German exchange students bring a message to OHS

Photos by Sierra Uko and Tara Vogler.

OHS invited several students from Germany to stay with OHS families and spread a special message.

Seventeen students and two teachers from Closterschule school in Germany arrived at OHS on Feb. 29. They participate in the exchange, organized by the German American Partnership Program, to improve their spoken English and experience a different lifestyle.

“They explore the American culture and just see how life is different here than it is in Germany,” German Culture Society member Reiner Lorenz (11) said.

The OHS German teachers accepted the large number of exchange students, but it turned out that there were not enough OHS families willing to host them. Some hosts had to double up to accommodate all of the exchange students.

“A lot of people in German… are hosting two or more people,” German II student Thomas Gleiforst (10) said.

One of those students is Lorenz, whose family has a large interest in German culture.

“My whole family speaks German every day, so [the students] feel comfortable around us,” Lorenz said.

While all of the foreign students are staying with OHS German students, German teacher Ms. Caryn Miller said that German I and II do not give OHS students enough information and practice to speak German in the real world. Instead, the German students must have a good understanding of English to communicate during their trip. Miller said that students have to pass English tests for entry into secondary schools in Germany.

On March 3, the German students attended the “#IAmNotALabel” forum held in the library during Academic Networking Period. According to attendee David Chopin (12), the forum was about the labels people apply to each other and how they can be good or bad.

“They make an observation and base their thoughts about people on that,” Chopin said.

The German exchange students contributed to the conversation by comparing and contrasting the labels commonly seen here in America with the ones that prevail in Germany.

The exchange students will be here until March 11, after which they will return to Germany.