Impact: USA to Germany, 2017 "Of all my high school experiences, this is by far my favorite!"

As the first of our entries in this section, we are featuring a close-up look at Isaiah's GAPP experience.
Relive Isaiha's 3 week long summer adventure at his school's sister school in Varel, Lower Saxony. 

"I have always wanted to travel from a young age. However, I never actually had the opportunity to travel out of the United States before this," is what Isaiah from Jackson, MI, introduces his report on the experiences he brought home from his GAPP exchange to Germany with. 

A learning experience

The partnerships between German and American schools along with the exchanges in the GAPP mold, provide students with an adventure and new connections which they can cherish for their whole lives. “During the foreign exchange program, I had the best experience of my life,” Isaiah writes. While befriending peers from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, both sides learn a lot about each other, their partner’s culture, and, of course, the many different shades of education around the world. Isaiah, too, has gained valuable insights into the educational system of his partner country: “I learned many new things, for example students in our partner school are required to take English and French!"  The classes in Germany are very different compared to ours here in America. Not only do they get out of school earlier, the students often have more homework than we do. […] Many of the students lived close by each other, making it convenient to hang out outside of school.”

A social experience

Even at times in which the German language level posed some difficulties to socializing with other teenagers, there were always ways which enabled Isaiaha to get in touch with them. A major way was, of course, playing soccer together: “Playing soccer while not being able to speak German fluently had been easier than I thought. This is because soccer is the most dominant sport in the world, and even if someone cannot speak a certain language, they can still meet people through that sport.”
Besides all new sports acquaintances, the most important bond formed between Isaiha and his host brother: My host brother is like an actual brother of mine, and I honestly cannot wait until he comes to Jackson in September,” Isaiha wrote. “When I first met my host brother, I had been very surprised about how well his English was. Of course there were a few things he misunderstood such as how to use the words “of” and “from” but it was still fun to be a ‘temporary English teacher’. […] Of all my high school experiences, this is by far my favorite.”
 

Of all my high school experiences, this is by far my favorite! I met many unique people from the exchange.



A life-changing experience

And not only is the GAPP exchange experience a chance to make new friends across the ocean and learn a foreign language, but it can also provide invaluable insights on the participants’ own life goals for themselves and lead the way to a fruitful, enriching, and worldly future. Isiaha has found the road he wants to take on his way to college as well: “I will be a senior in high school this year, and I have always wondered what I will do in college. However, because I was given this amazing opportunity to finally see more of the world, I have decided that I want to major in international business and maybe minor in a foreign language. Many people have told me that the price of college in Europe is free or somewhat reduced compared to America. Upon travelling to Europe and seeing for myself, I realized it is actually true!"

I may consider going to college in Germany.