Kurt Miller ’16 – We arrived safely in Marburg Germany the morning of May 5th to find beautiful weather and welcoming host families awaiting us. The group, all near a comatose state of sleep deprivation due to jet lag, eagerly took a step into a new country many had never visited before. Dr. Tucker and Dr. Redding guided us to the “Sprachschule,” or language school, where we learned more about the itinerary and the host families we’d be staying with.
After meeting and discussing the day’s plans, we embarked into Marburg and our immersion trip began. Our first order of business was meeting with our host families and dropping off our luggage. Some Wabash students are staying within easy walking distance of the language school. Others had their host families pick them up with a car. My host ‘mom,’ Ms. Suarez, a Cuban immigrant and artist who speaks little English, quickly welcomed me into her home, showed me my room for the next two weeks, and offered me a bicycle for my own personal use. Her son, a 16-year-old trilingual student, is the only other person in the house with knowledge of English. Although it is only the second day, my host family’s hospitality got the trip off to a great start, and I look forward to getting to know them better.
On Monday morning, we began our first lesson at the “Sprachschule”. Starting at 8:15, we received a lesson from Herr Mueller, who reviewed with us the geography of Germany and the history of Marburg. The entire lesson was in German and while I sometimes struggled to keep up, I already can tell my proficiency in German is greatly increasing. After language class, we had some time on our own to find lunch and then our group met up with Professors Tucker and Redding at the major church in the city, the Elisabethkirche or St. Elisabeth Church, built by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. We learned that the Elisabethkirche was the first purely Gothic church built in Germany.
From there, we went to a nearby chapel erected in 1270 and still standing! It was a beautiful old site of pilgrimage with graves dating back to the early Middle Ages all around it. We then moved on to tour the city and discovered that scenes from The Brothers Grimm fairy tales are placed all around the city for people to find. We ended our introductory tour of the city at the Marktplatz, or market square, in the heart of historic Marburg. After that, we had some free time and we eagerly explored the city further on our own. All of us are looking forward to a good night’s sleep and are happy the trip started off so well!