The city of Washington recently welcomed three high school student interns from Washington’s sister city, Marbach am Neckar, Germany.
The three teens arrived Saturday, March 2, and are scheduled to depart Sunday, March 17.
Paul Buck, intern, has spent his time shadowing the engineering department and learning what they do on a day-to-day basis. Buck has been to a couple of house inspections. He even visited the landfill.
“I’ve learned to have an appreciation for our waste system,” he said of Germany.
Jonas Blümel, intern, noted that recycling is important in their country. “We sort trash into (at least) five bins,” he said.
By 2020, Germany plans to make use of all garbage and to put the existing landfills out of operation.
Blümel has been interning with Washington Community and Economic Development Director Sal Maniaci.
“It’s interesting to learn about administration,” he said.
Maniaci took Blümel to Canam Steel, Computech and Mercy Hospital to film an industry video as part of the Washington Young Ambassadors video series.
Blümel will accompany Maniaci to a regional chamber meeting Thursday in St. Louis.
“He’s been great, a very smart kid,” Maniaci said. “It’s hard to believe he is only 16!”
Blümel also attended classes at Washington High School last Friday. He mentioned the use of technology there.
Blümel added at his school in Germany the students are given books to do their exercises in whereas at WHS the teacher used websites to teach.
Daniel Ramsauer, intern, has been interning at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School with its music program. Last Thursday, he went with the jazz band to a competition in St. Louis where they played and received feedback.
This week he’s been helping Dr. Daniel Smith at the Animal Hospital of Washington. Monday, Ramsauer watched three animal surgeries.
The boys’ host families have made sure they experienced the area aside from attending their internships. Blümel visited St. Louis last weekend with his host family, Melissa and Brad Holtmeyer. He particularly enjoyed the arch.
“The view of the city is fantastic,” he said.
Buck and Ramsauer have been staying with Tina and Phil Dulany. Buck visited the University of Missouri---St. Louis last weekend.
“The buildings looked like (what you see) in movies,” he said. “I didn’t expect them to be in that good of shape.” The size of everything seemed to impress Buck the most.
“Everything is bigger,” he said.
Buck explained the Marbach area has roughly the same amount of people population-wise, but is condensed in a smaller area.
The three high-schoolers mentioned a few differences they had spotted during their first week in Washington. “Everything is really spaced apart and there’s a lot of fast food,” said Ramsauer.
The boys mentioned that the space Washington has for one school is equivalent for an area designated for four schools in Marbach.
Microwaves were another topic that came up. “We don’t even have a microwave at home,” Buck said.
During Blümel’s visit to Computech, he noticed laser cutters.
“Here, it’s more developing,” he said also noting the addition of a factory in the industrial park. Last year, Melton Machine & Control Company closed on 41 acres for expansion of its company.
Ramsauer said the difference he noticed was sidewalks and lack of public transportation. “You need a car to get around,” he said.
The boys explained in Germany a driver’s license could cost up to $3,000. Most people use public transportation to get to school or work. Blümel said it’s pretty common for families to only have a car or two.
Also the legal age to begin driving is 18 in Germany. They can begin driving at age 17 if there is a licensed adult in the car.
Buck mentioned over the past week both of his host teen sisters have driven with him in the car. “That was really scary for me,” he joked.
The difference that really upset Blümel and Buck the most was the bread. “America as a country is great,” Buck started, “but your bread is too soft.”
They also mentioned everyone around Washington has been really nice. One particular instance was during a grocery shopping trip.
Buck said he had a couple of people point out what foods paired nicely together and which food brands were the cheaper options. Blümel said back home if they can’t find something at a grocery store it’s probably just best to search for it on their own rather than asking an attendant. They both said the attendants will all claim the grocery item is not in their section and send you to the next attendant.
The Sister City Partnership agreement was signed in Marbach in November 1990 and then again in May 1991 by Washington.