a few photos from the second half of my Hamburg experience after our Autumn break!

Some recommendations below:

1. Visit Lubeck

Lubeck was a wonderful experience! All 6 of us went for a day trip, and we were accompanied by Dr. Myriam Hummel (our coordinator) and Marcus, who was the coordinator in the past for the TAB program at the Universitat of Hamburg. This is an excursion outside of the city that is planned with our coordinator (Myriam), and from my knowledge, it has been occurring for the past few years. If the Lubeck trip is offered by your Coordinator, I urge you to go! It was also great to meet Marcus, who is a local in Lubeck as he grew up there. He was able to tell us stories and give us recommendations! Lubeck is also known for the Marzipan chocolate, so we had an opportunity to purchase some wonderful and tasty chocolates. All in all, I would say that Lubeck was breathtaking, and is in the running for my favourite trip outside of the city (it's between Lubeck and Schwerin).  




2. Buy a European Sim Card

I would highly suggest buying a European SIM card upon arrival in Germany. There are plenty of different carriers and options to choose from ( i.e. Vodaphone, Lyrica). You can purchase the SIM cards at most department stores, supermarkets, or a Vodaphone store and can top up there too. I bought the minimum (10 euros) for the SIM Card at a corner store and topped up with 10 euros at a Vodaphone store, and that gave me plenty of data and minutes. A lot of supermarkets will charge you an additional 10 euros to "register" the SIM card, but they aren't legally supposed to do that and are ripping you off. Furthermore, when you run out of data & minutes, you can top up at a store, or by getting the Vodaphone app (if you choose to go with Vodaphone -- I would suggest it). If you have Paypal, you can top up online which makes it much more convenient. 

3. Don't Always Trust Google Maps...

I consistently used Google Maps on this trip, but to be honest, it lags quite a lot, and it isn't always reliable. I wasn't the only one who had this problem, but more often than not, Google Maps would be taking me in a direction, and then all of the sudden re-calculate or go off the grid. It was very annoying to deal with, so I always suggest leaving earlier in order to get to your destination on time. Remember, being "on time" in Germany is arriving 15 minutes early. 

4. Buy the HVV Transit Pass

Transit in Hamburg is absolutely wonderful. You can get from one end of the city to the other via transit (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Ferry, and Bus). It is hands-down way more efficient than Calgary's transit! This year, we were given an opportunity to buy transit passes at the student rate (83 euros/month). I would highly suggest doing this for both months in Hamburg as it's a great deal and you will get your money's worth! I only purchased the first month because in my head I justified that we would be gone for 2 weeks in October for the Autumn holiday, and it cost me more to buy day passes for the remainder of the 2 weeks.

5. Take German Classes

I would highly suggest taking German classes before coming to Hamburg! Much to my surprise, more than 50% of people in Hamburg did not speak English, so these German classes can be really handy. They offer Beginner German classes with the University of Calgary's Continuing Education and definitely seem totally worth it. The class was running during our Field 2 (Wednesday evenings), so I did not enroll, but I definitely regret it. The German classes seem to have given 2 other TABers an awesome foundation/baseline, whereas once you're in Germany, it can be overwhelming to learn the language with no previous exposure to it! 


Thanks for reading, 


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Auf Wiedersehen, Hamburg!

Guten Tag, 

It feels so weird to be saying this -- but the time has come, I am currently back in Calgary after spending 10 weeks in Hamburg, Germany. 

I'm still trying to process exactly how I'm feeling but one thing is for sure; time goes by way too fast here on TAB! The last 10+ weeks have been nothing short of a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot about myself as a person, and as a future educator. I urge everyone to apply for TAB, if you are able to! 

Although I am sad that my Hamburg TAB experience has come to an end, I am excited to return to a consistent routine. I'm currently going through all of my pictures from my trip and I'll be sure to post some of them with some important tips after our last reflection session tomorrow.



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Goodbye Hamburg!


 Wednesday was my final day at my school in Hamburg. It has been an amazing experience and I wish it could have been longer! The students and the staff were amazing and I learned so much! On my final morning with the year 13 students, we had a class brunch. The students brought franzbrötchen, cakes, tea and coffee. It was a great way to conclude my time at Max-Brauer Schule!

 Reflecting back on this experience, there are so many things that I could mention as important takeaways. But a few (teaching related) things that I will definitely take with me are:

  1. Always remember that you are learning just as much as your students!
  2. Speak simply and slow!
  3. Laugh at your mistakes!

