German Exchange Students Experience EHS

Jack Pifer, Views Editor

Traveling over 4000 miles to stay with someone you have never met in an unfamiliar country may seem daunting, but it is a reality for many German exchange students not only at EHS but throughout the country.

EHS students host German exchange students through the German American Partnership Program (GAPP). The program aims for the exchange students to “develop global awareness, build confidence and independence, make lifelong friends and improve their language skills,” as stated on their website.

The GAPP program offers a unique learning experience for students to see outside of America and explore their interests in new ways.

This year, 14 German exchange students will spend about 2 weeks at EHS while living with students at the high school.

Student planning for the exchange started in August 2018, according to senior Rachel Pfile, who is currently hosting German student Nele Leipner.

While in the United States, German students typically spend days at school as well as participate in activities outside of school with EHS students in order to get a taste of American life.

Upon arrival on Oct. 25, the German students attended a welcome dinner. EHS and German students alike dressed up and threw a Halloween party on Oct. 29.

Some of the planned activities are trips to St. Louis and Springfield as well as bowling, Pfile said.

“I’m most excited for the St. Louis trip…” Pfile said. “Nele is even more excited after seeing the Arch on her way from the airport.”

The exchange works both ways. In June 2019 the EHS host students will travel to Germany and be hosted by families of the students they hosted.

German teacher and organizer of GAPP through the school, Levi Antrim said that EHS has an exchange every two years through GAPP.

“I ask questions, and so does she…” Pfile said. “Every day I learn something new from her.”