Interview with Katie Henly
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 in the former East. 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!"
Katie and her German friends
Katie at the City Square