Las Cruces Sister Cities


News and Exchanges

  • Sunday, November 01, 2015 8:26 AM | Tim Chappell (Administrator)

    Here is Jordan's first post.  Please click on the following link to view a pdf version.  Full Post

  • Sunday, June 21, 2015 9:52 PM | Deleted user

    Meine sechs Wochen in und um Nienburg –

    My Six Weeks in and Around Nienburg

    Ich hatte einen guten Rückflug nach El Paso und eine gute Fahrt zurück nach Hause. Weil ich um 1 Uhr am Sonntag angekommen bin, war ich sehr müde.

    Ich vermisse Deutschland und das gute deutsche Essen. Die deutsche Bratwurst ist sehr lecker. Außerdem mag ich die deutschen Brötchen. Bei beiden Gastfamilien gab es viel Belag für die Brötchen, zum Beispiel Honig, Schinken, Hähnchen, Salami, Zucker, Nutella und Erdbeeren.

    Das Sommerwetter in Deutschland finde ich gut, weil es im Juni kühl ist. Die Temperatur in Nienburg ist dann etwa 22 Grad (Celsius). Es gibt eine Menge Regen. Ich mag Regen,  weil es in Las Cruces wenig Regen gibt. Nienburg ist wegen dem Regen sehr grün. Die Hillmanns, meine zweite Gastfamilie, leben in der Nähe von einem schönen Wald.

    Der größte Unterschied zwischen dem Südwesten der USA und Deutschland ist das Klima. Der amerikanische Südwesten ist sehr trocken und heiß. Die Sonne scheint oft. In Deutschland ist das Klima kühl mit hoher Luftfeuchtigkeit. Die Sonne scheint nicht so oft.

    Translation of the preceding paragraphs:

    I had a good return flight to El Paso and a good car trip back home. Since I arrived Sunday at 1 a.m., I was very tired.

    I miss Germany and the good German food. German Bratwurst is very delicious. I also like German “Brötchen” (rolls). Both host families had lots of spreads for the Brötchen, e.g. honey, ham, roasted chicken slices, salami, sugar, Nutella and strawberries.

    The summer weather in Germany is great because it’s cool in June (about  71.6 F). There’s a lot of rain. I like the rain because in Las Cruces there is so little. Nienburg is very green because of the rain.

    The Hillmanns, my second host family, live near a beautiful forest.


     (Kean wrote the following in English.)

    In Germany, the hardest thing for me was the language. The people spoke so very fast. It was difficult following what they were saying. I finally understood more of the conversations by focusing on keywords and using context clues.  It was not always easy because I did not have a large German vocabulary when I arrived. In class, my friends helped translate some vocabulary words I didn't know. That was very helpful.

    I would advise other American students going on a short exchange to Germany to bring along a “Taschenwörterbuch” (pocket dictionary). The more vocabulary you know the easier it is to understand. Another advice is to sleep during the flight to Germany. It helps prevent jet lag. 

    "Life" at the German “Gymnasium” (=academic high school) is very good. During the breaks, students have more freedom than at an American high school. The students in my 8th grade class can  go off campus. For some of the big breaks, my friends and I would get pizza at a nearby pizza shop. The food at school is also very good -- all freshly made. In American high schools, many foods have a lot of added preservatives. -- Some of the teaching styles are different. For example, most of the lessons are teacher-led discussions. There is also less homework. Teachers are stricter on homework, however. I find these teaching styles very good. 

    The classrooms in Albert-Schweitzer-Schule are old. They do not have any air conditioning but they do have a lot of large windows that are opened to let the cool air come in. There are many big desks arranged in a u-shape. In front there is  a blackboard with another blackboard behind it. 

    What has surprised me most is  the excellent public transportation system. When I was with the Hillmann family, I had to take the bus to school. It  took my host brothers and me directly from the very small village of Graue to Nienburg. (18.6 km)

    My 6 weeks  in Germany were very good despite the fact that I broke my right arm when I crashed with my bike. The people in Nienburg have been nice and helpful. I learned a lot of German at Albert-Schweitzer-Schule. Mr. Kerlin, the English teacher of my class and my German facilitator for this exchange, is very nice and funny. He likes to tell jokes to lighten up the mood of the class.


    This exchange has been very beneficial and helped me make new friends while at the same time helping to improve and expand my German skills.  I would like to thank the many people of our Las Cruces-Nienburg Sister Cities partnership in the US and in Nienburg who have made this wonderful exchange possible.

    DANKE !!!! 

    Translation of Kean's "Fifth Week" paragraph from the German:

    I spent a very nice week with the Hillmann family where I like to ride the Go-Cart. The weather in and around Nienburg has been very warm with high humidity. Right now it feels as if Nienburg is hotter than Las Cruces!

