Tag Archives: Travel

Adolesco – Your Ticket to the World!


A non-profit language immersion and cultural exchange program  – ADOLESCO


17-year old Sacramento-area teenager Gemma B. has lived in Germany, France, and Spain in addition to her native California thanks to Adolesco, a non-profit exchange organization that matches American children and teens with exchange partners in Europe for short-term language-immersion and cultural exchanges.

Unlike typical ‘one-way’ foreign exchange programs, Adolesco only offers real exchanges: each carefully matched partner has the chance to both host and travel, taking turns to live with their exchange partner and family for up to three months. This reciprocal exchange experience typically results in close friendships and life-long international connections on both sides.

“When I arrived at the airport in Germany, it wasn’t hard to find my exchange family: they were wearing matching grins and t-shirts that spelled out ‘GEMMA’. Johanna’s family was so welcoming that I quickly felt at home.”

You Can Participate With Little To No Foreign Language Knowledge

With Adolesco’s guidance, children and teens with little or no exposure to a second language are often able to gain remarkable fluency. As Gemma recalls, “I’d only studied German for a few months before going to Germany. During the first days of my exchange, beginning to understand and speak German was alternately frustrating and hilarious. Eventually, speaking German became Adolesco gemma-and-johanna_goslarsurprisingly normal.”

And there’s no reason to wait until college for the opportunity to study abroad. Living a new culture as a member of a family rather than visiting as a tourist is a tremendous opportunity that Adolesco makes available for children as young as 9 (and up to 18). Parents on both sides are encouraged to treat the visiting child not as a guest, but as another sibling. This true integration offers a unique opportunity for developing real understanding and appreciation.

“I enjoyed experiencing life in Germany and learning about its culture and history. I also had the opportunity to re-examine and better understand my own country’s culture and relationship with the world.” -Gemma B.

How Does It Work?

Adolesco is based in France and staffed by a network of representatives and volunteers across Europe and North America whose children have benefitted from these exchanges. Interested families must complete a thorough application process that includes a home visit and interview. Candidates are only matched with exchange partners when the team feels like an exchange will succeed. In many cases, the connection between the two families and the two exchange partners will be life-long.

“The girls have a perfect understanding… this exchange opened new horizons for Emma but also for the whole family – thank you!” -Sandrine, French mother

In Latin, Adolesco means ‘I’m growing’ and the Adolesco team believes that learning a new language, understanding another culture, and growing beyond our cultural boundaries benefits our children, our families, and our world.

Learn more about Adolesco:

Adolesco is accepting applications for this summer! To travel or host this summer, apply by March 31 – visit www.Adolesco.org to get started.

Watch a short video about Gemma and Johanna’s exchange:

Follow current and past exchanges at www.facebook.com/adolesco.org


 Contact Adolesco’s Exchange Coordinator in California at kristin@adolesco.org

Text & Images Copyright ©Adolesco                                                                       (Sponsored Post)



Last Days of Summer


Last Days of Summer – Enjoy them before they’r gone…

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… Gershwin’s silvery song from his opera Porgy and Bess rings in my ears while my husband and I lounge in pool chairs watching our children having fun in the pool right on the beach. “A pool on the beach?” you might say, “What’s so cool about that?”

Well, it’s a special pool. In fact it’s a historic pool! And it’s not somewhere at a fancy resort or so. No, it’s right here in Los Angeles and open to all!

One of the well guarded insider secrets of L.A. is the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. We love coming here! Every time we are in Los Angeles either going to the Getty, LACMA, hanging out at the Grand Central Market or just visiting the German Consulate, we make it a point to come here to pay this historic pool by the beach a visit before heading back home.


Built on 5 acres of beach property the Annenberg Beach House features a pool, a splash pad for the little ones, a fun playground and 6 beach volley ball courts right next to the Beach House. But it is also a community center that offers yoga classes, swim lessons and cultural programs and events like poetry readings and much more. You can rent out paddle boards for the day or book a surfing class. Do I need to say more…?

Even if you just come here for a few hours, it’s totally worth the parking fee of $3/hour or $12/day.  The kids can cool off in the water while you relax with a novel in a beach chair or just kick back after a busy day. If you are getting bored by the pool and crave some real ocean water, no problem! Just cross over the bike path along the beach and dive into the waves.


Beautiful Sunsets for Dinner

Oh, and lets not forget about the Back On The Beach Cafe with the most beautiful sunsets ‘for’ dinner! My suggestion is, make it a day at the Annenberg and stay for dinner. You will not regret it!

We love ending a day in L.A. here at this Beach House Cafe. Looking out onto the ocean, the pristine white beach in front us we dig our toes into the warm sand and unwind with a glass of wine. While we are waiting for our dinner to arrive, the kids hang out on the playground next to us, … and the most spectacular sunset is just happening right in front of our eyes!

A perfect day turned into a beautiful memory!


From Private Hollywood Estate to a Community Beach House for All

This beautiful site along Pacific Coast Highway was originally developed during the Gold Coast era of the 1920s by William Hearst, the publishing magnate who also built California’s Hearst Castle. The big estate was a gift to his mistress, actress Marion Davies, and hosted many of Hollywood’s celebrities like “Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and other stars of the day”. After 1947 the property was converted into “America’s Most Beautiful Hotel” and housed the Sand & Sea Club before it was sold to the State of California in 1959.

