Freya Spickenbaum Intern

Freya Spickenbaum intern at german school campus shopping at Aldi T

My intern time at the GERMAN SCHOOL campus in Newport Beach

On Saturday morning, January 21, the time had come. My adventurous journey to California began. After all the months of detailed preparations regarding the sponsor for the internship and the visa, I was able to board the plane in Düsseldorf and head towards Los Angeles. The planning for this internship took a total of more than half a year. But planning was made easier by Mrs. Schoeneich, who has a lot of experience setting up internships and was always there to help. In my search for a suitable internship, I quickly became aware of the PASCH schools by means of the informative pages of the DAAD. Since I am studying English for a teaching degree, it was quickly clear to me that an internship at a German school abroad was the ideal type of internship for me. I sent Mrs. Schoeneich an email and asked for a traineeship, and I was very happy about her positive feedback. When I arrived in Los Angeles on a sunny afternoon, I was very happy to see the familiar face of Mrs. Schoeneich, who was so kind to pick me up at the airport! On the car ride to Newport Beach, I was able to get a first impression of beautiful California. We drove together to the accommodations, and I had time to settle in and get used to the time change. The next day, Mrs. Schoeneich and I drove to San Diego to pick up my rental car. It was a new experience for me to drive in the U.S., but basically, Americans are relaxed and friendly drivers! This made it very easy for me to get used to different traffic rules. Afterward, we went grocery shopping at Aldi, which offers good deals.

newport beach german school campus location

Sunset at the German School campus

Then on Monday, my internship started at the Newport Beach campus. Right from the start, I noticed that the German School campus places a lot of emphasis on cooperative learning. This is particularly evident in classroom management. For example, the students sat down in a circle of chairs and introduced themselves in turn. I also introduced myself, and the students were able to ask me questions. It is remarkable to observe how much German the students already understand and speak, even though they have not been learning German for a very long time. A central focus is placed primarily on vocabulary acquisition. Students are given a lot of information that helps them quickly and fully express themselves. Also, there aren’t too many students in each learning group, so teachers can meet the needs of each student. On Tuesday, January 25, the AATG exams were written in levels 2 and 4. The exam consisted of a reading and a listening comprehension section.

On Wednesday, I helped with the cooking classes at the San Clemente campus. The German School campus offers several cooking classes: European, German, and Austrian, world recipes, and baking and cooking in general. It is Mrs. Schoeneich’s goal to teach the children basic things in the kitchen. This includes first washing their hands, tying their hair, putting on an apron, and preparing their cooking materials. That day, crepes with strawberries, bananas, and chocolate cream were baked. As always, nothing was left over. So, it tasted good!
The children also liked the “Berliner” (German jelly doughnuts) and the French vegetable waffles that were made the following week so much that they took them home in small tins for their families.

Krapfen Berliner backing at german school campus ILA

I also participated in the German and Spanish classes of Ms. Schmelzle. Ms. Schmelzle manages to inspire the children for a foreign language and to take away their shyness in speaking. Here, too, it becomes clear that the most important thing is to speak a foreign language. During the second week of the internship, I also gave a PowerPoint presentation about North Rhine-Westphalia, the state where I grew up. This provides the students with new information about a region of Germany. The students listened with interest, as they had not yet heard much about the coal industry in the Ruhr region.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks and what they have in store for me.