The GAPP (German American Partnership Program) students are counting down the days until they leave for Germany, 17 days until they go.
The GAPP Program was started 10 years ago by BHS German Teacher Michele Strassburg and Rigina Lönenburg, who is one of the teachers in Germany.
““We started the program to give students the experience of what it’s like to do an exchange program and to give the students another way to broaden their German skills,” said Strassburg. “So far we have done 6 partnerships and we usually try to get 15 kids to go, but this year we have 19 students going.”
This past October 2011 the German students came to America. For most it was their first time, they were here for 3 weeks and the GAPP kids had fun things planned for them to do so the German kids could get a sense of the American Lifestyle.
“When the german kids were here, we tried to go to a zoo, we took the up to Milacs Lake and we stayed in the casino hotel, but we didn’t go into the casino,” said Senior Jarrod Larson, “I took my german partner to the renaissance fair, and to MOA. I also took my german partner to Valleyscare and it was so much fun.”
“I took my German partner, Alex, to an apple orchard, MOA, the Homecoming football game and dance, sky zone and a bunch of other things,” said Junior Taylor Strege. “We also had an American vs. German soccer game and well lets just say that the American’s lost..badly.”
With just under 20 days until the BHS students leave for Germany, students are starting to realize just how real the trip is getting.
“As of right now I’m not prepared at all,” said Junior Gabrielle Thompson. “I’ve have barely started packing my stuff. It’s kind of scary how fast it’s coming up, but I’m super excited to go to Germany.”
Being a part of an exchange program the students get to learn a lot and if faced with the chance to do it again, some said they would.
“My German speaking skills have expanded so much. When the Germans were here, we got so much feedback. If our word order or whatever was wrong they would instantly correct us,” said Strege. “I’ve learned how to be very patient, but if I’m able to do an exchange program again. I’m going to do it.”