Summer fun for Portaloo exchange students - Republic-Times | News

Summer fun for Portaloo exchange students

By on August 29, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Pictured are, from left, Jessica Ubbelohde, River VanVeghel, Kate Schneider, Abby VanVeghel, Carter VanVeghel, German student Gina Beiersdorfer, Kelsey Tiemann, German student Anna Franken, Aleah Larsen, Wil Schneider and Ryan Geiler. (submitted photo)

When Anna Franken and Gina Beiersdorfer left Saturday morning, the travel portion of the Sister Cities of Portaloo’s foreign exchange program ended for 2018.

Franken and Beiersdorfer came to Waterloo July 29. That was after Waterloo students Wil Schneider and Aleah Larsen visited Germany from June 26 to July 27.

With the program over for another year, these students reflected on their trips.

Waterloo students
The exchange almost did not happen this year, at least on the Waterloo side. That is because Larsen was the only person who wanted to go. Since she was 15 at the time, Sister Cities did not want her to go alone and were going to cancel the trip.

Larsen found Schneider, however, and trip was back on.

Larsen said she fought to go to Germany to be able to travel internationally.

“I’ve never been out of the country before and I thought this was the best and easiest opportunity and the only chance I would get this young,” the Waterloo High School junior said. 

“I wanted to see what Germany was really like and just to experience a new type of culture and way of life,” Schneider, also a junior, said of why he wanted to go. 

Even though it was only the two of them, Larsen and Schneider still completed the application process, which involved writing an essay and being interviewed by Sister Cities officials.

While in Germany, they stayed with two host families.  Larsen and Schneider traveled across the western part of the country. In addition to Porta Westfalica, they visited Cologne, Hamburg, Heidelberg and The Black Forest…>>>

Read more about the adventures of the Waterloo students in Germany, and those of the German students in the States, in the August 29, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

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James Moss