    I also had a good week at school. On Monday, I went to the famous "Scheibenschießen" (a kind of marksmen's festival), [which is the biggest event in Nienburg].  Unfortunately I could not shoot because of my broken arm.

    This week my topic is the Albert-Schweitzer-Schule in Nienburg. It is a very old school. [Its origins go back to the Latin School of the 16th century. The main building - as we see it today - was built between 1904 and 1906. Like most German buildings], it has no air conditioning.  When it's warm outside, it's also warm  inside. -- We had a test in Math on which I earned a "1+" (A+).  Apart from regular P.E., students can also participate in one of the rowing teams.  "Rudern" (rowing) is so much fun.  I'll row again next week when I'll be back with the Schulze family because they live very close to the Weser river. 

    My teachers and friends have helped me a lot with improving my German language skills. My injured arm is also doing much better. "



    Kean's Report of Fun and Not So Much Fun
    "My second week with the Hillmann family - my fourth week in Germany - was not really that good. This past Friday, on my way from school towards h
    ome, I crashed with my bicycle in a curve where there was lots of gravel. I injured my chin, my right wrist, my right hand as well as my left hand. An ambulance took me to the orthopedic hospital in Nienburg. The doctor was very nice. Today is Sunday and the sun is shining. I'm staying in the house, taking photos.  My host mother is taking really good care of me.

    Now a few comments on classes at a German academic high school.  They are really different from those at an American high school. The grading scale goes from 1 to 6
    , with 1 being very good and 6 insufficient. Students have their own classroom, and teachers go from room to room. During class, there are many more open conversations and discussions than in America.  Oral participation is considered very important. -- Meals are different. We eat Müsli or whole grain bread or rolls with butter, cheese, jam or honey for breakfast; when the entire family is home at noon, we have a cooked meal. For supper, we eat open-faced sandwiches. "Schwarzbrot" (black bread) is a little sour but tastes really good with cheese, egg or Salami."

    06-21-15:  Kean's latest post

    "Ich spreche und schreibe nur Deutsch bei der Familie Hillmann, meiner zweiten Gastfamilie. Mein Gastvater spricht kein Englisch. Das finde ich wirklich gut. Ich habe eine gute Woche mit der Familie Hillmann verbracht. Alle sind sehr nett. Ich habe zwei Gastbrüder: Lauritz ist 14 Jahre alt und Brice ist 11.  Die Familie  wohnt auf einem schön restaurierten Bauernhof in Asendorf-Graue.  Ich mag ihr Haus. Zur Schule kommen wir 1,8 km mit dem Fahrrad und dann ~30 Minuten mit dem Bus.  Graue ist in der Nähe von Wietzen.  Da schwimme ich  mit Lauritz und Brice im Schwimmbad. Am Wochenende bin ich mit meiner Gastmutter und Lauritz nach Bremen gefahren. Die Stadt finde ich sehr schön. Heute werde ich 10 km mit Brice laufen. Insgesamt habe ich viel Spaß."

    Translation: At the Hillmanns', my second host family, I speak and write only German. My host father does not speak English; I find that really good. I spent a good week with the Hillmann family. Everyone is very nice. I have two host brothers: Lauritz is 14 years old and Brice is 11. The family lives in a beautifully restored farm house in Asendorf-Graue. I like their house. We get to school by bike (1.8 kilometers) and then we take a bus for about 30 minutes. Graue is located near Wietzen [translator's note: Exchange student Kathrin lives in Wietzen;  - see  the post about her.] I go swimming there with Lauritz and Brice. This past weekend, I went to Bremen with my host mother and Lauritz.  The city is very beautiful.  Today Brice and I will go on a 10 kilometer run.  All in all, I have lots of fun.

    Update from Kean 6-15-15

    "I had a great second week at the Schulzes and at school.
    I have gotten the news that the Plate family cannot host me for the next three weeks because their grandma is very ill.  So I will be staying with a classmate's family for that time.  The classmate's name is Lauritz and he is a nice boy in my class.  He has told me that his only pet is a horse.  He has also told me that to get to school I must ride the bus (the family lives 15km outside of Nienburg.  I am fine with that.

    This week I swam at the local swimming pool by myself because Constantin and Sophia Schulz have to work.  I also went rowing with students from the school, Albert-Schweitzer-Schule.  On the weekend, I went to Hannover and the guest parents gave me a tour of the city.  It was a lot of fun."


    Here's what Kean wrote from Nienburg on 6-7-15:
    "...I am having a great time with the Schulze family where I'm staying for the first two weeks [of my six-week stay in Nienburg]. We did a lot of things. First, Constantin, Sophia, and I went swimming in the new "Schwimmbad" [swimming pool]. Then I went rowing for my first time. Finally, on the weekend we went to a lake called  "Steinhuder Meer" [Steinhude Sea]. It was a lot of fun. I am learning a lot of German at school. My classmates help translate for me from time to time...."

