Conclusions — July 8, 2016

Conclusions

This exchange has truly been a great experience. The trip to Germany has really opened my eyes to a new world. I am going to miss the new friendships that have been made, the memories we’ve all shared, and the adventures we took part in as a group. The Germans have shown me parts of their culture that I would have never known about if I stayed home. For example, I have a newfound appreciation for Fußball(Soccer) and pretzels. This trip has changed me as a person in many ways, but one of the biggest ways is my changed perception of different cultures. I now know that there is more to see in life than just America. There are too many different cultures and places to see which makes me excited to explore other parts of the world. I am now a more open minded person and for that all I have to say is thank you, Germany!
-Jonathan Allen

 

Final Presentation —

Final Presentation

After our extensive work and research in Nürnberg we finally came to the presentation day. We all split into three groups with separate topics; one group was the conclusions from Atlanta, another was the conclusions from Nürnberg, and the last group was the cultural differences between the cities and schools. We presented at The Krakauer Turm with all the important guests and the host parents present.

The first group, the Atlanta group, discussed the data collected from the surveys about capital punishment. The next presentation, the Nürnberg group, discussed the issues with the NSU killings in relation to capital punishment. The final group, the cultural differences group, talked about some similarities between Atlanta and Nürnberg as well as major differences.

Maynard Jackson’s students all agree that the project was a great cultural experience, as well as a great way to bond with students across the globe. The after party was a great way for us to relax with each other after our important presentations, and say our final goodbyes.
-Griffin Ramsey

A day in Schwabach —

A day in Schwabach

Today we travelled to a small town outside of Nürnberg called Schwabach for a tour of the Karl-Dehm-Mittleschule. During the tour we were described the German education system and its different levels. During fourth grade all the students take a test to decide what type of school they’ll move onto. The kids who score the highest move onto a Gymnasium such as the Sigmund-Schuckert-Gymnasium. Those who have a slightly lower score go to a Realschule and then those who score the lowest go to a Mittleschule. It’s possible to move up or down the education system but it’s highly unlikely to happen.

While on our tour of the school, we shadowed students in their physics and English classes. In physics we paired up with a group of students and built a dynamo then tested how it worked. After our physics class we visited a fifth grade and eighth grade English class.

After touring the school we walked around Schwabach.  Schwabach looks like the stereotypical German town with cobblestone streets and medieval styled buildings built with crimson or brown timber. In the middle of the town is the church of Saint Johannes and Saint Martin church which stands tall enough to be seen nearly anywhere in the town’s center.  

Once returning back to school we continued to work on our project work for our presentation before being let out to enjoy the rest of our day walking around Nürnberg.

-Noelle Oberlin

Mr. Simsek —

Mr. Simsek

Today during our experience in Germany, we had the honor to hear and speak to Abdul Simsek. This is important because he was the son of the first Turkish victim during the NSU killings. This gave our group a look inside how the killings took place, how the victims were treated, and how it was handled by the police and media. Mr. Simsek explained to us how he was treated less as victim and more of a suspect, which made him have less belief that his father’s killers would ever be found. To follow up with that, Mr. Simsek also talked to us about how they worked with the other victims because they all believed that the killings were terroristic. At last, He also touched on how the media and police viewed the case. They both thought the Simsek family was the root of the murders so time and time again they would get interrogated by the police and trashed on by the media. All of this made them scared to go out and have a life. All in all, this was a great opportunity for our project, as we got a first hand look into the killing. Even though it was tough for Mr. Simsek, we really appreciated his time.
-Colin McAdams

Cultural School Differences — July 1, 2016

Cultural School Differences

Our trip so far has been full of surprises. For example, we as students ourselves had the opportunity to teach some of the lower English classes. This was a challenge because of the language barrier, and even though the kids had been learning English for a few years, their skills were still limited. While teaching, I noticed some cultural differences between the American classroom and the German classroom. One of the differences we noticed was the teacher-student relationship. In America, or at least in Maynard H. Jackson High School, the relationships between teacher and students is a lot more relaxed. A lot of the teachers care about the student’s home life and mental health, which breaks down the conversation barrier. Students and teachers in our high school have a very casual relationship, allowing for a deeper connection. However, in Germany, the teacher is seen as a very serious authority figure, and one would rarely converse with them outside of school or even the classroom. We personally noticed this difference when one of our American students was talking about their FaceTime call with our teacher on the trip. The teacher on the German side pointed out that this would never happen within their school. There are many other cultural differences that we’ve noticed throughout this trip, and each one of them is what makes this exchange a great experience.

