Kommen Sie mit?


Abigail Behm, Pinnacle Faculty/Staff Editor

The question from German three and German four students of Hamburg Area High School is ‘Kommen Sie mit?’ This translates from German to ‘Are you coming with us?’ and perfectly summarizes the pioneering attitude of the determined teachers and students to forge ahead in new and uncharted territory. Last year, a small exchange was enacted with nine students and two teachers from a partner school in Germany. This year, a full exchange is taking place, with around 14 German students staying here in Hamburg Area and 11 Hamburg students staying in Germany for just under two weeks.

Spearheaded by Mrs. McCarthy-Wright and Mrs. Stevens, Hamburg’s participation in the GAPP program is taking flight. “It is great that the German government supports [exchanges] like this,” Mrs. McCarthy-Wright states. The critical element is that of not only an exchange of students but an exchange of cultures. In spending nearly two weeks in another country with a trusted family, each student, German or American, experiences total cultural immersion. This immersion is often crucial to the development of the studied language and is, therefore, a real-life application of education in addition to being a fantastic experience.

Mrs. McCarthy-Wright emphasizes that “it is always important to see the bigger picture.” In completing an exchange, both students and teachers are able to gain a wealth of new experiences from which to draw. Instead of looking at a map and having an abstract understanding of the German nation, connections can be drawn to certain areas, certain experiences. The people are no longer a separate and distant concept, but a living, breathing society which was experiences. Mrs. McCarthy-Wright adds that “if you look at a map, it’s all within reach.” Whether that be with the help of a government program such as GAPP or personal funds, travel is possible, and the reason maps exist is to guide and label unknown places. The students of the GAPP program are using their maps. The only question now is ‘Kommen Sie mit?’