During my time at Max-Brauer I learned so much from my students. Whether it was about Germany, language, schooling or just the topic of the day, they were always teaching me something. In these moments I became aware of the way I was communicating with the class. Since then I have become more aware of how and in what ways I am talking and using body language. Finally, I am constantly becoming more comfortable with making mistakes. I got plenty of practice making mistakes as I tried to speak German with my students! I hope, in the future, to have more chances to continue to learn and teach abroad.

 I miss Hamburg alread and I hope to return soon!


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Bis Bald, Hamburg.

As I pack my bags and prepare to return to Calgary, I have made two lists for you. The first, a list of things I will miss about Hamburg.

  • Having a falafel shop around every corner. You never know when you'll need one. 
  • My students, especially my "pommes brother", and the teachers I have gotten to know
  • My host family here in Hamburg. They met me with unparalleled generosity, allowed me to stay in their home, get to know their lifestyle, butcher their langue, and meet their family and friends. My time in Hamburg would be nothing without them, and I am beyond lucky to have them. 
  • The Elphilharmonie (as per my last post)
  • Drinking Turkish tea after dinner and those salty pumpkin seeds
  • Reliable public transport that can respond to regular weather patterns
  • My friends here, who made the time to show me the city, and made me laugh constantly


And now, a list of things I look forward to coming home too.

  • My family in Calgary. They (sometimes begrudgingly) supported me going away for two months, suffered through my relentless harassment during election week, and replied to my texts at all sorts of weird hours for them.
  • Iced Capps and Mac n Cheese. 
  • All the pairs of pants that I left behind. 
  • My friends back home, who will now inevitably have to listen to me go “This one time, in Germany”, for approximately the next two years.

All in all, a blog post cannot sum up the experience I have had here in Germany. I am thankful to everyone I have met in my travels, and all of those who are shaping my formative views of teaching. I am grateful for my time here and looking forward to what lies ahead :)

Tschüss, Hamburg. Bis bald!

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Final Days

Hallo Everyone!

This is my final blog post. I fly back to Calgary tomorrow which is bitter sweet. I really miss my partner but I’m sad to leave Hamburg behind. It has been an amazing adventure and I highly recommend this experience to anyone. I’ve learned so much about education in Germany, myself, and how I will be as a teacher.

Things I will miss about Hamburg:

  • The students in my school
  • Cheap groceries
  • All of the waterways
  • All of the exciting things to do (miniature wunderland, the Lion King musical, St. Nikolai, etc)
  • Being able to travel around Europe so easily
  • Spending so much time with my new friends

As I prepare to return home, I’m anticipating some culture shock but I’m excited to see my family and friends again. If you’re thinking of applying for this experience, I highly recommend Germany or any country you get. It is a once in a lifetime experience that you won’t regret!



My school


School Banner


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The Canadians (can't) cook!

This week I got to attend two dinner parties. The first taking place at my partner teachers house and the second at Brittney’s house with her host family. Brittney, Diana, Cerys and myself got the chance to cook. We decided to give them a Canadian experience, which (obviously) had to include maple syrup and poutine! Together we made poutine, candied salmon and Nanaimo bars. And by together, I mean Diana told all of us what to do because we are hopeless cooks!3681508696?profile=RESIZE_710x

The dessert! 


Both evenings were a success! I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such generous people!


Later this week we also got the chance to check out small town Lübeck! Our group was lucky enough to get our own tour guide to tell us stories and show us all the best views.


Coming up, we have our last week at our school placements in Germany. I am already so sad thinking about leaving the students!


Until next time,




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An Elbphie Appreciation Post

My favourite thing about living in Hamburg? Exploring! Well… I call it exploring. Really, it’s me setting out to see one thing, and finding it three hours later after I’ve taken 2 trains, a bus, followed a yellow brick road and walked at least thirty minutes in the wrong direction. Regardless, here’s a list of my favourite finds:

The Elbphilharmonie! Not off the beaten path, in fact, it is hard to miss... but just look how beautiful it is!


The St. Pauli Tunnel! Did you know there was a tunnel UNDERNEATH the Elbe river? Me neither. Well, now I do. Check this out!


Look, the Elbphie again, but this time miniature! 


A beautiful, sunny, warm beach!


What, you don't think it looks sunny or warm? That can't be true. It's in Hamburg. It's always sunny and warm. 

