It was a busy weekend for our Ashford students as they continued to get settled in to life here in Germany! This weekend was spent with our wonderful host families who took our students on a wide variety of activities. Some of our students went swimming, some went bowling, and others visited nearby cities. Many also got to experience the German tradition of St. Martin's Day, which is where children decorate lanterns and go door to door singing special songs. At each home, they get candy. This tradition commemorates St. Martin, who had a very long cloak that he gave to a poor beggar to shield him from a dangerous snowstorm. He is considered a Saint for the Poor. It's somewhat similar to the US tradition of trick or treating for candy.
Some Ashford students sent in their weekend pictures- feel free to check them out below. We will continue to update this post as we get new pictures from our students.
The weekend helped most of us overcome the last of our jetlag, and we got to spend a full day in school attending German classes.
As part of our global learning emphasis, we have been integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into our lessons and school programs. There are 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that UN member countries are trying to achieve by 2030. Each Ashford student in Germany chose one of these SDGs to focus on. Together they are gathering data on Survey123 (a GIS app by Esri) to answer a Geo Inquiry question based on the goal. In this way, we can learn what Germany and the United States are doing to meet the SDGs and what ideas we can share with each other. For example, some students are mapping access to public lands, types of renewable energy, alternative transportation, opportunities for women, and more. The data they are collecting will all contribute to an interactive “Story Map” that we can use to share what we learned on this incredible German adventure.
Today our students went to the Recyclinghof, or recycling center. In Germany almost everything gets reused or recycled. Ten years ago materials were kept in a junkyard and it polluted the groundwater. Now the materials are being recycled and some can even be turned into energy. The Recyclinghof includes an area for compost and we learned that a banana peel can power a LED light bulb for one and a half hours. The Recyclinghof has also collected over 80 million cell phones. Cell phones have a lot of raw materials, such as copper, silver, and even gold. The center has collected over 700 tons of Copper!
The Recyclinghof that we visited also helps refugees. Over 1,000,000 refugees came to Germany in 2015. Often refugees cannot get jobs until they receive official refugee status which can take months. The Recyclinghof, which in a nonprofit, is able to provide work for new refugees and provide German language lessons. The refugees collect materials and sort them so that they can be reused. There is also a second hand shop to encourage people to reuse old goods. Several of our students enjoyed hunting through the shop for “treasures” to bring home. The people at the Recyclinghof were wonderful hosts and we are so glad that we were able to learn more about sustainability in Germany.