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German Experience Life in America


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Jan Werner went to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. “I liked the tigers the best,” Werner said. Kiel has a zoo but is not a big as the Henry Doorly Zoo.

Every two years, the German program hosts students from Gymnasium Wellingdorf in Kiel, Germany. The Germans spent Sept. 30 through Oct. 20 with their American host students and attending school. They participated in other activities while they were in Gretna and one of the activities includes visiting the middle and elementary schools.

“The primary school and middle school were interesting,”  German exchange student Jan Werner said. “The biggest difference was the way they teach.”

Along with visiting the elementary and middle schools, the exchange students also visited the capitol building in Lincoln. They also were able to go to different places on the weekends with their host families.

“I went to the Henry Doorly Zoo with my host family,” Werner said. “My favorite part was the tigers.”

The exchange would not work without the host students. One of the roles of a host student is to help acclimate the Germans to American culture. It also helped set up connections for the American students that will visit Germany next summer. 

“It was a lot of fun to meet new people and become close to people you’ve never met before,” senior Katelyn Koke said. 

Host students must make sure they are including their German in their daily routine. They must also make sure their German does not get homesick either.

“Seeing my daily routine from a different perspective was fun,” Koke said. “Watching him eat new foods was hilarious.”

Students who are interested in hosting should know how different it might be. After a while, it will become easier once the host and exchange students get to know each other better.

“I think that people should know how it can be a little awkward at first,” sophomore Grace Pemberton said. “After a week it seems like you’ve been friends with them your whole life.”

After Oct. 20, the Germans went to Washington D.C. for the last part of their exchange in America. Next summer, students from GHS will go to Berlin for a few days and then journey to Kiel, Germany to be an exchange student during the summer.

Jan Werner visited the World’s Largest Porch Swing in Hebron, Nebraska. This was one of the places he visited while in Nebraska. He also went on a combine ride while the corn was being harvested.