Intercultural Communication with German Students

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Intercultural Communication with German Students

Photo courtesy of Vector Stock

Photo courtesy of Vector Stock

Photo courtesy of Vector Stock

Photo courtesy of Vector Stock

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On September 13th, a group of German students arrived to stay with host families while they learned about America firsthand. They stayed until October 2nd, taking with them a new knowledge of the United States. During their stay, they visited both historical landmarks and tourist attractions, getting a taste for exactly what life in Wisconsin is like.

One of the German students, Yasmine Köllner, was willing to answer a few questions for me. When asked what the key differences between her school and this one were, she said that “[this is] a bigger school,” with “other learning methods.” She was impressed by the amount of clubs we had, saying “so many sport clubs!” Her favorite thing about the school was “the team spirit during football games, it’s so cool and awesome!” She certainly sounds like she had a good time here in America.

Frau Chow, the German teacher, has been working the German Exchange Program since she’s been working here. She calls it a benefit to her students because “it’s good for [them] to hear ‘real’ people using German.” The students also learn “…what’s popular in Germany, like music and clothes.” Unfortunately, there is a downside. Frau Chow says that “Most of [the American students] are still working on their confidence, so speaking German in front of a native speaker can be intimidating.” Either way, it was an exciting opportunity for both the students and Frau Chow!

James Wicke, one of many people who hosted a German student, said that the experience caused her to look at things differently. She noticed that “our school is so much more casual than what they know. We joke with teachers and create our own projects.” Wicke’s favorite part about hosting the student was the opportunity to get to know a different culture. She noted that, “…It’s not that different from adding another sister. It’s not as life-altering or crazy as I thought it would be, and I really like that.” Wicke also said that having a German student in her classroom “boosted [her] motivation to really learn German.”

Having German students both in the classroom and at home seems to have changed both the German student’s perspective and the host student’s view on how Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance works. Here’s hoping that this article has maybe motivated you to learn a new language or host students from a different country, because culture sharing is a wonderful experience for everyone involved!