Alumni Club Updates & Scholarships 2022
Reunion 2023 and AYF Anniversary Celebration

Going Back – Reunion 2022

Eine Rote mit Zwiebeln, bitte!

They say you can never go back again, but you can!

By Tracy Bartholomew (JYF 84-85)

Hiking at Schluchsee

In 1984-85, I had the great fortune to live and study in Germany through the Junior Year (now Academic Year) in Freiburg program. Like for many who have participated in the program, the year was an incredibly rich and life-changing experience for me. In the many years since then, I have returned to Germany to study and work, and I have become an active member of the AYF Alumni Club, but I never again spent any considerable time in Freiburg … that is, until this past summer, when I attended the Reunion 2022.

What a wonderful program Ulli Struve, the AYF staff, and the current students put together for us! It started off with a group dinner at “Der Kaiser,” where we enjoyed delicious regional specialties, got to meet some current students and alums from different years, and raised many toasts to good company while sharing stories from our respective times in Freiburg.

On the second day, I visited the AYF Program Center and took part in tours of the city and the university organized by the reunion program. It was exciting to see the program thriving in its new headquarters, to become reacquainted with some of my favorite Freiburg spaces and places, and to experience the vitality of the city through changes that had happened since my time there, including the construction of the new university library and the city’s embrace of its famous “Bächle,” the mini-canals that line either side of the pedestrian streets.

Meeting up with JY friends at Kastaniengarten

Back in 1984-85, we were cautioned not to step into the Bächle; otherwise, we would marry a Freiburger. Now, the “Bächle” are used as art galleries, places to enjoy a meal while cooling your wine (and feet) in the water, and spots for children of all ages to race mini sailboats. The wonderful day was capped off with a welcome reception for reunion attendees in the Kastaniengarten, with its breathtaking views of Freiburg and the Münster.

The next day was a free day, which I used to visit the Studentensiedlung in the Sundgauallee, where I had lived as a student. The “Stusie” had not lost its dormitory look or feel, but the city had since built a beautiful park around the lake, complete with beer garden, of course! That evening, the reunion attendees reassembled at the Ganter Biergarten, where we were treated to a stellar performance by the AYF band, the Black Forest Badgers. By this time, new acquaintances were starting to feel like new-found friends, and the stories and libations continued to flow. And I had found my new favorite beer garden in Freiburg.

On the fourth and final day, Ulli led a group of us on a hike around the Schluchsee in the Black Forest, which included a rest stop at Unterkrummenhof, a charming farm restaurant with some amazingly good Eiskaffee. It was the perfect end to a perfect reunion experience, and it was hard to have to bid farewell (again) to Freiburg and the countless wonderful people I have met and continue to meet through my association with the AYF program.

I didn’t think that I could ever recapture the magic and the fun of my junior year abroad, but the reunion was proof that you can go back again. And thank goodness, you can still get “eine Rote mit Zwiebeln” at the Münsterplatz!

Back at the Uni! Where’s the lecture again?