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Scott with collegues during the certificate ceremony  Scott with collegues during the
certificate ceremony

August 2003

I have a attached a thank you note to Alexandra for my three weeks at Treffpunkt (July 14 to August 1). If this could be forwarded to her, I
would appreciate it. Thanks. >>>

 

 

 

Dear Alexandra:

I want to thank you, Kunibert, Beatra and the rest of the Treffpunkt staff for a great three weeks learning German. You have created a great environment for those who like learning languages. Twenty-six years ago I had a fantastic time learning Japanese in Japan which I thought I would never be able to reconstruct again. With your help, my time in Bamberg was like experiencing that feeling all over again.

The apartment you helped arrange was perfect for my family and I - better than our place in Tokyo at a fraction of the cost. It was on the outskirts of Bamberg, far enough to enjoy the open fields and vistas around Altenburg Castle but only a 10 minute bus ride into town and access to all those wonderful beer gardens and breweries. Our landlords were very accomodating and generously informed us about what we could do for nearby transportation, food, banking, phone and internet access, etc. I had brought my laptop and had to stay in contact with my business in Tokyo from time to time.

I had never heard of Bamberg before and was concerned I would become bored with the sightseeing in three weeks. On the contrary, I think I covered only about a third of what is accessible. The old town was full of the Romantik buildings and ambiance that I love about Bavaria. And, I was pleasantly surprised to find the restored residence's of Bambergs past rulers. It was so easy to get to the nearby towns of Coburg, Bayreuth, Wurtzburg and Nuremburg by train. I love the German train system. Next time, however, I might rent a car in order to get to some of the more out of the way places Franken is also famous for. I was quite impressed by Bamberg's public facilities namely the three swimming parks.

Of course, we went to the Hainbad and had a neat time swimming in the river. We spent quite a few afternoons at the Stadiumbad pool facility with its large and deep lap pool along with wave pool and looping water slides. With an entrance fee of only 1 Euro, that was an incredible bargain for what we got. Clean and modern locker rooms, snack bar with seats always available, trees, and polite and curitious fellow swimmers. My daughter loves horseback riding and a block a way from the Stadiumbad was a riding club where she could take quality lessons for a very reason price. I was busy with my family after school and didn't participate in the extracurricular events you arranged during the first two weeks. However, the third week I was on my own and had a most enjoyable time getting to know the other students through the volleyball games, swimming, going to the theatre, bike tours, and getting together at the various beer gardens. It was neat being amongst such an international crowd - even more so than I experience in Japan. I was impressed by you and your staff's dedication to the program in that they and other locals you know joined the Stammtish get-togethers allowing the students even more opportunities to meet and interact with people living in Bamberg. All I could think was that Germans, especially those living in Bamberg, love life and meeting with other people.

The whole arrangement gave me and my family a way to live and experience everday life in Bamberg in a short time. That was what I really think was so cool about picking Treffpunkt. One can't do that in a resort, tour, sightseeing on your own, or other language programs for that matter.

The purpose of my trip was to vacation and enjoy doing things I like do, one of them being studying German which had become a recent passion. Treffpunkt met all of my expectations in that regard and probably went a little further. The first day was a bit of a shock when I was put in the class next up from raw beginners and had to introduce myself in German for the first time. Then came the text book all in German but designed to explain and drill grammar through intuitive puzzle-like exerisize. The course, although only three class hours a day, was definitely intense.

I was worried about that but it and the homework were entertaining enough to keep me going. My wife enjoyed it too because it kept me busy enough so she and the kids could enjoy experiencing the town and all it had to offer at their pace and I couldn't jam up the schedule trying to get as much as possible out of a short break from work. I can't believe how much vocabulary I absorbed in just a short time. At first I felt it was too much, but it worked out in the end. Kunibert and Beatra put a lot of effort into helping me and the other students correct our accents. Three weeks is too short to make signficant progress in that area but I certainly know where and how I need to improve thanks to their advice and coaching. After my first night back in Tokyo I woke up from a dream reciting words I had mispronouned and stringing together sentences using the perfect past tense, and the accusative and dative cases.

Three weeks of non-stop German language - so intense, so engaging, so short, and so wonderfully fulfilling. Thank you.

Best regards,

Scott Eaton

 


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