With the intention to improve our English, to learn something about the American culture and to do some sightseeing, we decided to take part in the USA trip 2016 during the autumn vacation. We visited two different cities, in the first week San Francisco and in the second New York.
The trip started at Hamburg airport and the moment we passed the security check we were only allowed to speak English. With a “little delay” of 24 hours and an additional night in Frankfurt we finally arrived in San Francisco on Sunday. During the first week each student had to participate the breakfast service at Glide-Church. This Methodist church, known from the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith, provides homeless people in San Francisco a warm breakfast. Our task was to prepare breakfast and serve the homeless. While doing so we also had the great opportunity to talk to other volunteers and homeless people, which gave us a shocking insight in social system of the United States. After this great experience we met for our English course. During these classes we had to solve challenges (e.g. geocaching, doing interviews with people about the 2016 presidential elections) or visited some trials at the federal court.
Every afternoon we had some free time to do some self-initiated sightseeing or activities. Besides we had some trip-offerings like a journey to Alcatraz with a nice view on the city and the island, a walk to China-Town with its unfamiliar stores and temples, a biking tour through the fog over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and a trip to Muir Woods. Some of us even visited an American Football game or a Basketball match of the Golden State Warriors. Moreover, we went by Cable Car to Fisherman’s Warf where we saw Pier 39 with its famous sea lions.
The following Sunday we took a plane to New York, the second part of our trip. There we didn’t have any English lessons, but all the more free time. After we arrived in the Big Apple, we instantly started exploring the city with its huge Central Park and the Museum of Natural History. It was quite fun that most of the people of our group slept in the museum … we only had two hours of sleep the night before. The next days we saw the most popular sights of New York, like the Statue of Liberty, the Wall Street, the Times Square, the Central Park, the 9/11 Memorial and the Freedom Tower. Especially the Freedom Tower was a very exciting experience as we had an amazing overview of Manhattan. On the last day of our trip we also had the possibility to go shopping at a huge shopping mall in New Jersey.
On Friday we traveled back home with a lot of new experiences and impressions we will never forget. But the best thing actually was that we were speaking English all the time. We definitely recommend this trip.
Kilian Makswit, Lukas Sens (October 2016)