Anywho.... apple trees, apple trees, apple trees, apple trees. 


And lastly, the Elbphie again. It cost over 800 million euros (which is like... infinite Canadian dollars). So it needs to be well documented!

3674333607?profile=RESIZE_180x180I hope you have enjoyed the Brittney tour of Hamburg. Please let me know if you need directions to anything, I am more than happy to lead you astray also. 

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Autumn Break...missing Hamburg!

Guten morgen!

Today I am writing to you all from Lagos, Portugal. Currently, I am enjoying my last couple days of autumn break. It has been a while since I last posted, but I will mention what was happening when I left Germany!

The morning I left Hamburg, I had the day off from school because it was a holiday in Germany. The holiday is German Unity day on October 3rd, and it is a day to mark the anniversary of German reunification. Prior to leaving, a teacher at my school explained some points about the day to me and mentioned that some celebrations will be held in Kiel this year. He also explained some of his families’ history and the significance this day has for him and his family.

 While I’ve spent the last two weeks in another country, I’ve found myself constantly bringing up my time spent in Hamburg. I have been so fortunate to be able to live in such an incredible city for the past two months. I can’t believe it is almost over!

Upon my return to Hamburg on Monday, I have been invited to my partner teachers house to cook dinner with her family and some of her colleagues. I am really excited about the opportunity, and to practice my German! I can not emphasize enough how welcoming everyone at my school has been. I hope all future TAB participants get the opportunity to visit and learn about Germany.




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Languages and Travelling

Hallo everyone!

So for the past two weeks, school has been closed for the German Autumn break. This has given us time to travel around and experience some other countries. My partner and best friend came out to visit me and we've seen A LOT of places! First we went down to Munich, then Austria, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, and then back to Germany. Throughout all of these countries, I found myself hoping people spoke some English when we needed to purchase something or ask for directions. This has made me reflect on how others must feel when they are learning English and trying to navigate their new world. I’ve found this experience to be stressful but a learning opportunity. Body language, tone, and a few words of the other language have gone a long way to getting our point across and getting the help we need.

Only two more weeks to go!

Talk to you soon,



Axams, Austria


Oberbolzano, Italy


Bucharest, Romania


Sibiu, Romania


Prague, Czech Rebublic

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Autumn Break!

Hi there,

I'm currently typing away and working on some school work in Dublin, Ireland! It actually feels so surreal to be able to say that. 

Currently, it's Autumn break and school is out in Hamburg until October 21st, 2019. Luckily, the autumn break has given us TAB students a wonderful opportunity to travel to our heart's deepest desires (that's right, 2 full weeks worth)! After experiencing Oktoberfest's last weekend in Munich, my boyfriend visited me for a week and a half. We took a 5 hour Flix bus and headed to Vienna for a few days. Vienna is a really inspirational place for both of us, and we really wanted to visit because of the significance behind it for us -- many great philosophers had breakthroughs in Vienna (i.e Sigmund Freud & Carl Jung). We were lucky enough to check out the Moving Museum of Sigmund Freud (it's an alternative, as the actual museum is under construction for the next year) and the Austrian National Library amongst other really cool things! 


Posterboard at the Moving Museum of Sigmund Freud - taken by me (original museum under construction)

Austrian National Library (taken by me)


Me in Vienna's city center! 

After Vienna, we flew to Milan, Italy. It was our first Ryan Air flight, ladies and gents, and let me tell you... we were lucky we had no issues. Upon arrival at the Vienna airport, there was a very long line up for those individuals who forgot to check in on their mobile phone/computers hours before their flight. Luckily, we remembered to check in before and because we did, we were not stuck paying the 100 euro fee for needing to check-in at the airport.

So if you ever use Ryan air, remember to:

1) Check-in before heading to the airport

2) Print your boarding passes or save them from the Ryan Air mobile App (25 euro printing fee if you forget)

3) Stick to the baggage allowance, and it's always cheaper to buy your additional bags online!

We headed from Milan to Florence on the high-speed train and spent a few nights in Florence (even extending our stay by 1 night) before heading to Venice. Although I've been to Italy before, my boyfriend has not, so it was an awesome experience to be able to explore together! After Venice, my boyfriend flew back home and I headed off to Dublin, Ireland for the second week of the break. My best friend, since high school, moved to Dublin for her post-grad degree, and as her family is originally from Ireland, she's made the perfect tour guide! I've spent so much time exploring within the city limits of Dublin, and beyond! I've done a lot of hiking -- up to Bray Head, and explored the paths up to the Howth Cliff walk. Tomorrow I'm heading to the Kilmacduagh Monastery, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and Galway before returning back to London. I'm also going to be seeing Derry, Giant's Causeway, Dark Hedges (Game of Thrones), Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle Ruins & Belfast City before I head back to Hamburg. I fly out of Belfast on Sunday and then back to Hamburg I go!


