Category Archives: Life in California

German Summer Camps 2018 – Deutsche Sommerferien in California

Summer Camps 2018 –

A Little Preview of Some of the Most Popular German Summer Camps in California

“Seriously…!?”, you might say. “We are talking summer camps already?”

Yes, you’ve read correctly! It’s early February and we are giving you the first preview of some of the most popular German summer camps, up and down the California Coast.

Many camps have already started with registration. So get your foot in the door, put your name down and claim your space at your favorite one.


German American School Association (GASA) – 

Our 2018 camp is inviting all 7 to 16-year-olds to our exciting sleep-away camp from June 23 -28. Spend 6 days, 5 nights at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center in Orange, CA.

This year’s highlight will be the literary work of famous German author Cornelia Funke!  Students will get acquainted with Cornelia Funke’s writings, especially the book “Die wilden Hühner” and write and perform their own play/musical. They will also visit a mine and learn about rocks, minerals, earthquakes, tectonic plates and mining in a fun, hands-on fashion.  Special activities such as zip lining, swimming, 136 ft. water slide and wall climbing will be available during leisure time, and we will have fun activities planned such as nature hikes, dancing, singing, crafting, campfire, baking, sports, games, fishing, etc.  All activities will be conducted in German.  Join us for an adventurous week at Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center from June 23rd – June 28th, 2018.  You can find more about the German Immersion Camp on our website www.germanschool4kids.org


German School Campus – Newport Beach

Attention all scientists! GermanSchool Campus in Newport Beach is offering its German immersion STEM Science Camp again.  A week of exploring the oceans, learning about sustainability, recycling, clean air solutions, wind power, and much more starts Monday, July 2nd – Saturday, July 7th (Wednesday 4th of July is off) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm daily.

We have exciting excursions planned on a pontoon boat to a local Science center in the Newport Bay, and again will enjoy sailing or kayaking on the bay. Campers will build a solar-powered hydro car with us and will learn about the various environments. Children ages 6-17 years old get immersed into hands-on scientific experiments while playfully being introduced to a new culture and language (German). All levels are welcome!  Find out more about the camp on our website www.germanschoolcampus.com


German Pacific School San Diego – San Diego

Ready for 4 weeks of fantastic summer camps? German Pacific School San Diego is in the middle of planning some spectacular weeks for young German learners. Every week with another theme will keep the summer vacation exciting. Mark your calendar: Camp time will be from 25. Juni bis 20. Juli. Please check the school for more detailed information regarding program and location.

More info at www.gpssd.org


WANDERKIND Preschool & Kindergarten – Glendale

WanderKind School in Glendale/Burbank will offer another German Immersion Camp for the youngest German learners. Mark your calendar for four weeks packed with outdoor fun and adventure in June for kids 4-8 years old.  If you have attended last year, you don’t want to miss out on all the fun this year. Reserve your spot today!

More information at  www.wanderkindschool.org/


BAKS – Bay Area Kinderstube Summer Camp –  Berkeley, Northern California

“Wir packen unsere Koffer” is the theme of our 2018 German Immersion Summer Camp for ages 5-13, and one for ages 3-4.  Join us this summer from, July 16 – August 10, as we explore the diversity of the many cities and towns of German-speaking countries. Our camp location will be on the beautiful Berkwood Hedge Campus.

Sign up by April 1st and lock in our Early- Bird Special. For more information check our flyer here or www.kinderstube.org


GASPA Summer Camp in Palo Alto, Northern California

Get ready, get set, Summer! Back by popular demand and new and improved! The German-American School of Palo Alto is pleased to once again a full immersion German language summer camp program from June 25th through July 20th in Menlo Park for ages 3-10.

New this year, you can sign up for individual weeks. Sign up before March 31st to take advantage of early bird pricing. Full program details and pricing and can be found on our website.

More information at www.gaspa-ca.org


GISSV -German International School Silicon Valley

This summer we have 2 different camps going on at two locations.
German language classes are paired with art, music, science, sports, cooking and more!
Mountain View: June 18th -July 13th (Kindergarten to middle school)
San Francisco: June 18th-22nd ( Kindergarten to 3rd grade)
You can sign up for a full-day or half-day camp. Extended care is also offered. More information at www.gissv.org

Innerweaving Immersion Camp – Fairfax (NorCal)

Begining July, Silvia Schroeder will hold another Innerweaving camp. The camp offers a combination of indoor/outdoor creative fun. “Throughout the camp we will talk German and introduce language based on nature and craft activities.” Family members are invited to celebrate their children’s powerful Nature-Earthcraft accomplishments on the final day.

Dates are not finalized yet. For more information please contact:  Silvia Schroeder at coaching@innerweaving.com  

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Image: Pixabay.com
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Back At the Happiest Place on Earth

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BACK AT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH

Since June of 2017, I have been counting down the months, weeks, and days to one particular event happening on February 1st: a trip to Disneyland.  Yes, you read that right, I bought my ticket back in June to go to an event the following year.  But it was for a very good reason.

