by CISL SF student, Philipp Bourdon (Germany)

On December 5th, 2010 my plane landed in San Francisco. My booking involved four weeks studying in Converse International School of Languages and eight weeks Volunteer English program. Also, I am living for those three months in a home stay.

I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. I didn’t wait for white Christmas and not for summer. Here I expected mild temperatures between 35 ° and 55 ° Fahrenheit (ca. 0 ° to 15 ° Celsius) perfect for shopping and sightseeing. I also met up with my classmates and fellow students to take, for example, dinner in restaurants. To fill out the program, CISL offers variety of offerings.

I spent Christmas with my family. This was a priceless experience for me to celebrate Christmas outside of my family in another culture. I could find out differences and similarities between American and my German culture. My wonderful host family is of Filipino origin. They have four grown children and eight grandchildren aged two to eighteen years. The whole family comes together to Christmas, on 12/25. There I could share with all family members everything possible and I could enjoy Christmas in a different family.

New Years Eve I spent with my classmates, my fellow students and my new friends. You meet up with them at one of your host family, residence, apartment or in public restaurants, bars and clubs. At 11 pm you should go to the “Embarcadero” because at 00:00 clock there starts big fireworks. Perhaps I’ve never even seen so many people in one place and certainly I’ve never seen so many different cultures in one place.
Then the party was into the early morning hours.