Hannah and Nia are currently studying in their last semester in Erfurt, Germany to become elementary school teachers. They supported SAGA as part of an internship from October 2022 to February 2023. Let us take a look at their experiences!
What was your highlight during this internship?
Hannah: To be honest, it is very difficult to choose just one highlight. For me, it was amazing to be integrated into a school abroad for the first time and to gain experience inside and outside of school. I particularly enjoyed witnessing how almost all the students and teachers dressed up for the Spirit Days. Furthermore, I enjoyed doing extracurricular activities with the elementary extended care students on Wednesday, such as reading, playing, crafts and especially baking.
Nia: I think it is hard to think of just one highlight as there were so many different things that I enjoyed. One highlight is definitely my time in the Phoenix classroom, as this is where I spent most of my time. They were very welcoming and accepted me right away. I loved helping everywhere I could and felt appreciated by the students and the teachers. Another highlight was the after school activities Hannah and I organized. We baked, crafted, solved escape rooms and read books together. But most of all we had a lot of fun. It gave me the chance to get to know different students from different classes and it was always nice to hear how much everybody loved our activities. Furthermore, I found it fascinating to learn about dual language education and how to combine the German and American curriculums and school life.
What will you miss the most when going back to Germany?
Hannah: Going back to Germany, I am definitely going to miss the students in all programs. I was able to get to know so many little personalities who enriched my school day every day. Also, the unique school, as well as such great teachers and staff, cannot be found everywhere. Furthermore, I will miss “Bagel Donnerstag” and all the snacks we could always find in the kitchen. Of course, I will definitely miss the friendships I made inside and outside of SAGA as well as the beautiful city and nature.
Nia: What I will miss the most when going back to Germany is seeing the students and the staff every day. I always looked forward to going to school and being a part of the school community. The atmosphere at SAGA is very friendly and you can clearly feel this in the classroom as well as on the playground. I really enjoyed working with the students and gaining their trust and affection. The gratitude I received for my help is something I have never felt before in an internship in Germany, and it is definitely something special. I am also going to miss the small class sizes as this makes the teaching and learning atmosphere much more effective. It was nice to experience a private school environment in contrast to the public schools I have interned with in Germany.
What did you expect before starting your internship at SAGA?
Hannah: My goal was to gain experience in the school as well as develop personally and professionally. Furthermore, I was excited to learn new learning and teaching methods as well strategies in a different country and from different teachers. I was also eager to learn about the SAGA school system and how the different cultures are combined in the school.
Nia: Going in to my internship at SAGA, I expected to learn a lot about different teaching strategies and teaching tools. I was interested in a cultural exchange as well as a methodical exchange. To become a part of the school community and to create a bond with the students and the staff was also a goal of mine. Looking back at my time here I am very pleased and definitely have learned a lot and created different relationships I will remember forever. One thing I did not expect before coming here was the amount of rain. Good thing I packed my rain pants!
What was your highlight outside the classroom?
Hannah: My highlight outside the internship was definitely exploring the city and the surrounding area. The Pacific Northwest has so much to offer and I am very grateful to have been able to get to know the country and nature alongside the internship. Another highlight was meeting new friends from different cities or countries through the internship and sharing adventures together, which I am very thankful for. Overall, I am very grateful for this opportunity and had a great time. I would definitely come back!
Nia: A goal of mine when coming to the US was not only to learn more about the teaching methods and American curriculum, but also to get to know more about the culture and explore the country. To do so, the other interns and I went on trips to Portland, San Francisco, Olympic National Park and Vancouver. It was amazing to see these different cities, but also to explore the surrounding nature. Another activity I really enjoyed was going to different sport events.
Describe your internship in 3 words
Hannah: For me, the internship was a unique, mind-opening and a welcoming experience.
Nia: I think this internship was enriching, memorable and very exciting.