The tickets were half off, and it was a special event sponsored by California State University Fullerton.  In very humble fashion, the school decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary at the theme park, and invited all its students along. Way to celebrate a birthday!

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Of course my college friends and I didn’t want to miss this, and so we set our alarms to midnight on June 1st, when tickets went on sale.  Luckily, all four of us were able to score a ticket before the event sold out.

Fast forward to February 1st, 2018, ten years after my last trip to Disneyland.  The last time I have been to this magical place was Thanksgiving 2008 with my back-then host family and one of my best friends.

I know it sounds very cliché, but when my friends and I stepped foot into the theme park it felt like entering a different world.  Perfectly arranged flowers in the shape of Mickey Mouse greeted us and I instantly felt like a little kid full of excitement and happiness.

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We made our way towards the famous Main Street, and walked along the many cute little shops located around the area until we reached the Disneyland castle.  Of course we couldn’t pass up on not taking any pictures in front of it.  This turned out to be quite difficult though, with hundreds of park visitors trying to accomplish the same.

After a few tries we gave up and decided to have some fun by going on one of the many rides.  We headed straight to the Matterhorn attraction, which I remember being the favorite of my host kids back in the days.  It was quite a fun ride, even though I didn’t dare to look anywhere else than at my friend sitting in front of me due to my fear of heights.

After conquering the Matterhorn, we took a slower pace and headed towards a different area of the park.  I am sure many of you have probably visited Disneyland before and know that the park is divided in several different areas, such as Adventureland, Tomorrowland, and Frontierland.

The park has attractions for every age group, from the very little guests to us adults.  Even if you are not the rollercoaster type like me, there are still plenty of other fun things to do and explore, plus the park offers many great food options.  I could have just eaten my way through and would have been busy all night long.

The only fact that kept me from doing so was that most of the restaurants closed after nine p.m., when the day pass visitors had to leave the park.  That turned out to be a challenge for me since I am a vegetarian, and so my other vegetarian friend and I went on a quest to find something good to eat.

I eventually ended up with a vegetarian Gumbo in a bread bowl (yum).   Besides this tasty dinner dish, we also indulged in Mickey Mouse shaped macaroons and beignets (so so good!).

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After we finished eating, we intended to walk over to Tomorrowland. On our way over, we suddenly heard loud music coming from the Sleeping Beauty Castle, accompanied by a laser show in the colors of the rainbow.

As we walked closer, we saw a group of people dancing in front of the castle while a DJ was playing popular club music tracks.  Yup, my school sure knows how to throw a birthday bash.

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We danced a little (well, actually it was mostly me) before we continued our way to Tomorrowland, where we visited the Star Tours attraction, a 3D ride through space. For the rest of the night, we went from ride to ride until closing time at 1 a.m.  Luckily, we never had to wait long in line.

I am not sure how long it will take me this time till I am going to visit Disneyland again.  I am hoping not another 10 years, but since I just saw today in the news that the park raised its admission prices again, I think I will pass until my school decides to celebrate its birthday there again.

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Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte

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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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How Do I Raise a Bilingual Child in Germany?

How Do I Raise a Bilingual Child in Germany?

(by Kate Müser)
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I was raised in Northern California by American parents (who hail from San Diego and can still hold their own in Spanish). My husband was raised by native German speakers in Germany. We may now speak multiple languages between us, but grew up monolingually – not counting the Ruhrpott dialect and the menu at our favorite Mexican restaurant – and we each possess just one passport.

Our son, who arrived in November 2017, may be a first-born child, just like both his parents, and have his mom’s chin and his dad’s eyes. But he is different from us. He is 100% German and 100% American. And he is stuck with a mommy and a Papa who use different words for the same things.

Before he was born, I did some research on raising bilingual children, by reading books and watching YouTube videos.

Now that he’s here, speaking English with him comes naturally of course, but I know that more questions will come up the older – and more talkative – he gets.

As “California Germans”, I’m sure many of you have bilingual families or were raised in one yourself. I would love to hear your story.

Watch the video below and share your tips and thoughts with me! I may just include your comments in a future video.

©KateMüser

Image: Pixabay.com

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Kate Müser, who grew up in Pleasanton, California, was surprised to discover that she feels even closer to her home state now than she did when she first moved to Bonn, Germany, over 14 years ago.

She is the creator of the successful YouTube series #thoseGermans and the portrait series #germany24. Visit Kate’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/katemuser and her website, justkate.de.

For over a decade, Kate has been a TV, radio and online journalist at Deutsche Welle, where she has hosted the feature documentary film Gutenberg in the Cyberstorm, the video series Meet the Germans with Kate and the TV show PopXport.

