Sending My Son Off to Hamburg, Germany #tmom

Earlier this year, my son Nathaniel visited Hamburg Germany as part of an exchange program between his school and their sister school there. I know that THOUSANDS of parents send their children off without them daily, but I was a bit sad about my oldest heartbeat leaving me AND the country for an extended amount of time. However, I’m SO glad that he had the experience to leave the country without us. He’s already traveled without us all over the US, but this here was a learning point for both of us. We made sure to go through a checklist of things that he needed before leaving, and we made SURE that he packed lightly so that it wasn’t a pain to travel in general. I mean, have you ever traveled overseas and seen the amount of luggage that some people bring with them?! I managed to spend a little over two weeks in Malawi and only packed a backpack. I was determined! 

Traveling to Hamburg Germany

I will say that I spoke with my quiet teen more while he was gone than I normally do when he’s residing under my roof. He checked in daily via Facebook Messenger (the video app is awesome!) and sent photos of his ventures around the city. His host brother and his family were the epitome of hospitality, and we can’t wait to host them this fall! 

I was told that he liked his trip to Berlin the most, but that Hamburg was full of things to do, and a great city with reliable transportation and many places to eat and shop. You know, the things important to teenagers. He did visit quite a few museums, and official buildings, including churches. Being a church kid himself, he was intrigued by the fact that most German people, as told to him, don’t really attend services regularly, but more for special occasions. One of the churches that he photographed was St. Michael’s in Hamburg, and the edifice was absolutely gorgeous. I noticed that red brick and copper were very popular throughout the country, and it created a uniform look. 

St. Michael's Church in Hamburg Germany

He did visit Berlin as well, and visited one of many Holocaust Memorial Sites, and I was pleased to hear that no one took any inappropriate photos like the ones being posted on Instagram these days. I think that Nathaniel’s understanding of mass genocide in general provided a sobering reality when he stepped onto the site where so much tragedy took place. 

Visiting Germany (Berlin)

I will have more to share about his solo trip in the coming days, but wanted to start of with the highlights, or the ones that really resonated with me. 

Have you ever sent your child overseas without you for an exchange program? How did you fare? Let me know in the comments! 

21 Comments

  • Reply
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    April 7, 2017 at 7:06 am

    We’ve never participated in an exchange program before. I love them, though. I think they’re an excellent way to broaden the horizons of young children.
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle recently posted..5 Hair Mistakes That Can Age YouMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tammy
    April 7, 2017 at 7:28 am

    I went to school with an exchange student so many years ago and I learned so much from her. I think its a wonderful program and I would love to see me young people participate. Beautiful pictures

  • Reply
    Scott
    April 7, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Germany is a wonderful place to visit. Having lived there many years ago, I sure miss the architecture and food. Have a bratwurst for me!
    Scott recently posted..New ABC Reality Show is ToyRiffic: #TheToyBoxMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jeanette
    April 7, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    That has to be scary to let your son go some place without you with him! I hope they he loves it and get a love for traveling ! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jeanette recently posted..Tips for Recharging Your AfternoonMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tara
    April 7, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    My daughter hasn’t participated in an exchange program but I’m sure it is something she would enjoy. What a great way to experience another culture even if it is far from home.
    Tara recently posted..Roasted Sheet Pan Potatoes and SausageMy Profile

  • Reply
    gingermommyrants
    April 7, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Facebook Messenger is a great way to keep in touch. This is an amazing trip for him to go on. I would be so nervous if one of my kids went on a trip this far.

  • Reply
    Nicky
    April 7, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I haven’t been part of an exchange program, but have known others who have. It was such a rewarding experience and I am encouraging my three children to grab the chance if it’s available to them

  • Reply
    FS Page
    April 8, 2017 at 5:12 am

    I can so relate to your post. My mom had tears in her eyes when she came to drop me to the school for the first time and then at my college hostel. And yeah, we used to talk a lot on phone than when we were together. I feel that is how life is and one has to leave one’s family for a better future. But its really great to know that you and your son bond so well with each other.

  • Reply
    travel blogger
    April 8, 2017 at 8:08 am

    It can be so hard to let them go so far away, but it is so good for them to experience new cultures and places. It sounds like he is learning lots and enjoying his trip.

  • Reply
    Echo
    April 8, 2017 at 9:13 am

    You must be so proud to have such a well-traveled and mature son! Good job, mama!
    Echo recently posted..Wicked Wicks and Poisonous Paraffin: Using Candles That Wonโ€™t Harm Your FamilyMy Profile

  • Reply
    eazynazy
    April 8, 2017 at 9:30 am

    it’s totally like an adventure…even i have been away from my home for my studies and can totally understand how it feels
    eazynazy recently posted..Tory Burch- Rodeo DriveMy Profile

  • Reply
    Autumn and Chad Reo
    April 8, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I always wished I could have done this and love the idea for my own kids. However, I admit it scares me a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Sauumye
    April 8, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Exchange programs are a great way to learn more about a culture, meet new people & travel. I’m happy he is getting to experience all of this. Hope he has a great time in Germany

  • Reply
    adriana
    April 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    This had to be so hard for you, but SUCH an experience for him! Studying abroad is always my #1 tip for college students, it’s SUCH an incredible experience!!!

  • Reply
    Chloe
    April 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    My little one is too young for any exchange programs yet but my sister went on one to England! She absolutely loved it!

  • Reply
    Krysten
    April 8, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I bet that he had a wonderful experience. I wish I could have done something like that when I was his age. I can’t imagine sending my son off though, I would be a wreck. You are so strong for being able to do that!

  • Reply
    katrina gehman
    April 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    i’m sure it was awesome. germany is an amazing country. one of my best friends was born there and has family that still lives there. i love seeing the photos from when she visits.

  • Reply
    Dogvills
    April 9, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    The exchange student program is such a great learning experience. I wish my parents allowed me to participate but they wanted all their children home at the end of the day. I am happy for your son, and I know he will treasure the experience for the rest of his life. Kudos to you too, you are a great mom supporting your son’s overall development.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O.
    April 9, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I have sent my daughter to Japan for her exchange program and it was tough doing so. We all get used to it eventually. I think it’s nice that your son had a great time exploring while he’s there!

  • Reply
    Ranesha
    April 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

    yay this is awesome gone head young man explore life. I wish I had an opportunity like this.

  • Reply
    Get Camp Ready with Mabel's Labels | Houseful Of Nicholes
    May 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    […] had the use of some Mabel’s Labels travel labels on his trip to Germany a couple of months ago. He didn’t feel like a big baby with the labels that we used either. […]

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