German exchange students visit for next three weeks

Junior+Emily+Cornwell+%28left%29+and+Cathleen+Schmalfuss+%28right%29%2C+the+German+exchange+student+who+Cornwell+hosts%2C+talk+to+each+other+during+lunch.+Both+Cornwell+and+Schmalfuss+hope+to+improve+in+German+and+English%2C+respectively%2C+during+the+exchange.+SARAH+LIU+%2F+PHOTO
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German exchange students visit for next three weeks

Junior Emily Cornwell (left) and Cathleen Schmalfuss (right), the German exchange student who Cornwell hosts, talk to each other during lunch. Both Cornwell and Schmalfuss hope to improve in German and English, respectively, during the exchange. SARAH LIU / PHOTO

Junior Emily Cornwell (left) and Cathleen Schmalfuss (right), the German exchange student who Cornwell hosts, talk to each other during lunch. Both Cornwell and Schmalfuss hope to improve in German and English, respectively, during the exchange. SARAH LIU / PHOTO

Junior Emily Cornwell (left) and Cathleen Schmalfuss (right), the German exchange student who Cornwell hosts, talk to each other during lunch. Both Cornwell and Schmalfuss hope to improve in German and English, respectively, during the exchange. SARAH LIU / PHOTO

Junior Emily Cornwell (left) and Cathleen Schmalfuss (right), the German exchange student who Cornwell hosts, talk to each other during lunch. Both Cornwell and Schmalfuss hope to improve in German and English, respectively, during the exchange. SARAH LIU / PHOTO

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Eighteen exchange students from Hohen Neuendorf, Germany, will be staying with host students from this school for three weeks, according to German teacher Angelika Becker. Becker and the two teachers from Germany, Jana Gerschner and Tatjana Gruebler, said the students will go sightseeing and get to know life in America.

Junior Emily Cornwell is currently hosting one of the 18 exchange students, Cathleen Schmalfuss. Neither Cornwell nor Schmalfuss had done a program like the exchange program before, but both thought that it would be a good experience.

Junior Emily Cornwell (left) and Cathleen Schmalfuss (right), the German exchange student who Cornwell hosts, talk to each other during lunch. Both Cornwell and Schmalfuss hope to improve in German and English, respectively, during the exchange. SARAH LIU / PHOTO

Junior Emily Cornwell (left) and Cathleen Schmalfuss (right), the German exchange student who Cornwell hosts, talk to each other during lunch. Both Cornwell and Schmalfuss hope to improve in German and English, respectively, during the exchange. SARAH LIU / PHOTO

“My friend did the Japanese exchange program, and it looked like lots of fun, so I decided to do it because I take German,” Cornwell said. Schmalfuss said, “We all have English at school in Germany, and I’ve always wanted to come to the USA, and I felt this exchange program was more than just occasions.”

Of all things the students will do during the exchange, Becker, Gerschner and Gruebler agreed that one of the most important aspects of the exchange is the lifelong friendships the students will form with their host families.

“We have people that participated years ago, and they are still in touch with their host families (and) their host siblings,” Becker said.

According to Gerschner, the learning aspect of the exchange is also very important.

“First you concentrate on the differences in the first week, and afterward, we do find out that all of us are just humans, and you’d rather just see what we share, and that’s a great experience,” Gerschner said. “They return and are different people. They gain a lot of self-confidence because they do a lot of presentations, they survive in (a) foreign language, and they really grow in their horizon in a very impressive way.”

Cornwell assumes the exchange program will be a good way to improve on language.

“I hope I improve on my German,” she said.

Becker, Gerschner and Gruebler are also very thankful to the all families involved.

“It’s not easy to open your home to a total stranger and invite them in and make them part of your family,” Becker said. “We really always want to thank the parents and our students here and of course the parents and students in Germany for participating (and) opening their doors.”

Gerschner said, “We are simply happy to be back again.”

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