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German Theater Workshop for Kids in SoCal

AUFGEPASST ! – ACTORS AND ACTRESSES. LISTEN UP!    

The German American School Association presents a Fairytale Theater Workshop in German at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim!

The theatre workshop offers an interactive theatre program for children ages 6-15 featuring a modern adaptation of the classic fairytale “Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten”.

During this workshop, children are encouraged to try out new ideas and become acquainted with different perspectives. Discovering their own body language helps them to adapt to new roles. Through the development of their own creativity and the joy of play-acting, a world of possibilities opens to them.

Yvonne Zech, actress and trainer with the Galli Theater Group in Wiesbaden, Germany, specializes in educational children’s theater projects and will guide the children through the day-long program.

A Frankfurter lunch is included. (Please pack a lunch if your child has allergies or food restrictions.)

Parents, family, and friends are invited to the final performance later in the afternoon at 5:15pm.

Between the workshop and the performance, a dinner selection will be available for purchase for you and your family. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!
Last day to register is February 15th! Enroll HERE.

Theatre Workshop for Children:
WHEN: Sunday, February 25, 2018, 10am-4:30pm
WHERE: Phoenix Club, 1340 S Sanderson Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
PERFORMANCE starts at 5:15 pm

Image: Pixabay.com

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Friendships across the pond

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FRIENDSHIPS ACROSS THE POND

I am sure many of you who have moved to California from overseas can relate to what I am going to express in this post.  We all had to leave all or some family and friends thousands of miles behind, living on different continents.  I personally have lived in the United States for six-and-a-half years and luckily, I was able to keep the majority of friendships existent.

Whenever I travel back to Germany or have friends visiting me in California, it feels like we have never been apart.  We catch up like we just hung out yesterday, and it doesn’t feel weird or unnatural at all.  Unfortunately, there are also those friendships that didn’t survive the long-distance relationship.

One particular case is my used to be good friend Vivienne (the name has been changed due to privacy.) I met Vivienne in Senior High School, and while we didn’t become friends right from the get-go, we grew really close once we got to know each other better.  In the long run, I did become her maid of honor and godmother to her firstborn son.

Today, Vivienne and I are no longer in touch.  Our relationship started to become rocky a couple years ago.  To be honest, I have never been the biggest fan of her husband, and I understand why she and I drifted apart.  But let’s circle back even further: Vivienne and her husband met while we were in our last year of Senior High School, and they hit it off instantly.  All three of us used to hang out a lot and had a great time together.

It wasn’t until after a while, I felt that I never got to see Vivienne without him around. I didn’t mind hanging out with him around every once in a while, but I was also missing girl time with one of my closest friends back then.  In the long run of their relationship, she confessed to me that her then-boyfriend became jealous whenever he wasn’t around her, which resulted into tension between the three of us.

At some point, they were at the verge of a breakup but managed to work it out. He promised to let her have her girlfriend time, and everything went back to the good times we used to have.  Ten years ago, Vivienne and her man became husband and wife on a very tumultuous wedding day.

Let’s just sum it up this way: A maid of honor that could only open one eye because she popped a balloon right in front of her eyes the night before; A father of the bride who answers a phone call in the middle of the wedding ceremony; And a father-in-law who is suffering a seizure and has to be hospitalized during the reception.  But as they say: the worse the wedding, the better the marriage.

Two days after, I moved all the way across the pond to work as an au pair for an American family.  As I had predicted it beforehand, a couple months later Vivienne called me with the news that she was expecting.  I was beyond happy for her and her husband and couldn’t wait for the day the baby was born.  I was even more on cloud nine when she proposed to me that she wanted me to be her son’s godmother.

When I moved back to Germany after my year in the States, I spent a lot of time with her and her family.  I helped them during their move to the countryside, which was located two hours away from our hometown.  I still was able to visit them at least once a month, and we had a blast together. I moved back to California in 2011, but whenever I traveled back to Europe, I made it a priority to spend at least one weekend of my time with them.

Over the years, my friend grew more and more unhappy, and one day she opened up to me that she was contemplating getting a divorce.  I supported her in her decision and had an open ear for her whenever she felt the need to reach out.  She eventually decided to give her marriage another shot, but it wasn’t until a year later she was contemplating her decision again.  By that time, I was totally displeased with her husband, and I can understand how that put her in the middle.

While I never asked her to choose between him and me, I can understand that me not being his biggest fan had a negative impact on her in her efforts to save the marriage.  They kept being married and now have a second child, but our friendship was the relationship that didn’t last.  Vivienne and I never had a fight; our connection just slowly diminished until we completely stopped any form of communication.

We are still connected on Social Media and can witness major life events through those platforms, but our friendship is done.  The long distance, unfortunately, didn’t work out for us.

Images: pixabay.com

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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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