Cultural Exchange Builds German-American Friendships
This month, from October 7- 23, Mount Si High School families have been hosting 20 students and their teachers from a high school in Gladbeck, Germany. The students were matched with 20 American students, who are currently enrolled in German language classes.
During their visit, the German students attended classes at Mount Si with their host students; presented at the middle schools; took three field trips to sites around the area (Space Needle, Aquarium, Pike Place Market, Museum of Flight, EMP, Safeco Field, etc.), and enjoyed other activities with their host families. Some of the activities during their free time included: a hike to Snow Lake, attending a Mount Si football game, racing through a haunted house, riding the Seattle Wheel, taking a ferry ride, visiting the University of Washington, participating in a family cider press, carving pumpkins, lots of shopping and eating, ice skating, swimming, and surviving paint ball.
When school is out in June, the Mount Si students who hosted are looking forward to traveling to Germany, to be united with their new friends for a 2.5-week reciprocal exchange. They, too, will attend school and have an opportunity to test their language skills while seeing the sights and experiencing home life.
Mount Si High School German Teacher Edina Kecse-Nagy coordinates this opportunity, every few years, with her counterpart from Gladbeck, Teacher Sven Lutzka from Riesener-Gymnasium. They started working together on the program in 2008, with the first exchange taking place in 2009-10. This year’s exchange is the fourth. Consequently, the program has helped foster a greater appreciation for, and global understanding of, others in the world — among many students from both countries over the years.