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Ready, Set, Deutsch©️ GAPP / B. Ludewig

News and Impact

GAPP Alums: We want to hear your story!

GAPP alum aufruf © Colourbox GAPP alumni can be found all over the U.S. and Germany! Since 1972, GAPP has supported more than 400,000 students to go on exchange trips to Germany or the United States. That's an amazing amount of experiences, encounters, and stories that have led to lifelong growth and friendships! 

GAPP would like to hear about the experiences, places, and people from the time of your stay abroad that made a lasting impression on you. We want to know how your exchange influenced you on a personal and professional level. 

If you are a GAPP alum and would like to share your story, please contact Sandra Niggemann (Sandra.Niggemann.extern@goethe.de). We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Success Stories

Meet some of our GAPP alumni and see how a short-term high school exchange has changed their lives and influenced the paths they have taken.

If you participated in a GAPP exchange and you would like us to tell your story, please contact us at gapp@goethe.de. We might feature your story here on our website or on Facebook!

GAPP - Alumni Isaiah (Zugspitze) Photo (detail) © I. Cram "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," writes Isaiah Cram from Jackson, MI, about his 3-week GAPP trip to Germany. Read about Isaiah's experiences in Germany and how he thinks the exchange has changed his life. Read more

Foto Katie Henley Foto: Goethe-Institut Katie Henly currently works as the Program Coordinator for Germany at Intercultural Student Experiences, a Minnesota based non-profit, helping German language teachers across the country plan their exchange trips to Germany. Read more

Foto Cari Schmitz Foto: Goethe-Institut Cari Schmitz participated in a GAPP exchange in 2005. Now she is interning at a company in Einbeck in Germany, before starting her Ph.D. Read more


GAPP in the news

Anne Frank High School and Warren Central High School receive award for virtual exchange project

“How to avoid the culture shock: The teenager's guide dealing with culture, history, school life and every day life in Germany and the USA” is the title of the virtual project that was created during the German-American Virtual Exchange program between the schools in Bowling Green, KY, and Werne, North Rhine-Westphalia, and awarded a prize in a competition by Pädagogischer Austauschdienst of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs.

05/03/2021, Neue Presse Coburg: "Coburg meets Toledo: New ways for student exchange"

Visiting the American partner city live? Currently unthinkable! The Casimirianums Gymnasium in Coburg and Maumee High School in Toledo, OH, however, has found a way to let the tenth graders travel through GAVE (German-American Virtual Exchange). "Of course, we would all have preferred to have flown to Toledo in real life and had a look at the favorite places of our partner students in person," admits teacher Jan Bierweiler. But with the virtual exchange they have found a good alternative "that gives us the chance to get to know each other despite all adversities."

09/21/2019, Weau News: "Memorial High School celebrates 25 years of German American Partnership Program"

Memorial High School is celebrating 25 years of their German American Partnership Program - For 25 years, students at Memorial High School have been welcoming German students from Gustav-Heinemann Schule in Russelheim, Germany into their homes.

09/19/2019, The Patriot Ledger: "At 85, Canton teacher leads 42nd German exchange program"

When Elsa Nicolovius started a Canton student exchange program with Germany 42 years ago, she never dreamed she'd still be leading it at age 85. - She had led the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) between Canton and Bocholt Germany for the past 42 years. For her it is a responsiblity she does not want to give up until she has trained a replacement teacher. Even though she retired three years ago from teaching at the high school, she still continues to lead the exchange program.

09/17/2019, Kingsport Times: "Berlin trip makes me realize we could learn a few things from the Germans"

Kristin Thorneloe is talking about her exchange program with the German American Partnership Program. She's never been to Europe before and went this summer for a three-week-long exchange to Berlin. She is talking about her daily life and experience with her host family and hr host sister Olivia. She learned so much about Germany and also about herself and other people.

09/15/2019, The Hutchinson News: "German students visit Seaman in annual exchange program"

Twelve students from the Gymnasium Philippinum school in Marburg, Germany, are spending two weeks at Seaman High School, in Tobeka (Kansas), learning what it is like to be an American student. The exchange between Seaman and the Gymansium in Marburg started in 1992 and is part of the German American partnership program.

14.08.19, Batesville Herald Tribune: "German and American Students Connect"

Eine Menge Spaß, die Verbesserung der eigenen Deutschkenntnisse und das Kennenlernen einer anderen Kultur - das erhofften sich die 25 Schüler*innen der Batesville High School in Indiana, als sie sich zum Schüleraustausch an ihre Partnerschule in Friedrichshafen aufmachten. Vor allem die kleinen Dinge, wie das gemeinsame Einkaufen im Supermarkt, Abendessen mit der Gastfamilie und die gemeinsamen Insider-Witze machten den Austausch so unvergesslich. Ihre Lehrer*innen freuen sich, dass ihre Schüler*innen zum globalen Denken angeregt wurden und somit ihren Horizont erweitert haben.


