Davenport schools host German exchange students

Tyler Newman, Reporter

The German exchange program is an opportunity for students to learn about Germany by going on an interesting experience. On the trip, students get see a new part of the world, experience german language up close, and stay with a german family. Students also get to try new foods, put their german skills to the test, and even compete in robotics competitions.

Students can participate in the exchange program by either being apart of GAPP (German American Partnership Program) or being involved in the robotics classes at West. Both trips include a 17-day stay in Germany and require at least two years of German language classes. The overall cost for one student is between $1800 and $2400.  

The first trip is a partnership between Davenport Schools and Rock Island Schools. This includes a german family hosting you in Germany, and the student and their family will host his/her exchange partner back in the U.S. so both students can experience and learn the cultural differences of the two countries.

Melissa Rump
“We first arrived in Berlin. We were there for about 3 days. Then we went to Stuttgart which is where we met our German exchange partners,” Swanson said.

Both students are required to make a presentation about his/her perspective country. The project is a piece of knowledge and understanding that both students can share with people about their experiences in the countries they spent time in.The trip with robotics takes place in, is held in Kaiserslautern, Germany. West’s robotics teams have went there to compete in robotics competitions. They are also planning participate in competitions there in the spring of 2020.

Although this german exchange trip is for robotics students, they still have to complete two years of german. With that students also have to take and complete the First Tech Challenge team for robotics and take Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), both programs are offered at West.  Interested students must be willing to stay with a German family and host them back in the U.S. similar to GAPP.

The first competition is both West High School and the Heinrich Heine Gymnasium in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The two schools worked with MINT(Mathematik, Informatik, Naturwissenschaft, und Technik). This is the same as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

German teacher Craig Kohl recommends the trip for any german student as it’s a very limited opportunity.

“I would recommend it because it would open your eyes to see how another culture is and see how the germans are different than we are, but alike in many ways,” Kohl said. “It allows you to see how the world’s a little different other than growing up in Iowa.”

Junior Kyle Swanson went on the GAPP German Exchange trip and it was a trip he wouldn’t forget.

“My favorite part about the trip was going to places and experiencing how they do things differently, how they eat or the way they talk,” Swanson said.

Junior Nicholas Hendley went on the robotics trip to Kaiserslautern, Germany and experienced a whole new culture.

Melissa Rump
Junior Nick Hendley participated in the GAPP German Foreign Exchange Trip. The trip was through robotics and was in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

“It was very cool to have it be my first time outside the U.S so I got to see a whole new part of the world. Getting to meet all of the new people and how they have different cultural backgrounds, like in many ways we’re a lot similar from them,” Hendley said. “I definitely had a lot of good, memorable experiences from hanging out with the people over there.”

Hendley would also recommend the trip to anyone interested in German and robotics.

“Just be open to experiencing new things. I think that’s part of going on a trip like that. As you really get to experience a whole new world,” Hendley said. “When you go there, don’t try to be closed-off. When you get the chance to try something over there, do it.”