    Kean will spend the next three weeks with the Plate family whose oldest son, Paul, came to Las Cruces with Constantin and a group of Albert-Schweitzer-Schule students in October 2012. Kean's other host siblings are Erik and Henrike.  Erik was an exchange student in Iowa for the 2013/14 school year.

    During the last week of his stay in Nienburg, Kean will be back with the Schulze family.


    Our Sister Cities-Nienburg Affiliation Committee has facilitated an exchange for Fifteen Year-Old
    Las Cruces High School Student,
    Kean Leung.

    Kean will travel to Nienburg May30 for a six week stay.  He will be hosted by two Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Students who participated in an exchange with Las Cruces' Centennial High School in 2012.  Watch for more to come from Kean and his facilitators.
  • Saturday, May 23, 2015 2:32 PM | Deleted user

    Members of the New Mexico State University Choir will travel to our German Sister City, Nienburg-Wasser May 23-26, 2015 offering several concert performances.  The students will be home hosted by "Friends of Las Cruces"

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015 7:47 PM | Deleted user
    Centennial High School sophomore Lucari is looking forward to spending his junior year of high school in Nienburg, September 3, 2015 to June 22, 2016. 

    Lucari will be hosted by the family of his German exchange partner,  Simon who was in Las Cruces in October 2014.

    Albert-Schweitzer-Schule principal Dr. Ralf Weghöft welcomes the exchange which is being facilitated by “Las Cruces-Nienburg Sister Cities Affiliation” and its German counterpart, “Freundeskreis Las Cruces-Nienburg”.  Several coordinators and facilitators are offering their assistance in Germany: Thomas Volkhausen from Albert-Schweitzer-Schule who, together with his colleague Robert Kerlin, brought a group of 16 Albert-Schweitzer-Schule students to Las Cruces and Centennial High School this past October; Hedda Freese, chairperson of the “Freundeskreis Las Cruces-Nienburg” who is also a teacher at “Integrierte Gesamtschule Nienburg”; Conny Kramer from the Cultural Office, City of Nienburg. On the American side, Las Cruces-Nienburg Sister Cities founding member Ingrid Luchini is coordinating preparations for this school year abroad.

    Lucari has enjoyed speaking German since he was a young child. As a ninth grader, he started taking formal German lessons in Oklahoma State University’s GermanOnline program where he is currently on level 3. He says: “My family and I hosted German exchange students several times, three of whom are from Nienburg. I had been thinking for quite some time about being an exchange student myself. This most recent hosting experience opened my eyes to the great value of study abroad and strengthened my resolve to spend the 2015/16 school year at Albert-Schweitzer-Schule in Nienburg.”
  • Sunday, December 14, 2014 9:26 PM | Deleted user

    Etwas Neues Winter 2014.pdf

    From Stephan Helgeson, Honorary Consul for Germany in New Mexico

  • Wednesday, December 10, 2014 11:54 AM | Deleted user

    The Las Cruces-Nienburg Sister Cities Affiliation is mourning the passing of one of their founding members, Catherine (Cathy) Smith.

    Beside her family, folk dancing and history, Cathy loved the German language and culture.  As a child, she spent several years in Germany when her father worked in that country. She was a faithful member of the Las Cruces “Freunde der deutschen Sprache” (Friends of the German Language) for 25 years.  Cathy and John, her husband, were actively involved in Mayfield High School’s German Club when their three children studied German in the Modern Language Department. They could always be counted upon to help with activities, such as the annual Mayfield German Comedy Night and the “Deutsches Fest”. Cathy liked to accompany the students and their teacher to the annual German Weekend in the Sacramento Mountains and continued to do so long after the children had graduated. Cathy was also a substitute teacher with the Las Cruces Public Schools and especially enjoyed subbing in German classes.

    The Smith children went to Nienburg on the GAPP (German-American Partnership Program) student exchange in 1987, 1989 and 1993, and the family hosted students from Nienburg many times. 

    In 1993, Cathy became a founding member of the “Las Cruces-Nienburg Sister Cities Affiliation” and later was the organization’s secretary until her illness did not allow her to do that task any longer. 

    In 2003, Cathy's and John's daughter married a young man from Nienburg. They currently live Bonn where their two children where born.

    “Cathy, wir vermissen dich sehr! Ruhe in Frieden.”             (Cathy, we miss you very much!  Rest in peace.)

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014 2:51 PM | Deleted user

    It is more than 20 years that Las Cruces and Nienburg/Germany ‎have maintained close ties as sister cities, establishing a most fruitful connection aimed at bringing together the best of two 'worlds'.

