Xavier students travel to Aachen, Germany

Emmegale East, Connect Editor

This past month, from Feb. 19 to 24, 11 Xavier girls and two teachers, Mrs. Wendy Mostoller and Mrs. Ileen Welty traveled abroad to Aachen, Germany. This was Xavier’s second interaction with its German friends during this year’s program as the German exchange students visited Arizona in Oct.

Senior Karina Hawkins reflects on the trip by saying that, “Germany was amazing because it was such a deep experience of another culture. The trip was enriching and taught me how similar people across the world are.” The girls traveled to three other countries besides Germany, including the Netherlands, England and Belgium. Some of their favorite memories, according to senior Janna Hynds, were when “some of our families were able to take us to Amsterdam and one of my favorite parts of the trip was being able to visit the Anne Frank House. It’s such a large part of history that I’m thankful I was able to experience.” She also adds that she “loved just being able to meet all of our exchange students’ families and friends. It was very cool to make connections with people from 6,000 miles away!”

The Xavier students’ trip to Europe was the second exchange of the program as 11 German students visited Phoenix in Oct. 2018. Commenting on the experience of welcoming her German exchange student into her home, Hawkins says that “at first it was weird having another person staying with my family. As the trip went on however I began to really enjoy showing off American culture and Arizona.” Hynds shares a similar experience, stating “I loved hosting Paula (my german exchange student) at my house… I was able to find a newfound appreciation for Arizona by being able to see it through her eyes. She had an amazing time and I’m so glad I was able to provide her with that experience.” For both groups of student explorers, both Arizona and Aachen revealed their charms through the culmination of two cultures thousands of miles apart.

Now that the trip has ended, the two girls reflect on the memories fondly. Hawkins says that, “I would totally do the trip again and recommend girls to apply for it next year. The experience of immersion into another culture is really unique.” Hynds agrees about her desire to experience another exchange trip, “but perhaps [in] a different country!” At the end of the entire experience, including two visits and months of anticipation, Hyndes adds that, “traveling to Germany broadened my horizons in the sense that I was able to experience different cultures that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise without this exchange trip. I met new people, tried new foods, and was able to explore countries I had never been to!”