Wednesday, July 25
[1] We arrived in Stuttgart, Germany, to meet students from places all over the globe — Egypt, South Korea, Germany, Yemen, Ecuador, Pakistan, and the United States. We came together to study and discuss German nonprofit organizations, the German school system, immigration, and principles of integration. After exchanging stories of how we got to Stuttgart, we were off to the nearby charming town of [2] Esslingen for an evening of amazing sights. Hiking up cobblestone streets, we had views of the old town and vineyards for miles.

Thursday, July 26
[3] After breakfast, we hopped on the train to Ludwigsburg University of Education in Favoritepark, Germany, where we met Pierre Tulowitzki, a junior professor and program director. Professor Tulowitzki led our group to Gottlieb Daimler, a Realschule in Ludwigsburg. Eighty percent of the students in this secondary school are first- or second-generation immigrants. The principal explained that German education is “holistic.” The policy is to immerse migrants into German culture and teach them no differently than domestic German students. “Integration and inclusion is always a two-way street,” Tulowitzki told us.

Germany education travel group mapFriday, July 27
We started the day discussing an article called “Caring Leadership in Schools” and the massive human displacement affecting Germany and students like the ones we saw yesterday. The takeaway: Everyone can express caring leadership. Then it was excursion time. We joined up with 16 students from INEMA — the International Education Management Master’s Program, a partnership of Ludwigsburg and Helwan University, which is south of Cairo. In small groups, we explored nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations in the Ludwigsburg area. My group, consisting of students from the United States, Egypt, and Germany, took on the adventure of finding Landesjugendring Baden-Württemberg, the Federation of Youth Counseling. This organization bridges the gap between youth and politics by giving children opportunities to work with the government and express ideas with politicians.

Saturday, July 28
In the morning, we headed off to the Ludwigsburg Palace of the Ludwig royal family. The colors and textures of flowers filled the air and led us down courtyard paths to a stunning yellow palace. Back at Ludwigsburg University after lunch, we were excited to meet Nina Bremm, a German expert on refugees. There is a difference between refugees and asylum seekers, she told us, but they have one thing in common: a desperate search for safety. Because this was our last day of classes at Ludwigsburg, we thanked Tulowitzki for his hospitality and the planning that made this trip possible for us. He expressed our common hope to meet again soon.

Sunday, July 29
A day for reflecting on the relationships that we have made in Germany among our fellow students who have traveled. It was now time to begin digesting all of the material that we have learned and discussed over the past several days. As I told my classmates during our last class, I have traveled around the globe, but I have never dived so deeply into one country. It’s important to see and hear the cultures that surround us because together we create something much larger than ourselves.

Monday, July 30
[4] A day for some relaxed sightseeing to wrap up our trip. We’d seen castles and palaces throughout the week, but none like the castle of Heidelberg. We trammed up a steep track to get to the top of a mountain overlooking the town. The walls of the enormous castle were crumbling but still remarkable. The labor and planning that built this castle seemed impossible from where we stood. It served as the perfect view to reflect on our trip in Germany as it seemed to look over the many miles we had traveled. Our day ended with goodbyes, safe travels and, of course, see-you-soons.