D117 German classes take field trip to the Christkindlmarket

Antioch and Lakes Community High School German classes took a field trip to the Christkindlmarket located in Chicago on Dec. 2, 2021. Here, students were able to learn about German culture in a fun and interactive way.

 

Language department chair Chad Rusk attended the field trip to the Chicago Kindlmarket on Thursday. Here, students participated in a variety of activities ranging from listening to German music to speaking to German vendors. 

“On the way, we sang some traditional holiday songs,” Rusk said. “A couple of them were the German versions, and then we sang American songs. The [students] had a different activity, where they could either interview a vendor, or they could find out different stuff about what the vendors were selling and where it came from and how it was culturally relevant.” 

Speaking to vendors or learning about where products came from can often help students see the history and the customs that enrich the Kindlmarket beyond a place to buy items, into a market with diverse backgrounds and stories. 

“The biggest goal is to bring something that [students] have heard about, they’ve learned about and to actually see and experience it,” Rusk said. “[The market] connects the practical and the theoretical so [students] got to see what they’re actually learning looks like [and] what it does in real life. It’s really cool when they get to put those experiences together.”

The trip was enjoyed by teachers and students alike. Senior Hannah Benes especially enjoyed the field trip.

“I love going on field trips, especially for German, because we get to immerse ourselves in a different environment,” Benes said. “We were able to get hands-on learning which can be really beneficial and I think sometimes better than in-class learning.” 

Benes spoke with one of the vendors while she was at the Kindlmarket. 

“My favorite part of the trip was talking to the vendor at one of the bratwurst stands,” Benes said. “It sounded like he had a German accent, and he was asking about our field trip there so it was fun to chat with him a bit.”

Senior Nathaniel Mella also attended the field trip. He was greatly pleased with the food he tried. 

“I liked getting all the different German foods yesterday,” Mella said. “I tried a crepe and got some currywurst.” 

Through eating German food, students were able to expand their knowledge past the culture they are familiar with. For a number of students, field trips are the only opportunity that they have to personally experience German culture.

“I think it was a good chance to taste [and] sample the basic German culture,” Mella said. “It’s just a nice cultural exchange.”

In attending the Christkindlmarket, students listened to German music, spoke to German vendors and got to eat German food. Through this, students got real-life exposure to German culture outside of just learning about it in the classroom. It is clear that in addition to having a fun day in Chicago, students gained immeasurable cross-cultural knowledge from the field trip.