2022 Chicago LAB School Germany Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2022 Chicago LAB School Germany Program! You are currently on the Pre-Enrollment page, the purpose of which is to share exciting highlights and important info that participants will want to know before signing up. If you enroll, you'll begin using the Post-Enrollment page which offers a greater level of detail.  Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for a once in a lifetime opportunity in Germany!
Travel Dates: June 1, 2022 - June 12, 2022
Dates are placeholders
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,990 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $975
Deadline(s): Enrollment deadline forthcoming

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers and given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA - FrankfurtToday we will depart the USA for Germany, arriving to Frankfurt the following day. Rest up for our upcoming adventure!Airplane
2Frankfurt - NurembergToday we'll arrive in Frankfurt and then we will hop on a train for a short trip to the medieval city of Nuremberg. Once we are settled in our hotel in the historic town center we can gaze up at the Imperial Castle and stroll past medieval half-timbered houses and churches on our way to an early dinner after the long days of travel. Nuremberg Hotel
3NurembergThe best way to explore a new city is by bicycle and we will start our first full day in Germany with a bike tour encompassing Nuremberg's varied past - as both a trading mecca in the Holy Roman Empire and a center for political rallies during the Third Reich. We will also get a chance to try the local specialty - Nuremberger Bratwurst! Later in the day we will explore the home of one of Nuremberg's most heralded sons - Renaissance artist Albrecht Duerer.Nuremberg Hotel
4NurembergToday we will have an in-depth exploration of Nuremberg's connection to the Third Reich at the Documentation Center on former Nazi Party rally grounds. Afterwards we will have time together to decompress and process what are sure to be emotional impressions.Nuremberg Hotel
5Nuremberg - MunichAfter a quick train ride to the Bavarian capital of Munich we will take a tour of this dynamic city. We will be able to enjoy lunch from local vendors at the Viktualien Market. Then a host of interactive displays on all scientific subjects await us at the Deutsches Museum.Munich Hotel
6Munich - KonstanzA four-hour train trip will take us to the town of Konstanz on the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Konstanz) at the corner of Germany that meets Austria and Switzerland. We will take a tour on a solar-powered ferry to experience firsthand how this region embraces alternative energy.Konstanz Hotel
7KonstanzWe are off on bikes to explore the medieval monasteries and nature reserves of Reichenau Island, the Bodensee's largest island just outside of Konstanz.Konstanz Hotel
8Konstanz - FeldbergToday's train trip will bring us to yet another new ecosystem as we enter the Schwarzwald (Black Forest). We will stay at a hotel just below the summit of the Feldberg that uses renewable energy and local organic produce for all of its meals. We can make the short trek to the nearly 5,000-foot summit of the Feldberg before a relaxing dinner and campfire.Feldberg Hotel
9FeldbergWe'll put on our hiking boots for a ranger walk through virgin forest before having time for individual reflections in this beautiful locale and some ecology workshops at the hotel.Feldberg Hotel
10FeldbergToday we will take advantage of our stunning location to participate in a workshop on local flora and fauna. Alternately, we may try our hands at archery and a team-building ropes course.Feldberg Hotel
11Feldberg - FrankfurtFor our final day we will travel back to Frankfurt where we will discover why this German metropole is dubbed "Mainhattan." We'll have an farewell dinner to celebrate our time together before our international departure the following morning. Frankfurt Hotel, near Airport
12Frankfurt - USAAfter breakfast we'll board a plane back across the Atlantic. Auf Wiedersehen!Your own bed, eventually!

Fundraising

Need to Raise Money? We Have You Covered.

Walking Tree Travel is proud to team up with Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative that distributes organic coffee, tea, sugar, bananas, avocados, cocoa, chocolate bars, and more.  There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so the sooner you can start, the better!

Learn more here.

WTT coffee

Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.  We vet and inspect the accommodations to ensure they uphold the ethos of our programs, are great values for our travelers and nice places to rest after enriching days of travel.  

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Haus International München

Haus International is a hostel located in the Schwabing district of the city. This hostel includes free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast buffet. Haus International comfortably sleeps up to 8 students per room. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Jugendherberge Konstanz

Jugendherberge Konstanz is a hostel located in a former lighthouse directly on the banks of Lake Constance. Most rooms offer 4 beds, with ensuite bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

DJH Jugendherberge Nürnberg

Hostel located inside a medieval castle, located on a hill overlooking the town center. Each room can comfortably sleep up to 6 people and has its own ensuite bathroom. Breakfast is included and free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Group Flight

Once your flight has been confirmed, the itinerary will appear here.

Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, and travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION, DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel can be unpredictable.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with.  We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination. 

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :

  • Underwear
  • Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
  • T-shirts (some quick dry)
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters or sweatshirts
  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Rain jacket
  • Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
  • Comfortable, everyday pants
  • Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
  • Durable athletic/walking shoes
  • Sandals (optional)
  • Hat

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

  • Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Band Aids and Neosporin
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Medication in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Sunglasses
  • Journal and pen
  • Book
  • Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
  • Power Converter
  • Alarm Clock and watch
  • Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
  • Durable water bottle
  • 1 quick-dry towel
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Deck of cards or other portable games
  • STUDENT ID
  • German/English Dictionary

Support Team

At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Devin Toletti
Devin Toletti
Italy Country Director; Germany Country Director


Bologna University – B.A. Political Science and International Relations

Born to an Italian father and a Canadian-Austrian mother, Devin grew up in Varese which is in Northern Italy between Milan and Switzerland. He grew up with a love for winter sports, dividing his winters between hockey and skiing. In summer he would enjoy mountain biking around the Alps and try to water ski as much as possible. After finishing school, in the English section of the European School, he went to Bologna University and achieved a B.A in Political Science and International Relations. In Bologna he also discovered his passion for food and teaching. Devin is now living in the exciting capital of Germany, Berlin, where he is a bike tour guide, part time cook, and English teacher.

Annie Krieg
Annie Krieg
Program Leader


University of Pittsburgh – PhD History of Art and Architecture; Certificate: Cultural Studies University of Pittsburgh – MA History of Art and Architecture Lawrence University – BA German, Art History; Minor: Gender Studies

Providing Germany-centered program development and outreach for Smithsonian Student Adventures and Walking Tree Travel is a dream job and coming full-circle for Annie. As a 13-year-old, she came home from her first summer as a villager at Waldsee, one of the language and cultural immersion summer camps of Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota, announcing plans to be a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. After a high school exchange and a full undergraduate year at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, she indeed returned to Germany twice as a Fulbright Fellow – teaching English in a secondary school and conducting independent research for her dissertation. Having traveled extensively through Europe with longer stays outside of Germany in Poland and England, she considers herself first and foremost a Berliner by choice who is also at home on the trails of Colorado. Her greatest accomplishments include being mistaken for a native speaker on the streets of Berlin, finishing two 140.6-mile Ironman triathlons, and owning, and actually wearing, a Dirndl.

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Group Roster

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

Blog and Communication

During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

 

GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1.  Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of, or are consuming, or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety.
  4. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Threatening physical or emotional harm, or brandishing a weapon.
  4. Possessing, consuming, or distributing tobacco or nicotine, including vape pens.
  5. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  6. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew.
  7. Breaking group rules.

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Germany website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Beyond these recommendations, our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. WTT will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.

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