A first step in building a German-American partnership between both schools
Our school used to be an American High School. Our name patron is American, English is one of our profiles – so an exchange with Americans seems only natural. But we don’t always have to go as far as Maine (as we did in October 2015). We can meet Americans next door. And it’s also less expensive.
That’s why we started the homestay program with John F. Kennedy School. Our students – especially students of the English class want to practice their English in an authentic context. The same is true for American JFK students and their German skills.
From March 13th to March 17th 2017 students of grade 9.2 spent a week with students of JFK School and here is what they say about it:
The homestay program was a great experience for me. I didn’t have high expectations but it was really fun with the students from JFK. They told us a lot of the way they live. For example, the parents of some students work for the embassy so they have to move to another country after a couple of years.
They have a really interesting symbolic way to indicate that you have moved on from Elementary School and are now in High School: They have a bridge that leads from the Elementary School building to the High School building, and you only cross it once in your lifetime.
I think it was pretty interesting to see how different the lessons were. For example I was in a Physics lesson and the first thing the teacher asked was what the students wanted him to explain again. So he took a whole lesson to just go over the things they did in the last lesson. He was really into the students understanding what he says but also what they say. It was interesting to see how the teacher worked with the students. It seemed more free and relaxed.
It was a good experience and we earned a few more friendly friends.
They speak in all lessons English except for German class. Their pronunciation sounds like that of real English speaker. But of course they are native English speakers. Every person that I had contact with was born in America.
I would like to do more after school together and I would like to participate in their lessons. (...) Maybe we can do the exchange for 2 weeks or start cooking a little bit earlier so that everyone can participate. It is also a good idea to cook German and American food and have mixed groups. I had fun and would participate again…
I also liked JFK School because it was bigger, cleaner, prettier than our school. It is well organized and has a better structure in total. But I liked the people the most because they were much friendlier than most students at our school (…) and it feels like the teachers really care about their students’ school career.
I would also like to spend more free time together, perhaps on weekends. For example my group will meet soon to go to the cinema to watch a movie together which in my opinion is very nice.
The thing I loved most was the cooking part in the end, because we had a lot fun and the food was very tasty. After the exchange I learned that my English is not bad but I have to learn so much more to speak as well as they do.