Hike up to Bray Head (taken by me)


View from Bray Head (taken by me)


Top of Bray Head (taken by me)


Howth Cliff Walk (taken by me)


Howth Cliff Walk (taken by me)


Howth Cliff Walk (taken by me)


Howth Harbour (taken by me)

That's all for now. I'll be back in Hamburg on Sunday! 



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Where has the time gone?

Guten Tag! 

I can't believe that we only have a few shorts weeks in the TAB program! Time has been going by too quick, and there's still so much I want to learn and experience. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, so I'll do my best to catch you all up:

School Placement 

As mentioned before, I'm placed at Goethe-Schule Harburg. It's a grade 5-13 school which consists of 2 campuses (the bigger, and 1st campus covers 5-10, and the Oberstufe campus covers grades 11-13). There is so much flexibility with our school placement thanks to our partner teacher. She suggested that we spend the first week exploring what grades we want to focus on (as discussed in my last post). Within the last few weeks, I've learned a little bit more about the how my school is structured.

Foreign Language Classes: Starting in grade 6, students can choose from French, Spansh or Lation for their foreign language classes. Students who start their second foreign language classes early can earn internationally recognized certificates such as DELE, DELF, Cambridge CertificatE as early as grade 10. 

Profile Classes: Starting in grade 7, students choose from profile classes according to their abilities, their interests, talents and inclinations. From grade 7-10, students have the choice between:

  • Theatre in Harburg - focuses on theater lessons and the district of Harburg.
  • Media and IT - focuses on computer science, new media and society.
  • Sports Ecology - focuses on the effects of sports activities on the foundations of our life, namely nature and the environment.
  • Music - A class band is formed where everyone is actively involved with their instrument or voice. 
  • Responsible Living - focuses on many aspects of everyday life. Among other things, cooking and economics are examples of things studied.
  • Theatre On-stage -  focuses on putting together theatrically produced plays on stage.
  • Yesterday and Today - focuses on how culture, society and language influence each other.
  • Science - Tracking Nature - explores the natural phenomena through Biology, Chemistry, Math and Physics in a number of different nature settings. 

Starting from Grade 11 (forgive me, some descriptions are more in depth than others - their school website was used for reference)

  • Media and Society: In the subject,  role of the media is explored through media coverage and media influence on politics. Accompanying subjects are History and Fine Arts.
  • The Globe: basic and advanced skills and competences in the natural sciences with a focus on chemistry, but also geography and economics are acquired. Insights into chemical fields of work as well as their requirements and contents lead to a deeper knowledge of scientific working techniques under laboratory and field conditions. Their importance for the use of global resources and the relation to reality is presented by the geo and economic sciences.
  • Sports, Health & Fitness: students acquire comprehensive knowledge and skills in various fields of health promotion and a comprehensive understanding of health, fitness and health-oriented sport. At the heart of this profile area are various forms of maintaining, restoring and improving physical performance and, of course, the enjoyment of sport.
  • Parallel Worlds: Considering, analyzing and reflecting on historical developments in the world we live in.  Through combing political, economic and social developments with developments and changes in the visual arts and religion.
  • Ecosystem Research: What opportunities and risks arise from climate change for Hamburg and compared to other regions of the world? What new diagnostic possibilities does molecular biology create for environmental research? What should the cities of tomorrow look like and what functions should they fulfill? What are the hallmarks of poverty and how is a more just world characterized? Such and similar questions determine the contents of this profile.
  • (No) Children's Stuff! This profile focuses on the student, and their life. They will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge from the three areas of education, psychology and sports. The main goals of the profile are the development of their professional, social, personal and methodical skills through the development of their personality.
  • Delusion and Reality : Since the dawn of humanity, we have tried to describe, depict and interpret the world in which we live: think of the first cave paintings, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Socratic dialogues, da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" or Goethe's "Faust". Man searches for images, words, theories to represent reality, to reflect and sometimes to question it. Each  produces its own and new means of expression with its time-specific ideas, moral concepts, worldviews and problems. In the cultural history of humanity, it was often the delusional, the intoxicating, the unconscious that led to new artistic perspectives, as in Van Gogh, Hermann Hesse, Dali, just to name a few. This profile examines the subjects of art, German and philosophy the constructions of reality of different epochs. Which worldview prevailed in the Renaissance, during the Enlightenment, in modernity and postmodernism?

