Week 2:
Pure Happiness

International Fellow in Elementary Education

Holy Family Junior School | Ennis, Ireland

November 5, 2018

“Life is short, the world is wide.”

This week I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Germany and stay with family because it was the mid-term break for Holy Family Junior School. After being in a foreign country for just seven days, I traveled to another country for my second week. This was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that it worked out so nicely! Although I was not teaching, this week has taught me so much about the world and myself.

Week two was pure happiness, I met my second cousins for the first time and dove completely into the culture and atmosphere in Germany. This week I accomplished more than I thought I was capable of:

1. My First Water Aerobics Class (in German)

2.  Driving in Germany with a French GPS

3. Cooking Spaetzle- A traditional German food that I successfully made for lunch, which got two thumbs up from my cousins.

For lunch, I had the opportunity to cook a traditional German meal- Spaetzle!

4. Trying Tofu Curry (I LOVED IT!)

5. Learning to communicate with children without words due to the language barrier. We used a lot of acting and showing by doing, which was a wonderful learning experience as an educator. I may have a student that speaks little to no English, and this experience has prepared me for the future!

In my second week abroad, I have fallen completely in love with the values, culture, and people. I have found so much love and kindness in so many people, from strangers directing me in the airport, to my extended family taking me in for a week on short notice and fully welcoming me into their daily lives.

While in Germany I had the opportunity to see my cousins’ school. One thing that I have noticed about schools in both Germany and Ireland, is the yard. In America, we normally have large playground structures, whereas in Europe they have open areas for students to run and play with activities on the blacktop. Below you will see a photo of the school as well as the area in which they take recesses.


Overall, week two has taught me more about my family and the world. I have overcome language barriers by finding other ways to describe a game, ask questions and answer questions. Although it was not perfect, trying to understand one another is much more natural than you might expect. This truly benefited me as an educator as I can use the tools that I used to communicate with my family, in my future classroom to communicate with students and parents.

Check back for updates on Week 3 and my involvement at Holy Family!

Tegan Shelton '19

Tegan is an elementary education major from Spring Grove, Illinois.