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7 Essential Words for Your First Day at Waldsee

Published: March 30, 2020

Whether you arrived by car, bus, or plane, there’s no feeling quite like seeing the Bahnhof for the first time. There’s a lot of emotions involved, from excitement to nervousness, regardless of how much German you know when you arrive. Many of our villagers arrive as complete beginners of all ages, not having spoken or seen a word of German before coming to Waldsee. Here are our top seven words to help make Ankunftstag (arrival day) just a little bit easier.


1. der/die Betreuer/in (counselor): This is a pretty important one! Your Hausbetreuer (house counselors) are important resources for helping you figure out Waldsee and find your way around the first few days. They will always speak to you in German (except in the case of an emergency), but they will use as many cognates and gestures as necessary to ensure understanding.

2. das Namensschild (nametag): One of the most exciting parts of being at Waldsee is getting to choose a brand-new name from the Namensbaum (name tree). Once you have picked a name, it’s important to wear your Namensschild at all times (except when sleeping and swimming). 


3. das Haus (house): This one might seem obvious when you hear it, but it’s a word that comes up many, many times a day. Every villager is assigned a Haus by age and gender -- maybe you’ll be a citizen of Haus Berlin or Haus Bingen when you arrive!

4. das Essen/essen (food/to eat): We love mealtimes at Waldsee, and our culinary team cooks up a wide variety of delicious, traditional foods from across German-speaking Europe.

Akunftstag [17.6.19]

5. das Spiel/spielen (game/to play): There are lots of games to be played at Waldsee, from soccer to volleyball to Abendprogramme (evening programs) like Wildsaujagd (wild sow hunt, one of our favorite running games).

6. die Glocke (bell): “Wenn die Glocke läutet…” is a phrase you’ll hear every day at Waldsee! To know when it’s time to move on to the next activity, you’ll hear the bell ring. Our bell can be heard from all corners of Waldsee.


7. schon (already): One of the big questions you hear on Ankunftstag (arrival day) is “Wie oft warst du schon in Waldsee?” (How often have you already been to Waldsee?) Anytime the word schon comes up in the sentence, you’ll know you’re being asked about something that’s happened before. If it's your first time at Waldsee, you won't have experienced any of it before!

What words would you want to know before your first day? Or what words did you wish you had known before arriving at Waldsee? Let us know and join us in Summer 2020! We can’t wait to see you, whether it’s your first time at Waldsee or you’re coming back after decades for our Alumni Weekend, July 17-19.  


Have you spent nearly a decade or more at Waldsee over the last 60 years? We would love to hear from you for a future blog post! Please fill out this form here if you are interested.

Additionally, we are collecting and digitizing photos from alumni in honor of our 60th anniversary this summer. If you have any photos you would like to share (particularly from the 80s and 90s), please send them to betreuerschaft@gmail.com.