Diaz expands her horizons with study in Germany

Reagan Devinney, Reporter

Savannah Diaz, senior, went on the ultimate field trip in August 2013.

She went to Germany and experienced the cities of Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Quedlinburg, Jülich and Würzburg.

While she was in Europe for 10 ½ months, she also got to visit nine other countries as well.

Even though she got a great educational experience, she did not go to Germany trrough the typical school trip. Diaz was able to go through the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program.

CBYX and the government covered most costs for the trip, and Diaz’s parents provided her with approximately $200 in spending money a month, but Diaz covered other costs with money she had been saving from work. That allowed Diaz to go shopping and buy needed items throughout her trip.

When she got to go shopping, Germany had many neighborhood shops and high-end retailers, so it was pretty expensive. Diaz spent her time shopping at thrift shops instead.

She lived with a host family in Jülich, Germany, which is a small town. The family has a son and a daughter who are oldert than she is.

Diaz grew up speaking German, until about the age of 7, and she has spoken it on and off since then.

German culture is quite different from American culture when it comes to the food, the transportation, the houses and schooling.

German food usually consists of heavy meat-based dishes that are commonly paired with alcohol and potatoes.

“I didn’t like the potatoes very much. They were hard boiled, and we would eat them every day,” Diaz said.

The most commonly used transportation in Germany is subways and trains, which Diaz took often to get around.

Houses in Germany are all very similar. They are set to more standard regulations. Each window and door was set up to regulation standards and most features are the same.

The school Diaz attended was a private Catholic school.

“The school was set up similar to block schedule, but our college is their high school,” Diaz said.

In Germany, the classes are harder and are more like the classes Americans will be taking in college.

For three days of the week, Diaz would end school at 1 p.m., on Thursdays she would get out at 3:30 or 4 p.m. and on Fridays she would get out at noon.

“It was a bit of a culture shock at first because I hadn’t been to Germany for many years and everything was so different,” Diaz said.

Diaz liked Germany, but she also liked to visit other countries as well.

One of her favorite memories was when she got to go to London with her class.

The teacher let the students explore for themselves as long as they were back to the hotel at a certain time. Diaz and some of her friends went running around to look at what London had to offer.

When they were done, they needed to get transportation so they could go back to the hotel, but workers were on strike and the transportation was shut down.

Diaz and her friends ran around trying to find their way back to the hotel, which they finally did after a long time of searching.

With getting to see so many European countries for little cost, Diaz would recommend this trip.

“This trip is a really easy opportunity for students to go see other countries. The government pays $14,000 for you to go for a year, so I recommend it,” Diaz said.

Diaz was happy she went because she got to meet new friends, whom she is still in contact with today.

She is planning on going back to Germany this upcoming summer and getting to see the culture all over again.