-Elise Nanista

NSU Killings —

NSU Killings

As we boarded the train from Eibach Bahnhof to Gleishammer, many of us were already thinking of what we were about to see. Ismail Yaşar had been shot in cold blood in 2005 by an extremist right-wing organization called the National Socialist Underground (NSU for short). He had been killed in broad daylight, across from a school. He was in the small parking lot where his döner stand was situated, when two men on bicycles came and shot him in the head. The main reason this man was killed was because he was a turkish immigrant, and therefore “impure”, or “un-german”, to the NSU killers. The expert we met at the site, Bridgit Mair, described this to us. She went into detail about the crime and the ineptness of the police handling this investigation. She talked about the circumstances of the crime, the evidence and the witness. Even with all of this, the police still did not have a clue on who was the culprit. Ms.Mair also stated how the police were convinced that the family of the victim were suspected, as well as potential involvement with the Turkish Mafia. Even when the family of the victims themselves went to the police and told them that it must have been a hate crime, the police denied it, stating that the murders did not match with the profiling of a right-wing extremist attack. She went on to explain how the police struggled for years to capture the killers because of their refusal of the idea that Neo-Nazis were involved. After Ms.Mair wrapped up her speech, we all headed back to the train station to travel to the Gymnasium for her to teach us about her anti-Neo-Nazi organization and more information about the NSU and the victims that were shot. She began by describing the timeline of the NSU killers, from when they first went into hiding because of the warrant for their arrest because of their terrorist attacks, to when they were finally caught. In between the events caused by the NSU killers, Ms.Mair outlined the victims, their lives, and the scenes of the crimes. She also recounted her own personal stories about the NSU, and gave us some background  information about the trial of one of the killers today. She ended the presentation by answering our questions about her organization, and the events that were just described.

-Sophie Lenard

The Weekend Pt. 2 — June 28, 2016

The Weekend Pt. 2

While Cloe was off doing her thing in Munich, the rest of went to Lorenz’s 16th birthday party! We had a lot of fun and there was great food, music and dancing. The next day we all planned and went to an indoor and outdoor waterpark called Palm Springs. While we were there we got on this big waterslide togethere and we put all 15 of us on 3 rafts and went down together, it was so scary but fun at the same time. There was also a slide that you stood on then it dropped you down, it was pretty intimadating. There was also a loop in the slide and when Sophie went on she got stuck in the loop and someone had to come get her! Then that night we went to Kärwa at Eibach which was a festival with carnival rides, food, music and dancing. We were dancing and singing all night long and had a great time together. Then on Sunday we all celebrated Cosima’s birthday together and we just chilled in her backyard and ate great food and sang. Overall it was a pretty amazing weekend!

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-Jabari Thomas

The weekend Pt. 1 —

The weekend Pt. 1

On Friday night, my German student, Sophia and I went to a local festival called Kärwa. The festival had many similar aspects to an American fair with rides like bumper cars and games like shooting at targets. However, this festival also had many traditional Bavarian foods and activities. There were large gingerbread cookies and sausage and flat fried bread with mayonnaise. There was a live cover band and by the end of the night everyone was dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. The next day my family and I took a trip to Munich. When we got there we took a tour of the whole city on an open top tour bus. Much of the city was destroyed in WW2 however there were some houses that survived that are still being used for people to live in. We also walked down a street labeled the most expensive street in Munich due to all of the high class stores located there. This street reminded me a lot of New York City. Sunday was for rest after the busy two days we had. All in all it was a very fun weekend and I’m so glad I was able to experience so many different parts of germany.

-Cloe

The Nuremberg Trials —

The Nuremberg Trials

On June 23rd, 2016 the students of Maynard Jackson and Nürnberg visited the Nürnberg Court Trials exhibit which was mostly centered around the trials of Nazi leaders after World War 2. As we progressed through the tour we found out that the victors of World War 2 were the ones who prosecuted the case. From there we learned that there was a language barrier during the case and that translators were needed. We also learned that the 12 of the 21 Nazi leaders on trial were sentenced to death for committing the following crimes: war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. Seven of the other Nazi leaders were either given life imprisonment, which actually varied in sentence length or committed suicide while in prison. The other two were acquitted.

These harsh sentences raised the questions: Was this a fair trial? Was this victor’s justice? From the exhibit we went to a classroom to answer those exact questions. Throughout the classroom everyone thought what the Nazis had did was very wrong but agreed that the convictions and sentences were a part of victor’s justice because more than half of the Nazi leaders were executed. In addition everyone agreed that the trial was fair because the defendants and prosecutors had enough time and evidence to proceed with the trial in a fair way. Afterwards we discussed how the International Criminal Court (ICC) was founded and we made posters of how we would have our ideal ICC work. We realized that our narrative of the ICC was mostly different from the real version. Overall our understanding of the court process in Nürnberg was strengthened by this venture into the its historical exhibit.

-Damontez Heard

Teaching Kids, Yay! —

Teaching Kids, Yay!

On Tuesday 21 March 2016 we taught a class of 5th and 6th graders in Nürnberg, Germany. It was a mutually fun experience for teachers and student alike, though some students did not participate and there were a few issues as there always are when teaching. For instance, in some classes students were really engaged in learning and students participated. Also, it was fun exposing students to a new culture and being able to get a presentation done without the use of technology as the computer needed wasn’t working. However, in some classes the students were uninterested, were not inquisitive, some students bullied others, and there was a language barrier as some students may not have spoken very good English. Over all the students were well behaved, even if some classes didn’t participate in the activities planned. Also, a few cultural differences I noticed were that the students stood up and sang a good morning to their teacher and that they don´t rely on technology in the classroom.

-Morghan Smith