Today was our last day at Einstein. Students began the day reflecting on how they had grown over the last two weeks. We also reflected on our progress towards our UNSDG projects.
In the afternoon, we had German-American Night, which was about celebrating our two communities, and about saying “see you later” to our German friends. It’s hard to believe that it was just a year ago that we got an email notification from a teacher named Maik. We began chatting, and it quickly became clear that, despite all of the miles between us, our school communities had a lot in common- so much in common that we were willing to get on a plane and fly halfway across the world to visit one another in person! The results have been even more wonderful than we could have ever imagined.
We are deeply thankful to so many people for giving our students a learning experience that has changed their lives irrevocably. We know that this exchange had many positive impacts on our students, host families, teachers from both countries, and even administrators. We have already seen that our students are now more confident, culturally aware, and socially competent than they were before this trip. We have opened doors for everyone, increased opportunities to lead connected, fulfilling lives - lives that will contribute to the sustainability of our planet Earth.
We are thankful for our Einstein colleagues: you have welcomed us into your classrooms and your homes, and made us feel like part of your community. Many teachers even prepared lessons that directly involved our students and teachers, and we are very thankful to those who helped us make coffee in the teacher’s room and talked to us over lunch. All of the these things made us feel very connected to and part of Einstein. We especially thank those of you who planned amazing experiences for our students, and shared experiences with us that we will remember forever.
We are deeply grateful to our Einstein host families for providing a caring homes that offered safety and culture including daily routines, food, language, and showing our students what it is like to be a student at Einstein. All of our Ashford students had an amazing time with you, and we are profoundly thankful for the care that you showed our students. You showed them what it means to be generous and giving, welcoming them into your hearts and homes, and treating them like your own children.
Thank you also to the enthusiastic students at Einstein: Your smiles, your hello’s, your help, your energy, showed us that our partnership will be strong. You are clearly passionate about your learning and dedicated to your work. Thank you for welcoming our students into your lives, and for being their friends.
Finally, we are so grateful to our families back home for taking this leap with us, for trusting us with your children. You have raised some truly incredible 12 and 13 year olds who have grown so much over the course of the last two weeks. They showed up shy and jet lagged, and over the course of two weeks we watched them take risks, make new friends, and thrive in a brand new community. They are bright. They are strong. They are capable. And the world is a better place because of your children.
Tomorrow, we get on a plane and fly back home, where students will reunite with their families and celebrate American Thanksgiving. Truly, our partnership with Einstein and experiences in Germany have given us all something to be very thankful for this year. This experience has shown us all that we are so much more similar than we are different, and taught us what it means to be citizens of the world. We are looking forward to continuing to collaborate in the years to come.
Thank you again, Einstein, for everything. We can't wait to see you in June!