Over two weeks they were immersed in German culture attending school, living with host families, visiting historical sites, and tasting German food.
“That first time abroad experience is so eye opening,” Norris said. “You see their minds opening up and gaining confidence.” She said one student hardly talked throughout the school year, and while in Germany he really came out of his shell.
Among the sites the students visited were Munster, Cologne, and Bremerhaven. They went to the German Emigration museum where some students traced their ancestry, took a bicycle tour of Berlin, and went to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp.
“A lot of them had interest in Holocaust history before they went,” Norris said. “The first time you witness something like that…it left a big impression on them.”
While the students learned about German history and got to experience a new country, there were other benefits to taking the group overseas. For one, they got to try out the German they’d learned in class on people who grew up speaking the language.
“For them to actually be someplace where they hear that language that they’ve been learning all around them, they realize people really do speak this someplace,” Norris said. “It was an opportunity to practice what they learned in class.”
Not only did the students get to try carrying on a conversation in German, taking a class of students from the United States helped to strengthen the 30-year tie Edgewood High School has with the German exchange program.
- taken from the HTO education blog