Katie, what kind of influence did the GAPP exchange have on your professional and private life?
"The GAPP exchange was an extremely formative experience. For the first time, I was able to use my language skills in real-life situations and challenge myself to pull all the lessons from the classroom in the real world. Living with a German family for two weeks opened my eyes to the cultural differences and similarities between Germany and the United States.
I was so intrigued by the language, culture, geographic diversity and history that I went on to study German at the university level, graduate from St. Olaf College with a BA in German Studies. I lived over three and a half years in Germany, including one year as a Fulbright grantee. I have experienced so many different sides to the country and it all stems from my time as a GAPP exchange student in high school.
I currently work as the Germany Programs Coordinator at Intercultural Student Experiences, a Minnesota based non-profit. The GAPP exchange has truly come full circle and I couldn’t be more grateful!"
With which arguments would you encourage young people to participate in a GAPP exchange?
"There is only so much a student can learn in the German language classroom. In today’s globalized world, experiencing the country first-hand is paramount. Though challenging, getting out of one’s comfort zone to experience all that Germany has to offer will leave students with no regrets. The opportunity to live with a German family for two weeks is one that should not be passed up. Lifelong memories and friendships await!"