The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

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Willkommen in Amerika

FHS students discuss their experiences with the GAPP
Photo by Charlie McWilliams.
Students from the GAPP program pose for a group photo after playing Laser Tag at Laser Flash in Carmel, In.

On Oct. 6, 20 German students and two German teachers landed in Indiana and proceeded to live with FHS students for 19 days as a part of the German-American Partnership Program or GAPP. This event has prompted those participating in the program to give their opinion on it.

Before the German students arrived, junior Lily Tordai, someone who had previously hosted an exchange student, was “excited” to participate in the exchange. Tordai hosted her last exchange student for an entire year.

“Sometimes there are differing interests or opinions,” Tordai said.  “You won’t be absolute best friends, but you grow to have a sibling-like bond.”

After the exchange, junior Johnny Bancroft, another American participant of the almost three-week exchange, says it was a great experience. The GAPP exchange was created by New York’s Goethe-Institut and has been operating since 1972.

 “What I liked about [the exchange] is that we really got to know our exchange students and show them what America’s like.” Bancroft said. “I would definitely recommend it. It’s a great way to help practice your German.” 

Robin Geisinger, one of the two German teachers at FHS, believes the program makes sure every student’s language improves. According to the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, hosting a student or being hosted can help develop leadership skills, self-confidence, and a greater understanding of the complexities of the world.

“Considering the fact that for almost three weeks you are living with a German family and attending a German School, you simply have to use the language,” Geisinger said. Obviously at the beginning this can be a bit overwhelming, however once you’re immersed in the language you just start ‘to swim‘ and you almost forget that you are speaking it!”

In addition to hosting a student, many, like the aforementioned Bancroft, plan to  go to Germany during the summer and stay with the students they hosted. Bancroft has never been to Germany and says it would be his first time

“I’m most excited about getting to experience German culture,”  Bancroft said. “I can’t wait to experience their different systems of school and transportation.”

Geisinger, who will go on the trip along with the students, believes the trip requires willingness to make the effort in order to fully reap the benefits of exchange programs. For GAPP, teachers accompanying students will similarly be hosted by a student or faculty member at the school they visit.

“This program that we have at Fishers High School is of course not for all students, only those who really have a passion for the language and culture and want to be immersed in this atmosphere,” Geisinger said. “ It is not a party trip, so we let students know if that is what they are looking for, this is not the trip experience for them.”

With this first part of the exchange at its end, many still keep excitement for the future exchanges to come.

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Riley McWilliams
Riley McWilliams, Business Manager
Riley is a junior at Fishers High School. He is interested in German, singing, and poetry.

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    Robin R GeisingerOct 31, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Danke…gut geschrieben. Thanks for including not only the teacher’s views but also those of the students.