Small Town News


Eight German students visit Ely

The Ely Echo of Ely, Minnesota

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Every other summer, the German classes at Ely Memorial High School have the ultimate hands-on field trip with a roughly three-week visit to Germany.

But roles were reversed the last two weeks, as Ely played host to eight German students.

They shadowed Ely students for a couple of days at the high school, visited attractions including the North American Bear Center and International Wolf Center, and even took in the Timberwolves' state tournament football victory over Stephen-Argyle — complete with a ride on a student fan bus.

Ely students who are making the trip to Europe next summer served as host families, as their German counterparts were introduced to life in the United States, and life in a small Minnesota town.

"Ely is a little town but the families and people have been so friendly to me," said Yannik Scheller, part of the group of 15-and-16-year-olds, all making their first trip to the United States.

Scheller and the rest of his classmates come from a northern Bavaria community of approximately 12,000 people, and they've noticed a few differences during their stay.

"You have so many cars on the road," said Scheller. "Everybody has a big car like Chevy or Ford."

The students were accompanied to Ely by their English teacher — Joerg Thelenberg.

It was Thelenberg, through a longtime acquaintance with Ely German teacher Bob Braff that put together the visit to Ely after teaming up with Braff on numerous Ely student trips to Europe.

"They (Ely students) will stay with these (German students) when they come next year," said Thelenberg. "Ely teams up with a group from New Prague and that's how we got to meet each other."

Taking a break from lunch at the DQ Grill and Chill, Ely's visitors smiled and laughed and seemed to enjoy their stay in town.

By all accounts, the Germans' student hosts, their families and Ely as a whole provided a lifetime memory for the group.

"The people here are so nice and friendly," said Emily Diem. "It's really different here but a good kind of different. It's all real cool."

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Original Publication Date: November 7, 2015

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