Here it is nearly August and students are heading back to school. In many communities students may be studying foreign languages, but recent surveys may show that in some, German is on the decline. While this may simply be because of government mandates on what students cover, many colleges do insist on high school students having four years of study. One way many communities contribute to the interest generated in the German language in Missouri is through Sister Cities International, where cities large and small are paired with friendship pacts. These may range from St. Louis which is friends with Stuttgart for over 50 years, to Saint Charles who has been friends with Ludwigsburg, which is also a suburb of Stuttgart just like Saint Charles is with St. Louis. The Saint Charles-Ludwigsburg partnership is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. In Washington Missouri their partnership quite often goes so far to host guests in the same occupation, with the Mayor, newspaper editor, and fire department volunteers. This enables quite often a very meaningful exchange between the host and the guest whether it is in Germany or in the U.S..
These friendships quite often form lasting relationships, sometimes marriages! Besides businesses exchanging ideas and concepts, students in various high schools join in the exchanges as well. Most students come home changed after experiencing travel to a
foreign country, and not just by how much their study of German “may” have improved. U.S students often learn that in some ways while they may be very much alike, there are many aspects that they differ on. Most would state that the education systems, are number one on their “different” lists. However music, cell phones or their “handy” and sports often top the same lists. And then there is always the subject of food, and while it may differ, the favorites seem to be the same. Whatever the comparisons are about the experience are, one thing that almost all students tend to remark on is “how much it has changed them and their view of the world.” If your community is fortunate enough to have a “Sister City” if you and your family get involved, one thing is for certain, the experiences will be memorable.
In Saint Charles Missouri, on August 25, 2016, over 45 choir members of the Ludwigsburg Philharmonic Choir will arrive in Saint Charles. Hope Lutheran Church (1975 South Old
Highway 94) in Saint Charles is hosting the Choir with the assistance of the Saint Charles Sister Cities Inc – the German Chapter – and the City of Saint Charles. The German Chapter in Saint Charles is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. The Sister Cities International network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in 570 Member communities with over 2,300 partnerships in 150 countries on six continents every year.
While visiting the Choir will perform in several concerts which are free and open to the public. On Sunday, August 28th at 4:00 pm they will perform with the choir of the First United Methodist Church at 801 First Capital Drive in Saint Charles. On Saturday, September 3, 2016 they will perform a public Concert, at 7:00 PM at Saint Charles High, 725 N. Kingshighway (1975 South Old Highway 94). They will have a Sangerfest – a song fest with the Hope Lutheran Choir on Thursday evening at 7 pm. to which the public is invited to meet and visit with our German guests. They have also been invited to sing “Take me out to the Ballgame” for the River City Rascals ballgame on Saturday, August 27th.
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