A $27.5 million grant by the Annenberg Foundation paved the way for the transformation into today’s Annenberg Community Beach House a year-round public beach facility open to all. It opened to the public in 2009.

Annenberg 3

Today parts of the original historic Marion Davies Estate have been restored and are part of the new Beach House: the original Marion Davies Guest House, which serves as a museum telling the rich history of the Beach House and the historic Beach House Pool, which “features marble around the deck and beautiful tiles that were restored by hand.”

The Annenberg Community Beach House is usually open daily from 8:30am. Summer hours differ from fall hours so check before planning a visit. The pool schedule is seasonal and from October to May special Pop Up Pool Days are offered.

Annenberg Community Beach House
415 Pacific Coast Highway *
Santa Monica, CA, 90402

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Images: ©CaliforniaGermans

Resource: annenbergbeachhouse.com


Roadtrippin’ along the California Coast

Anne Kathrin Hearst Castle

Roadtrippin’ along the California Coast

I like to call myself a writer, publicity intern, and social media junkie.  I always love to explore and acquire new skills.  My newest addition to the previous mentioned set of self-acclaimed professions would be video editor.  I know that I am far from a professional video editor, I mean, let’s be honest, I don’t even possess a professional camera.  But one of my best girlfriends and I recently went on a trip together along the California Coast, and I decided to literally give it a shot and document our trip by capturing it with my iPhone.  The link to the end result can be found at the bottom of this piece, and I hope people can see through my lens the beauty of what the United States’ west coast has to offer.

I am so glad my friend “pushed” me to go on this trip.  I love to travel and explore places, and a couple of months ago I casually mentioned to her that I would really like to visit Hearst Castle up in San Simeon.  She decided to take a look into it as well, but we dropped the subject for a while.  I didn’t even try to put any effort into planning the trip because I was extremely busy with work, school, applying for jobs after college and anything else that was going on in my life.  One night over Sushi, my girlfriend brought the trip up again, asking if I would still be down to do it.  Even though I had to deal with a lot of pressure at that time, I just thought that a trip was exactly what I needed to release some of the stress.  I am so glad she convinced me to finally do it!  We set a date, booked a hotel, and planned our route.

Starting in Huntington Beach, we knew we wanted to take PCH all the way up to Monterey, our final destination.  We first stopped in Oxnard to enjoy a great breakfast of French toast and Eggs Benedict, before we hit the road again all the way up until we arrived at Hearst Castle, which is named after and built by Anne KathrinAmerican newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst.  The landmark offers a variety of different tours, and I would recommend anyone planning on visiting to reserve a tour in advance.  We didn’t do so, and we were lucky that they had still open spots for the “Designing the Dream Tour,” which guides you through the guest houses and castle bedrooms.  Visitors of this tour also get to see the beautiful gardens and the amazing indoor pool, where real gold is embedded in the grounds.  For $30, the price of the tour was totally appropriate for what you get to see up on the hill and along the beautiful green hills.  Tourists also receive a wonderful coastal view.  All in all, I can recommend anyone to visit and take a tour.

Anne Kathrin Big SurAfter we marked Hearst Castle off our bucket list, we were really excited to continue driving along the coast to Big Sur.  I have visited Big Sur many, many years ago, and I remembered it being incredibly beautiful.  But once we actually reached the scenic part, it was beyond breathtaking.  I can’t describe it; you actually have to see it.  Even the pictures I took don’t do the real image any justice.  I am sure anyone of you who has taken a trip to Big Sur can relate.  We made countless stops along the road to take pictures, film, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery.  At some point, we had dinner at a little cute restaurant with view over the ocean, in the middle of nowhere.  After dinner, we watched the sunset over the coast while we enjoyed amazing chocolate fudge we had bought at Hearst Castle (I can definitely recommend their deserts too, great stuff!).  We then made our way up to Monterey, where we fell totally exhausted but happy into our beds.

Anne KathrinThe next day, we decided to do the 17-Mile Drive, which leads along Pebble Beach.  It took us about 40 minutes from Monterey to get there.  Park admission by car is $10, bikes and pedestrians get in for free.  What didn’t come to our advantage that day were some pretty strong winds, which is a little bit of an understatement.  I mean, it was still worth it, even though we mainly just jumped out of the car at a couple of the many view points to take some quick pictures.  The water up in Northern California, especially in this area, is just plain gorgeous.  It has the turquoise twist we don’t really get to see out here in the south.  After we made it through the “storm,” we started making our way back to Huntington Beach.  We got to enjoy the beautiful Big Sur coast once more, until we finally arrived back in Orange County.

Click on the link to get a glimpse of our beautiful golden coast.  As Katy Perry correctly points out in her famous song California Gurls, “You can travel the world.  But nothing comes close to the golden coast!”

Images & video : ©Anne-Kathrin Schulte

Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on 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.



Hello world!

Herzlich Willkommen!

Welcome to CaliforniaGermans, the blog for Germans, Austrians, Swiss and everyone else who enjoys being part of the German speaking communities in all of California.

I hope that this is the beginning of a busy and engaging platform where ideas, tips and stories and much more will be exchanged about life here in California. 

For many of us this means a life far away from our families, friends and also traditions. Life here in such a wonderful State of the USA can be so exciting but also challenging at times. I am sure we all have our stories…

I look forward to an enriching exchange amongst all of us.

Bis bald,