German students prepare for life overseas

Tyler Corbin, Co-managing Editor

Off to the land of bread, pretzels, soccer, and festivals upon festivals, German students are taking to the skies and over the seas for a three week exchange program in Germany.

This October, Perry will be sending students from the German III, German IV and AP German classes to Germany as part of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) organized by German teacher Beate Westerhouse.

Through the exchange these students will visit the Indianapolis sister city Cologne and stay with a host family for three weeks. Experiencing a one of a kind event for many high schoolers, there they will spend time immersed in German culture and language while there..

One downside to this immersion, however, is that the students must attend school while in Germany.

“I am not fond of it at all,” junior Peyton VanderWeide said in reference to being forced to go to school. “I should be learning German not like math and stuff,” he said, “but we’re going to be learning math and English and French.”

All of this comes on top of the fact that movement by students in many schools is non-existent. According to most of the information given to the travelers, teachers move around the school rather than students. This means meeting new people will be even more difficult even without the language barrier.

And, for people like junior Isaiah von Harten, this is even harder considering his close ties to religion. 

While the city of Cologne is majority Christian, von Harten’s connection to Mormonism means finding a church as well as a host family able to accompany him there will be especially hard. 

“I might just have to take the U-Bahn(the German subway system),” he said.

This only becomes more difficult if the exchangers are required to stay with their host family at all times. Host families who are currently unassigned to the students.

“We don’t even know who our host families are,” said VanderWeide. “ We have not been assigned a family.” 

However, the obvious positives of going to Germany will not be shut out by the German school system. 

“I have ancestry in Germany,” said von Harten, “and I’ve always just felt like it was a beautiful place.” 

And, to any one who chooses to research Germany , this will become abundantly clear. The clear skies, beautiful cathedrals, amazing weather and pristine mountains and lakes showcase not only landscape and architecture but the serenity of Germany in fall.

“It’s going to be amazing,” said VanderWeide. “60 [degrees] the entire time.”

But, more important than the views and weather in Germany, is what the students are doing to prepare for the trip. Meetings with Westerhouse take place hopefully once a week where the students learn more vocabulary and what to expect when they arrive in Germany.

“We’re supposed to have meetings,” said Westerhouse, “but there just isn’t any time.”

Even so, the exchangers could not be more excited to travel to Germany and experience the differences in culture, cuisine and everyday life.