    This bridge between the 'old world' of Germany and the 'New World' of the U.S. does, however, rest on a foundation built by a student exchange between a Las Cruces high school and Albert-Schweitzer-Schule/Germany started in 1987. It is safe to say that this decades-old tradition of connecting both worlds which both cities have cherished rests on the young shoulders of teenagers from New Mexico and Germany who are highly motivated to delve into new cultural waters.

    From October 12 till October 30, this bridge saw a rejuvenation of its foundation when under the auspices of CHS principal Mr. Michael Montoya and within the framework of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP),  16 students aged 15 to 16 paid CHS a visit. Thanks to the meticulous planning and the well-orchestrated organization carried out by  Centennial High School's German program, the 11 female students and five male students from the Northern German city of Nienburg ‎stayed with Las Cruces host families while attending classes at CHS. 

    The students, who were accompanied by their teachers Mr. Robert Kerlin and Mr. Thomas Volkhausen‎, were also offered the chance to visit some of New Mexico's landmarks and sights as they also attended Las Cruces' City Council meeting on Oct. 20 and convened with the Las Cruces-Nienburg Sister Cities Foundation. In so doing, the students along with their American counterparts were striving to maintain close ties between Nienburg and Las Cruces, learn from each other's culture and thus add to the foundation of the bridge between the U.S. and Germany well into the future.

    For more information, please contact ‎ Mr. Thomas Volkhausen at

    Albert Schweitzer Schule

    Post Card from ASS-S 2014.pdf
  • Wednesday, October 29, 2014 2:46 PM | Deleted user
    Doña Ana Community College will welcome students and advisers this week from a technological post-secondary school in Lerdo, Durango, Mexico with tours, classes and a meeting with the Las Cruces City Council to help strengthen the long-standing cultural exchange, according to a DACC news release.

    Twenty students and five faculty and staff from Centro de Bachillerato Technológico Industrial y de Servicios Número 4 (CBTis 4) of Ciudad Lerdo, Durango, Mexico, will arrive Wednesday for six days of activities designed to foster understanding of cultures. Students and staff will stay with volunteer families in the Mesilla Valley. Next spring, students, faculty and staff from DACC will visit CBTis 4 and tour the Lerdo area to complete the yearly exchange.

    The guests will visit Gadsden High School to assist students who are studying Spanish on Thursday. Official welcoming ceremonies will also be at the Doña Ana Student Resource (DASR) Commons Area of the East Mesa Campus, featuring comments from Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, DACC President Renay Scott and other dignitaries that evening.

    Over the next four days, the visitors will attend classes, tour local destinations, travel to Albuquerque to tour the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and attend the Las Cruces City Council meeting in Las Cruces Council Chambers at 1 p.m. on Monday. The council is expected to recognize the students as part of the Sister Cities program between Lerdo and Las Cruces.

    This exchange has developed over the past 32 years, the news release stated. The relationship between the two schools precedes the designation of Lerdo as a sister city of the City of Las Cruces by seven years.

    Located 550 miles south of Las Cruces, Ciudad Lerdo has several similarities to the City of the Crosses, according to the news release. Both have agriculture as a major industry and both include festivals celebrating agricultural products including wine. Lerdo sits near the Nazas River which has been compared to the Rio Grande that runs through the Mesilla Valley.

  • Saturday, August 09, 2014 2:56 PM | Deleted user

    Tenth-grader Kathrin from Albert-Schweitzer-Schule (school) in Nienburg/Germany is spending three months in Las Cruces within the framework of the Las Cruces-Nienburg Sister Cities Affiliation.  She arrived on August 5, 2014. She is hosted by a local family whose connections with our organization go back to its very beginnings. Kathrin is attending Centennial High School, Las Cruces’ newest high school, together with one of her host brothers, also a tenth-grader.  Her goals are improving her English language skills, making new friends and getting to know everyday culture as well as some interesting sites  of New Mexico.  Kathrin says:” Everything seems so big to me here: Centennial High School has so many more students from 9th through 12th, grade than my German academic high school from 5th through 12th grade. The pick-ups here look enormous; stores like Walmart seem gigantic.  The  people here are very friendly and open. I’m getting more and more used to understanding and speaking English all day long.”

    Kathrin bearing gifts for her host brothers

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2014 4:56 PM | Deleted user
    Mark you calendar now, for our first Annual Oktoberfest,  Saturday, October 4th, and don't miss out on all the fun and excitement as we celebrate our German Partnership.  Volunteer today to work a shift at either our Bratwurst or Membership Information Booth.  Contact Oktoberfest Committee Volunteer Coordinator Til Zimmerman 575 522-1935 for more information and check "EVENTS" for planning meetings

    2014 Oktoberfest Volunteer Schedule

Address: Post Office Box 2066, Las Cruces, NM 88004-2066

Phone: +1 (575) 644-0177


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