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A taste of Germany: German IV class visits Christkindlmarkt

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German IV students pose in front of the German market during their Saturday field trip. The trip showed German Christmastime traditions to Lake Zurich students.

German IV students pose in front of the German market during their Saturday field trip. The trip showed German Christmastime traditions to Lake Zurich students.

Photo used with permission of Andrew Ziarnik

Photo used with permission of Andrew Ziarnik

German IV students pose in front of the German market during their Saturday field trip. The trip showed German Christmastime traditions to Lake Zurich students.

Adam Cupples, Staff Writer

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Last weekend, a group of students traveled down to Chicago to visit a German holiday market for the day.

The German IV class’ recent trip to Chicago’s Christkindlmarkt gave students a glimpse into a traditional German Christmas market in their own backyard.

“[The class] spends about two weeks discussing this particular holiday tradition because it is such a big deal,” Andrew Ziarnik, German IV teacher, said. “We want the students to take away what the tradition is really like. You can always study something, read about it online, or watch a video, but [being there in person] adds a whole ‘nother dimension and, I hope, gives the students an appreciation for the holiday tradition by being there. I always call it taking a two hour trip to Germany and only needing to pay 7 dollars for a round trip.”

The market’s close resemblance to traditional German marketplaces adds to the experience for those who attend, says Kirsten Mazurkiewicz, junior.

“The German IV classes visit the [Christkindlmarkt] every year because it is such an exciting and cultural experience,” Mazurkiewicz said. “The Christkindlmarkt closely resembles festive markets in Germany, and it is nice for people here to get a taste of German culture and share it with their friends and family.”

Even though the trip down to Chicago had an educational purpose, Mazurkiewicz says those who attended had a good time traveling down to the city and exploring the market.

“After [the class] got off of the train in the city, we walked awhile to get to the market,” Mazurkiewicz said. “It was cold, but fun because we got to view the city with snow everywhere, and Herr Ziarnik even gave us history lessons about the architecture in the city. At the Christkindlmarkt, there was a ton of other people, but everyone was very polite and cheery—which made it a great atmosphere. Herr Ziarnik made sure we were extra watchful when we explored the market. On the train ride home, we wrote in German about our experiences in the market.”

This view of the market’s atmosphere is shared by Ziarnik, who says that the Christkindlmarkt’s ambiance is his favorite part of traveling down to Chicago every year.

“I generally just enjoy the atmosphere,” Ziarnik said. “It gets crowded often, but everyone down [in the market] is enjoying themselves, the food, and the crafts. I personally like it because it’s a great way for my students and myself to use German outside of the classroom.”

Mazurkiewicz agrees that the different aspects of the market make the trip down to Chicago worthwhile, and she recommends anyone who has an interest in German culture or just wants to browse and shop to make this trip to the city.

“I would recommend going to the Christkindlmarkt,” Mazurkiewicz said. “It is both a familiar and adventurous experience at the same time. If you enjoy shopping for gifts and decorations for the holidays every year, you can follow that tradition, but in a different way, by going to an authentic market like the Christkindlmarkt.”

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A taste of Germany: German IV class visits Christkindlmarkt