“Hey, Mom, look! That’s just like Waldsee!” My daughter, Mari, thought it was amazing that Germany really did mirror her summer camp experience at Waldsee. After her experience as a villager at Waldsee when she was 8, 9 and 10 years old, she couldn’t wait to go to Germany with me when she was 12. I’d be a rich woman if I had a Euro for every time she said, “That’s just like Waldsee!” She tested her hypothesis throughout the trip. We hiked for two hours to a mountain hut, just so she could try Kaiser Schmarrn (she thought it was better at Waldsee); we heard folk songs at a local festival (she said, “Just like Gesang, but why don’t they do the gestures?”); and we visited the real town of Oberammergau (where she lived as a first year villager). "
"Traveling to Germany after three summers at Waldsee made the experience abroad much richer for my daughter. Not only was she able to communicate in German surprisingly well, she also adapted easily to cultural differences. Now one of her dreams is to become a Waldsee Betreuerin and create the same magic for other young villagers as she experienced during her summers there."
"The first time I took my son, then 12, to Waldsee, he said to me tearfully “Mom, I’m not sure I can do this.” Two weeks later, when I was “debriefing” him, he started off his account with “Mom, the next time I’ve got to come for four weeks!” As they say, the rest is history…over the summers (four since that first one), he has had a wide range of experiences at Waldsee. Perhaps the main thing he has learned is that it takes all kinds of people to make a community, and he has learned to make a place for himself in the community in which he finds himself. He has seen bad behavior and good, considered what motivates people to act the way they do, and made some strong decisions about how he wants to act and how he would like to be regarded by the people around him."
"Central to his development have been the counselors, both those with whom he has lived and those with whom he has had other kinds of contact. They have inspired him to see the world differently than he did before, to consider a wider variety of perspectives, to want to be a leader. In short, they have helped him become a better, better-informed, more considerate young man who aspires to join their ranks someday."
"People find it hard to believe that my teenage son has willingly spent three summers going to class three times a day to learn a language, but it’s true. The hands-on approach to teaching language at Waldsee makes what the villagers are learning seem so much more relevant than most of what happens in high school. If I had a nickel for each time I’ve heard “If only school were more like Waldsee…” I’d be a rich woman! Although my son has taken four years of Spanish in school, his German is stronger and much closer to his heart. He has undoubtedly made good progress in Spanish, but his desire to really put his German to the test stems from his experience using it in real life at Waldsee, to communicate with real people, and now he’s eager to see what he can do with it in the larger world. He knows he’s still going to make plenty of mistakes, and that sometimes he will be misunderstood and perhaps misunderstand others, but Waldsee has given him the courage to put himself out there and try."
"Kate is a world citizen and largely because of Waldsee!! She just took me on a trip from Oxford University where she is studying to Berlin, Wittenberg, Leipzig and Freiburg. She planned the trip, arranged the flights, bought all of the train tickets, and had all of the B&Bs booked before I ever got to London to meet her!"
"She did all of the talking and interpreting in Germany. I am so proud of her. And, of course, her ability to do this comes from her years at Waldsee."
"I could share this message to other Moms. Their children become world citizens through Concordia Language Villages. German is one of the most often used languages in the world and well worth the investment. In addition, she has friends from Waldsee who will also be studying and traveling all over the world. Those friendships can last for a lifetime!"
"My older daughter, who did the two-week session this year for the first time, is a different kid after her Waldsee experience. She is confident, she is more poised—I don't know what you all did with her, but she loved it and cannot wait to go back. My younger daughter announced pretty much immediately after leaving Waldsee that she intends to go for two weeks next summer. They love it—the staff, the friends they meet, the food, the experience. I love that they are keeping up, even a little bit, the German they learned."
"She had a wonderful non-pressured German language experience which she thoroughly enjoyed. This was the third time at Waldsee for her and this time her German knowledge seemed to blossom. She was very sad to leave and wanted to stay an additional two weeks. She said "they were like family to me!"
"This was my son's first real camp experience. He had always been hesitant to be away from family, but had a great experience at Waldsee. He gained some confidence and independence and is already talking of going back next year. He met some new friends that he plans to keep in touch with. It is good for him to learn how connected the world really is."
"I would encourage people to send their kids even if they don't have a 'buddy' who wants to go at the same time. My kids have never had a buddy (and this was their 6th summer at Waldsee) and they have always made great friends and had a great time. The way the camp is set up practically guarantees friendships, not to mention a whole lot of fun."