Second week in Chapel Hill

Time flies when you’re having fun was really the motto of our second week in Chapel Hill.

On Monday, we finally had our first day at our placement schools. All the UHH students received a school placement based on their field of study in Germany. All of us are placed in the Carrboro and Chapel Hill Area and have lovely mentor teachers who answer all our questions and introduce us to American elementary, middle, and high schools. How exciting! 

As the TTT program is part of the “Blockphase” for the KP1 or 2, we get to do all sorts of different activities like shadowing our mentor teachers and other teaching staff during their lessons, co-teaching certain parts of different subjects or even taking over the classroom for a few periods at a time. Of course, our mentor teachers are making sure that everything goes smoothly, and we all received a warm welcome at the respective schools. 

During the week we got to spend the mornings and early afternoons at our placement schools with our mentor teachers, mostly observing and learning our way around the new school system. 

Some interesting things that we noticed were the following:

  • All our schools’ hallways are decorated and personalized to make the students feel welcome and comfortable.
  • However, all visitors of the schools must check in at the front office on a designated computer that takes a picture of your face. This is a safety measure we were not prepared for.
  • A lot of teachers are very student-orientated and talk to them a lot more casually than what we were used to from Germany like “Hi Bestie!”
  • A lot of schools let students retake quizzes and assignments to help the students succeed and learn from their mistakes.

All of us can take three flex days off from our placement schools to work on our UHH assignments or decompress from all of the new impressions. Some of us used this opportunity to further explore the UNC campus and to buy UNC student merch at one of the many stores that line Franklin Street (the main street next to the UNC campus). 

During the afternoons of week two, the teaching department of UNC opened its doors to us. We had the opportunity to sit in and participate in different teaching seminars of the MAT program. Apart from the seminars, we also used the time in the afternoons to spend some more time with our buddies or host families. 

After plenty of new impressions from school, seminars, and the UNC campus, we ended the week with a lovely happy hour at the local bar “TRU”. Afterward, some of us fell right into bed while others went out to a birthday party of one of our UNC TTT fellows. This was a blast, but an important side note is that you must keep in mind to bring your ID to every restaurant or place if you plan on enjoying a drink (containing alcohol). It is very common for everyone (no matter their age) to get carded when ordering a drink, and some restaurants even wanted to see our passports. 

On Saturday, we (including Andreas Bonnet and Claus Krieger) went on another trip to Durham. Public transportation is completely free in North Carolina, so all 11 of us hopped on a bus at Franklin Street which took us straight to Durham. The city is home to the rival university of UNC called Duke. Apart from the rivalry, it is an awesome place to spend your time and we strolled around the local food haul and visited a farmers’ market together. After everyone could grab a coffee or beverage of choice, Taylor took us to visit a flea market and we had a ton of free time to explore Durham’s old Tabacco district (an area rich in history that was transformed into cafes, shops, and other great hang out spots).

The week ended with a free day to process our impressions and experiences from the second week. This was nice because we were able to choose what we wanted to do and were able to head into week 3 fully recharged and excited for more new experiences and uncertainty.

Alexa & Kevin

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