Sunday, October 11, 2009

German Exchange Student

resize helena Helena

resize helena&fam Host Family and Helena

We had the experience of hosting a German exchange student during the month of September.  I would like to introduce Helena.  Helena is from the town of Gustrow located in East Germany.  She is one of the students who participated in the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) and visited Yakima, Washington.

Helena enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, the mountains, photography and can make her way around on a computer.  She lives with her mother, father and little sister.   Helena is conservative, quiet and polite.  She likes to stay busy, especially with outdoor activities.  Helena speaks very good English.

Helena watches very little television.  She did participate in some movie watching and came to enjoy a couple of American television shows. Family Guy, Robot Chicken and Golden Girls.

We did travel to the Cle-Elum area for a picnic and swimming in the river.  Helena is a strong swimmer.  She also enjoyed the Yakima County Fair and could have stayed on the rides for hours. But for the most part, she hung out with us as an average American family participating in the daily activities around the home. I treated Helena as on of my own children.

We enjoyed Helena as an addition to our family for the month of September.  She blended in well and will be missed.

My daughter would like to go to Germany with the West Valley students this summer for a month long visit. Amber is a 10th grade student at West Valley High School. She is in her second year of German taught by Rick Beck.  Amber would probably have the opportunity to stay with Helena’s family for part of the visit. What a great opportunity to open your doors to the world.  Now we have to come up with the money to get her there.  

German American Partnership Program (GAPP)

This is the 10th Anniversary of the German American Partnership Program and the 6th group of German students to travel to Yakima for a month long exchange.  The students traveled from the small town of Gustrow, located in East Germany and arrived in Yakima September 1st.

Rick Beck, the West Valley School District German Teacher is the coordinator of the Local German American Partnership Program.  West Valley is the only local school district currently involved with the GAPP program and has sent about 80 students to Germany for the exchange over the past 10 years.  With lots of hard work and coordinating by Rick Beck and others, the students were able to visit places of interest in Washington.  Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, CWU, YVCC, Yakima Valley Museum and a trip to Seattle.  Seattle was fun, visiting the Space Needle, Museum of Flight, attending a Mariners game and shopping.

The 12 German students attended classes at West Valley High School and visited other schools throughout the Yakima Valley during their month long stay.

Next June 2010, a group of West Valley students have the opportunity to visit Germany for a month long stay.  Watch for fundraisers to help support these students who have the desire to visit Germany.  I believe this is a great learning experience for students.