29.07.19, the telegraph: "Alton Students spend three weeks in Germany"

Seit 36 Jahren besteht nun schon die GAPP- Schulpartnerschaft zwischen der Alton High School (IL) und dem Helene Lange Gymnasium in Markgroeningen. Die 14 amerikanischen Schüler*innen waren nicht nur begeistert von der Herzlichkeit ihrer deutschen Gastfamilien, der Möglichkeit, ihre Deutschkenntnisse im realen Alltag anzuwenden und historische Orte zu besuchen, sondern sie erhielten auch völlig neue Einblicke in die Bereiche Klimaschutz und öffentlicher Transport. Die Erkenntnis, dass sie mehr mit den deutschen Schüler*innen gemeinsam haben, als dass sie trennt, ist vielleicht einer der größten Erfolge ihres GAPP Austausches.

05/03/19, GoUpstate.com: "Boiling Springs High students get a taste of German culture"

Boiling Springs High students get a taste of German culture" Some 20 students from Boiling Springs High School (SC), went to visit their German partner school Ergolding High School. The teachers as well as the students themselves say that this trip has made them more self-confident and has allowed them to discover Germany's culture first-hand. Students realized that stepping out of one’s comfort zone doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

04/25/2019 Metea Media: "German Students Experience the Customs of American Schools"

Students from Bammental High School in Germany went on a GAPP exchange to visit their American partner school, Metea Valley High School (IL), in Aurora. Twenty days of American daily (school) life enabled students to find out more about the relationship between American teachers and students and to develop more confidence in using the English language. Read more about the differences and similarities that the German students came across between American and German school life.

04/23/19, Connect FM: "German students come to Brockway for a month"

As part of a GAPP exchange, 15 student and their two teachers from the Groetefend Gymnasium (High School) in Hannoversch Muenden (Germany) visited Borckway High School (PA) for a month. This school partnership was established in 2011. The American students visit their German partners this summer. The German exchange students were particularly looking forward to discovering cultural differences between the U.S. and their own culture. Connect FM interviewed the German students Johanna, Max, Hannah and Marike as well as the American GAPP teacher Eric.

04/19/2019 Vermillion Plain Talk: "An Eye-Opening Experience"

As part of a GAPP exchange, 16 students and their two teachers from Dietrich Bonhoeffer High School in Ratingen (Germany) visited their American partner school, Vermillion High School, in South Dakota in April. During their two-week stay, the students not only experienced daily American school life, but they also had the chance to learn more about the past of their town's sister city and meet Vermillion's mayor. The teachers consider this exchange the best opportunity for their students to get first-hand experience with American culture and to compare it to their own. A cultural experience of a very special kind for the Germans was attending the VHS prom.

04/17/19, Republic-Times: "German Students Experience America"

Escorted by the Columbia Police Dept. and Columbia Fire Dept. The 25 exchange students from Gedern High School in Germany arrived at their GAPP partner school, Columbia High School, in Columbia at the end of March this year. This year marks the schools' 26th anniversary of their partnership. Through the years they have visited each other every other year, with the Germans visting in odd-numbered years and the Americans in even-numbered years. Read more about how different students describe the highlights of their trip to the U.S.

04/12/2019, The Times Post: "Pendleton Heights top 10 percent, Week 2"

Pendleton Heights High School ranks the top 35 students of this year's class. Among those 10 percent there are two former GAPP participants ranked 25 and 27 of the Class of 2019. Read more about their results and future plans after graduation.

09/06/2018, Rutland Herald: "RHS hosts German exchange students, teachers"

The RHS has already hosted different student exchanges but now for the first time togehter with a german partner High School. On both sides the teachers in charge agree: The exchange is a live-changing experience for their students. This impression is reinforced by the statements of the students.

08/18/2018, Las Cruces Sun News: "Friendships formed through youth exchange program"

The cities of  Las Cruces and Nienburg will be celebrating 25 years of sisterhood this year. But due to the German American Partnership Program the relationship already lasts  for 31  years now. Therefore the exchange is by now entering its second generation,  which is pretty exciting for everyone.

09/20/2018, WQOW TV News 18: "20 German students learning at North High School"

Twenty german students and their two teachers are currently staying at Eau Claire North High School due to a GAPP exchange. The german students are really enjoying their time especially the various sports offers.

09/20/2018, Vermillion Plaintalk: "Don't Miss Oktoberfest Next Weekend In Vermillion"

It's time for Vermillions annually  Oktoberfest! This isn't just a great celebration for the whole community but also a important activity for the VHS German Club whose students are taking part in the German American Partnership Program. This Year they will also be celebrating the "Year of German-American-Friendship" (Deutschlandjahr USA).

09/25/2018 The Chattanoogan: "SMMHS German Exchange Students Arrive In Chattanooga Sunday"

On the 2nd of October the Signal Mountain Middle High School, Chattanooga,  and  the Beisenkamp Gymnasium from Hamm in Germany will start another one of their GAPP-exchanges. For the first time the german principal will be visiting as well. Three of her four children took part in a GAPP-exchange already. The german guests will stay until October 25th and a lot of exciting activities in the area are planned for them.

