Thursday, October 4, 2012

German-American Partnership Program helps students gain cultural insights

Fourteen German students are expected to arrive in Houston on Monday, Oct. 8, as part of an exchange between two Spring Branch ISD high schools and Gymnasium Ganderkesee, a high school located near Bremen, a major city in northwestern Germany.

In June, a group of Stratford High and Westchester Academy for International students toured Germany for four weeks. That student exchange was led by Westchester Academy teacher and program coordinator Juergen Carl Mueller. He is a host teacher for the 14 German students.

Exchange students are provided invaluable learning experiences by attending foreign schools, living with foreign families, and visiting foreign sites. While in Germany this summer, Stratford High and Westchester Academy students spent two days in Cologne (Köln) and then took a train to Ganderkesee near Bremen where they met their new German host families.

The Spring Branch students spent three weeks attending school at Gymnasium Ganderkesee.  When not in school, the students took field trips that included visits to Hamburg, another major city, and the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven. The students also visited the German capital, Berlin.
Stratford High students who traveled to Germany this summer were Emily Crawford and John Hopes. Westchester Academy students who toured this summer were Theodore Bauer, Mitchell Barry, Genesis Frazar, John Dakota Kelly, Autumn Riehle, Victoria Sarnoff, Alexey Schmidt, and Ryan Wong. Also traveling with the group was Hannah Shutka of Baytown’s Robert E. Lee High School.

The Spring Branch students returned to Houston on July 1. Having experienced German culture, they now have the opportunity to help their German student counterparts to experience and learn more about culture in Houston, in Texas and in the United States.

The German students will be welcomed with a Tuesday morning reception in Mr. Mueller’s class at Westchester Academy. The exchange students will attend classes at Westchester Academy or Stratford High. They will live with area host families.

Group field trips are planned to the Space Center Houston, San Jacinto Battleground, the KUHF studios, the African-American Library at Gregory School, and Rice University. The students will also attend a matinee of “Death of a Salesman” at the Alley Theater, as well as a Ballet Folklórico de Mexico performance at the Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Communications Dept. Intern Kali Venable helped compile this report.