Project Week

Two weeks ago, students had their project week. Some profiles went on field trips to different countries, and some stayed in Hamburg but did off-campus field trips (the profile week is structured by the teacher and must get approved by admin). I spent the Monday at the Gedenkstatte Bullenhuser Damm (Bullenhuser Dam Memorial and Rose Garden for the Children of Bullenhuser Dam), and the Tuesday at the Staatsarchiv (Hamburg Archive Museum) before heading off to Prague with some other TABers for our time off for that week.

Autaumn Break

Currently, school is out until October 21st. We were back at school for the Monday-Wednesday after Project Week, and then school was out for the Thursday and Friday before the Autaumn break due to holidays. Some of us TABers decided to go to Munich for the last weekend of Oktoberfest; we even wore traditional German dirndls! After Oktoberfest, we all seperated and I headed to Vienna for a few days, and then to Milan, and am now in Florence, Italy. 

I'm going to be teaching a few lessons after the Autaumn holidays, so I'll keep you all posted on that and the rest of my holiday in my next blog post. 

Bye for now, 


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POTLUCKS (and also learning)

Last week, I got to enjoy "project week" here in Hamburg. I'm going to share what my understanding of "project week" is, but please do not take this information as any sort of definitive guide of all things project week. In fact, please do not take anything I say as a definitive guide to anything, ever. Furthermore, don't take anything anyone says as a definitive guide. Use your critical thinking! Don't believe the fake news!

Once a year in schools, students have "project week". For students, this means one of two things. Either your class is going on a class trip to another Europen country or German city, or, your class remains in Hamburg, and works on a big "project", that is based on your "profile" (or specialization). Regularly, I float between teachers in the English department, all of whom were taking their students to Italy, Spain, or some other super cool destination that Canadian students would be totally envious of. Alternatively, I spent part of my week with the theatre profile class, and part of it with the politics profile class.

The theatre profile was working all week to put on a show on Friday. The day I went in, they were having a potluck breakfast (Lucky me! Breakfast!), and making masks for their show. For the most part, the students just seemed confused as to why the random girl who can't speak German (me) was suddenly slathering their faces in some sort of paper mache mask. Can't say I blame them. 

During my time with the politics profile, I joined as they visited the State Archives and the Bullenhuser Damm - Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. My explanation won't do it justice, so please enjoy this link Essentially, during the war, it had been used to murder children and their caregivers who were being used for tuberculosis experiments. Now, part of the building is a memorial to these children, and the other part is a functioning Kindergarten. My verdict is still out on whether or not I am ethically comfortable with how this building has been repurposed... so I'll let you be the judge of that.

At the end of the week, what is my recommendation for Canadain schools? Get a project week. There's field trips, travel, interdisciplinary learning, hands-on learning, student engagement, participation, interest, community connection, history, art, potlucks... what's not to love? 

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Road Trip

I am in a car with three friends from Canada; we have been on a road trip around Germany, France and Austria for the last few days as the schools are on their fall break. We spent a night in Berlin and then the weekend we were in Münich for Oktoberfest. We got all dressed in Lederhosen and learned and experienced the meaning of the German word Gemütlichkeit (the closest translation in English is coziness, but it means something more like friendly feeling, or the warmth of friendship). We explored some traditional beer halls on the second day, still in Lederhos’n (I borrowed my Lederhos’n in Hamburg from the nicest Air Bnb host on the planet whereas the others rented in Münich for one day). We rented a car and drove to Innsbruck on the third day. We made a stop in a town called Mittenwald, which means ‘in the middle of the forest’; which would have been accurate if they added ‘and mountains’ (mittenwaldundberg?). It’s a gorgeous mountain town with a beautiful monastery that doubles as a brewery. There was lots of delicious cheese and beer and beautiful sights. 

Now we are in Strasbourg France and I have wifi so I can post this. It is absolutely beautiful here! I keep saying Danke forgetting that I'm not in Germany anymore. Next we are on to Luxembourg and then Düsseldorf before we say bye and I make my way back to Hamburg :) 



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