10/02/2018, Herald & Review: "Art of language: German, Sangamon Valley students learn through exchange program"

Since 12 years the Sangamon Valley High School takes part in  GAPP-exchanges with Germany. Right now a group of 22 German students is staying at Niantic. German and Spanish Teacher Joe Scarnavino, who is organizing the exchange, is proud that his small school is able to offer this opportunity, as he was sure from the very beginning, that the German skills of his students would improve dramatically if they would get to talk and live with German native speakers during the exchange.

10/04/2018, Der Tagesspiegel: „Deutschlandjahr USA“ 2019 Free spirit und free markets

On the October 03, the Year of German-American Friendship was kicked off in Washington. The Goethe-Institut is responsible for the  project management. President Klaus-Dieter Lehmann says: "The transatlantic relations are a central topic in my life." In this context, projects like TOP and GAPP should be expanded, as they enable young people to take part in the transatlantic cultural exchange.

10/7/2018, Herald and News: "Celebrating German culture: Mazama High School offers only German language program in the region"

Mazama High School is the only school in the Klamath Baisin, and one of few in Oregon in general, that is offering a German language program. Last week this fact was celebrated at the anual Oktoberfest celebration by 100 language students and their teacher Kathleen Todd. “The kids really get into it,” Todd said. “It is so important to learn about a different culture so we are not so ethnocentric. When you study a foreign language, it’s important to learn the history of the people who speak it.!"

10/1/2018, The Kirkwood Call: "Bridging the GAPP"

"You create friendships, and it doesn’t matter where you come from because we’re the same. That’s the most important thing I’ve learned.",  that's how Helin Derin from Germany, who is currently taking part in a exchange with the Kirkwood High School in Missouri, describes her GAPP-experience.

10/11/2018, Laredo Morning Times: "German, JHS students bridge cultural GAPP"

4,484-miles away from home a group of 18 students from Uelzen in Germany is spending most of October at the Jacksonville High School, Illinois, due to an GAPP-exchange. Besides the improvement of his students language skills the English teacher from Uelzen, Daniel Mettjes, is hoping that his students can broaden their horizons and will be able to learn that both countries have pros and cons.

10/12/2018, C&G Newspapers: "German Exchange Program forms friendships at Walled Lake Northern"

The Walled Lake Northern High School has been taking part in the German American Partnership Program for 14 years now. Since then the interest in the exchange has more than doubled. German Teacher Kaye Lynn Mazurek from the WLNHS expresses that the exchange is a integral part of the school as it allwos the class room learning to come alive.

10/15/2018, Dalton Public School News: "Dalton High School Hosts German Friends for Exchange Experience"

Just one visit can change a lot! When DHS German teacher Ava Wyatt visited the town of Elbingerode, Germany, in 1996 and contacted Gymnasium Hochharz, she probably never imagined what an impact her actions would have. Though the partner school has changed to the Gerhart Hauptman Gymnasium, DHS can already look back on a 22 year long history of German exchanges.

10/16/2018, Ostthüringer Zeitung: "Zeulenroda-Triebes students in the U.S."

Eight students of the Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium from Zeulenroda-Triebes set off to Mineral Wells in Texas to disover the "american way of life". They experienced that a lot of  clichés really apply but also faced some surprises.

10/18/18, Williston Herald: "Exchange program forges a link across oceans"

For 31 years now, every fall the town of Williston welcomes a group of students and chaperones from Germany. The students themselves describe their stay as amazing, as they were able to learn a lot about american culture and explored some interesting places, for example the Yellowstone National Park.

10/18/18, Der Weseler: "Spirit of time of the town partnership between Wesel and Hagerstown/USA"

The student exchange between the two communities of Wesel (Germany) and Hagerstown (U.S.) started as far back as the 1950s. This year, thanks to the prize money of the Steuben-Schurz-Society, which values the ongoing commitment of both communities to the transatlantic relationship, the students devoloped a bilingual brochure and a cinematic documentation during a summer workshop.

10/26/18, Las Cruces Sun News: "Students from Nienburg Germany visit Las Cruces as part of sister cities exchange"

The GAPP-exchange between Las Cruces and Nienburg has already been around for 31 years now. It lead to the establishment of a city-partnership between the two communities, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. 18 students from Germany were hosted in Las Cruces during the last month and now the american students are looking forward to visit their German friends in May 2019.

10/30/18, centraljersey.com: "NBTHS students willkommen German counterparts"

15 students from the Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium in Pforzheim, Germany, are currently visiting North Brunswick Township High School due to a GAPP-exchange. During the stay they are discovering a lot of differences between the countries. One of the most surprising things for them is that water is free in U.S. restaurants.

11/2/18, Montana Standard: "Exchange program creates lasting connections between Butte and Germany"

When Sydney Miller started to take german classes in high school she could never have imagined what an impact this decision would have on her life. Now eleven years later she is married to her former german exchange partner and is living in Germany with him and their two sons. This is just one of the many stories that started with Buttes High School passionate German teacher Wendy Schoonen, who is organizing a GAPP-exchange to the partner city of Altensteig in the Black Forest every year.