AVCS hosts German exchange students

CLINTONVILLE Thanks to the efforts of one of its teachers, AuSable Valley Central School will be hosting some special guests for the next few weeks. Fifteen students from an English class at Tellkampfschule in Hanover, Germany arrived on Sept. 25 for a two-week stay in the Adirondacks as part of a program to immerse them in American language and culture. Its an opportunity to experience another culture up close, said Steve Fulton, the Social Studies teacher who proposed participation in the exchange program to school authorities last year. The exchange is made possible with the German American Partnership (GAP) program, which encourages schools in both countries to develop long-lasting partnerships for cultural exchange. While visiting, the German students will share the same lifestyle as their American counteparts, participating in classes at the school and completing homework assignments. If you came here as a tourist, you would not go to high school, said Christa Krie, one of two teachers from Germany that accompnied the students. You would not live with families, you would stay in hotels and just visit the sites, and that makes all the difference. Both Fulton and Krie expect their students to gain a new perspective on a foreign culture as a result of the visit. The European view of America is sometimes stereotyped I find, and this helps them to make up their own mind and see what life is all about, said Krie. They can decide for themselves, not just what is presented by the media. Fulton explained that the German students will be asked to do presentations on German culture in various classes at the school. However, he expects the host students to gain the most exposure through personal interaction with their European friends. This is also an aim of this program to establish long-lasting friendships and relationships between the school, and also between the teenagers, said Krie. Many of her students who have visited other schools still keep in touch with their host families, she said. As part of the program, AVCS students will be invited to come to Germany as early as next spring, though the trip would first have to be approved by the school board, Fulton said. For now, the students share both their similarities and differences. Planned activities involving both the exchange students and their host students will give them plenty of opportunities.

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