Trading Spaces German edition


Nicole Skalicky

OHS students welcome their German partners to the U.S.

Bella Anderson, Writer

There is a lot more German spoken in the halls of Owatonna High School this month. This year marks the 25th German- American exchange trip. Every other year students at OHS participate in the GAPP program (German American Partnership Program). This exchange pairs OHS students up with students from Hohenstaufen Gymnasium (HoGy, a high school in Kaiserslautern, Germany, based on gender and overall personality. Students who meet requirements such as at least level one and two of German and are good examples of students can apply for this exchange. After spending three weeks in Göppingen this summer staying with their families and attending school, OHS students are now hosting their exchange partner here in Owatonna for three weeks.

Over the summer Senior Annika Kilanowski participated in the GAPP trip when she was asked about the trip she said, “It’s not too long, not an entire year so you don’t have that panic of spending so much time away from your family. But it’s just enough that you get to actually have a good experience there and not just be a tourist.”

Although three weeks may not seem like a long time, there are plenty of trips and tours planned for the German students to experience our culture. OHS German teacher Frau (Ms.) Suzanne Jokela said, “They’re going to attend class with their partner, we have a few social events and some educational events… We’re going to stay at Camp Miller in Sturgeon Lake then drive up to Duluth to get an outdoor educational experience.”

Students are taking a trip to Mall of America as well as hosting small events. As part of the exchange, HoGy students will be attending classes with their OHS student partners, This will allow the German students to experience our school and the American school system. When asked about what she thought of our classes Patricia Weber said, “They’re different than Germany, you have a lot of classes that go into the artistic way, we don’t have that sadly. We just have the core classes.” This year, 30 American and German students participated in the exchange, students from both countries have learned so much about different cultures and this experience has really enriched their lives.

Owatonna students took in many tourist sights during their trip. Senior Viviana Cantu said, “I went to a parade that showed different eras of Germany’s history, it was so cool to see that. We also went to Neuschwanstein Castle.”

There are a few reasons to participate in an exchange, German students Tina Wagner and Leyla Baybüyük said, “ Better English of course, more experience with people and another culture.”

For future trips, students can get more information on how and when to apply from Frau Jokela, the OHS German teacher.