My wife and I just returned from a week at an English immersion course about an hour outside of Frankfurt, Germany. We were there for seven days and five nights with 12 native German speakers, 10 other native English speakes and two staff members. We were housed in a lovely, small hotel located at the edge of a public forest full of paved, gravel, or wood chip walking tails. The hotel was wonderful, the food was excellent, and their small, family-oriented staff did a fantastic job.
Prior to our week in this program, my wife had spent a week traveling in the UK with a good friend who lives in the Nottingham area. I had spend a week in Budapest attending a Formula 1 race and a week in Vienna visiting their amazing museums and cultural sites.
So why include this as a trip report? I am a proponent of travel as a political act and the immersion course provided the opportuity to get to know 12 Germans. I spent time with them in 1-on-1 and small group sessions, took three meals a day with them (all meals were shared tables of 4 with 2 German and 2 "anglos") and socialized with them in the evening. One of the German partipants was born in East Germany, spent many years as a child in Bulgaria, studied in Russia and lived in Cuba. She returned to a reunified Germany shortly after the wall came down. It was facinating to talk to her about her life expereinces. Most of the Germans were there because English is the defacto global language of business. They work for firms that are global in either ownership, customers, or suppliers and daily meetings require effective English language skills.
Lastly, participating as an "anglo" is a volunteer expereince. Room and board is provided, but we were responsible for getting to Frankfurt on our own. My wife and I are active volunteers at home now that we are retired and this act of volunteerism was very satisfying.