The Echo

German students to come to Park

Exchange program fosters new experiences

Junior+Sara+Anderson+sits+next+to+her+host+sister+Paula+and+her+friend+Patricia+as+they+take+a+boat+tour+through+Heidelberg%2C+Germany+June%2C+10.+Park+students+spent+3+weeks+in+Germany+living+with+their+host+families+and+they+will+spend+two+weeks+at+Park+this+coming+January.+
Junior Sara Anderson sits next to her host sister Paula and her friend Patricia as they take a boat tour through Heidelberg, Germany June, 10. Park students spent 3 weeks in Germany living with their host families and they will spend two weeks at Park this coming January.

Junior Sara Anderson sits next to her host sister Paula and her friend Patricia as they take a boat tour through Heidelberg, Germany June, 10. Park students spent 3 weeks in Germany living with their host families and they will spend two weeks at Park this coming January.

Grace Farley

Grace Farley

Junior Sara Anderson sits next to her host sister Paula and her friend Patricia as they take a boat tour through Heidelberg, Germany June, 10. Park students spent 3 weeks in Germany living with their host families and they will spend two weeks at Park this coming January.

Devin Raynor and Sophie Yarosh

When senior Ethan Rickert reflected on his experience last summer in Germany, he said he chose to participate in the German exchange program because of his passion for German culture.

“I love German culture and I wanted to learn more about it,” Rickert said. “I was in the German class. I wanted to get better at speaking the German language and have fun in Germany.”

According to German teacher Shari Fox, the German exchange program at Park is part of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP), a high school exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the German Foreign Office.

“Since 2012, we’ve had a partnership — it’s called the GAPP,” Fox said. “The goal is not just for students to experience being in another city in another country, but also what it’s like to go to school in Germany or America.”

Fox said the program alternates each year, sending Park students to Germany and German students to Park.

“Last year, I brought a group of 16 kids to Germany, and they stayed with kids their age in families and went to school with those teenagers. Now those teenagers are coming here in the end of January and beginning of February for two weeks to see what school is like here and see what the life of a teenager in Minnesota looks like.”

According to Fox, the German exchange students will go on four field trips while they are in Minnesota. Fox said she will take them to see the Capitol and shop on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, visit the Minnesota History Center and the James J. Hill House, visit the Mill City Museum and Uptown and go ice fishing on Lake Minnetonka.

Rickert said he is interested to see the German students’ reaction to contrasts between the United States and Germany.

“I’m excited for seeing their reactions to normal-day things to us that they don’t normally do and understanding how different two countries can actually be,” Rickert said.

According to Rickert, he is the only student hosting two German exchange students. Rickert said he plans to help his host-siblings experience daily American life.

“Some things I plan on doing are, if possible, taking them to Chicago for a ‘real American’ road trip, go bowling one day, eat American food, go to art museums — stuff that you would do on a day-to-day basis that you wouldn’t think about doing,” Rickert said.

The German exchange students will arrive in Minnesota Jan. 25 and leave Feb. 9.

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German students to come to Park