German exchange students spend a day visiting Dearborn High School – Press and Guide

A group of 28 German students spent the day at Dearborn High School on November 3, the last day of their two-week trip to the United States, via the Youth For Understanding (YFU) group.

It was a first for DHS to welcome students to the day-long experience.

German teacher Christina Robbins coordinated the DHS side of things, which allowed students to be paired with a student in one of her German classes and spend most of the school day at tour the classes and learn how American high schools work.
The biggest “culture shock” for the students was the way the high school day was structured. In Germany, students attend a single classroom and teachers change topics as subjects change, unlike students moving through hallways like what happened in Dearborn while they were there. were.

“It was exciting,” said German student Aaron Pureitski. “It was very different from Germany.”

Pureitski said the trip was good, they spent almost every day learning about America and going on various day trips.

Dearborn High School German teacher Christina Robbins chats with a group of students.  (Dave Herndon - MediaNews Group)

“We went around the school and they showed me three different classes,” he said. “Carpentry workshop, English and physics.

Pureitski said it was “very, very new,” but it wasn’t really shocking because they learned about America before coming to the United States.

Besides the trip to DHS, he enjoyed some of the volunteer experiences, but his favorite thing was how “new” everything was.

“The malls were great, and while driving I saw all the signs,” he said. “It was exciting.”
Dilan Yilmaz also said her favorite part of the experience was high school.

She said she met a lot of “nice people”, who she hopes to keep in touch with even after her return to Germany.

“We did a volunteer day, went to Detroit and the Henry Ford Museum as a group,” she said, aside from the day in high school, a tour of the Ford Rouge factory was her favorite experience.

Dearborn High School and German students mingle in a classroom.  (Dave Herndon - MediaNews Group)

Each of the Germans had a “shadow” during the school day. Zachary Krol was one of the DHS students involved in the day.

“I really like talking to people,” he said. “It’s good to teach them and show them how we live.”
Krol, a senior, said it was also interesting to learn about German culture.

Robbins said she hopes everyone enjoys the experience and that it can become a recurring program instead of a one-time event.

“It was the very first time we did this,” Robbins said. “The students seemed to enjoy it. If I get positive feedback from the teachers, we will definitely try to do it again.
She said the program came to DHS through volunteer Rebecca Diosa, who hosted one of the German students. Robbins and Diosa know each other professionally and were able to come up with a plan to educate the German and American students during the exchange day.

Three students chat while getting to know each other.  (Dave Herndon - MediaNews Group)

“I gave them all German cue cards to ask and asked them to try and learn expressions and a bit of slang that are not normally taught in German class,” said Robins. “I’ll find out tomorrow how successful it was, but at the very least it helped teach them that learning a language isn’t just something you tick a box to do, but something you can actually use.”

She said they might consider partnering with YFU in the future to perhaps send American students to Germany on a similar program.
“It’s unique to the German program,” she said. “Our other foreign language departments don’t do that.”
She said the German program is “relatively” small at DHS, but she hopes it can help expand it.

She said Arabic, Spanish and French are all more popular at school than German, which she hopes this experience will help change.

YFU begins

In 1951, 75 German teenagers from Germany and Austria were selected by the Army of Occupation to come and live in the United States with American families for a year under the auspices of the United States Department of State. The selected students belonged to the oldest age group not to have been part of the “Hitler Jugend” (the youth organization of the Nazi regime).

The students were between 15 and 18 years old and, as it became clear, this was exactly the age group that seemed most suited to naturally participate and adapt to the lifestyles and values ​​of a family and of a foreign community.

The selection and funding of German students who came to Michigan in the early 1950s was made possible by the US government. At that time, YFU’s role was to provide home placements and supervision. The organization’s offices were moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, a college town west of Detroit. In 1956, US government funding was discontinued, but some transition funds were made available as the US State Department encouraged YFU to continue its work on a private basis.

In 1955, the first American teenagers went to Europe during the summer vacation for ten weeks. These students were placed with European families with the help of returning exchange students and their parents.

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