German exchange students ending month-long BW visit
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
On March 21, five students arrived from Germany for a month-long stay with Big Walnut High School students and their families as part of The Friendship Connection, Inc., an exchange program between high schools in the United States and Gymnasien in Germany.
Big Walnut High School German language teacher Frau Georgia Craig said the students from Germany will visit Big Walnut through April 18; and that host students are the same age and gender and share similar interests as the visiting students.
Laura Hatwieger, who attends Friedrich-Schiller Gymnasium, is staying with Samantha Godby and her family; Lena Nickel, a student at Vogelsbergschule Schotten, is staying with Hannah Seabrook and her family; Kim Mannig, a Hercclerschule Kassel student, is staying with Sophie Erieau and family; Julie Bruesch, a student at Manenschule Fulda, is staying with Amanda Galindo and family; and Hannah Gebert, who attends Wilhelm-Hoffmann Gymnasium, is staying with Lindsey Adams and her family.
“The Friendship Connection is true to its name,” Frau Craig said. “Many of these student’s relationships last for decades. When you live with a student you’re hosting you really learn the value of another language and the value of our own; and you learn the value of another culture and truly become connected with it.”
While not mandatory, Big Walnut students have the option of visiting Germany over the summer and staying with the families of the students they hosted. Many take advantage of the opportunity, and even return to Germany for visits in subsequent years.
The Friendship Connection was conceived and developed by Ohio high school German teachers in cooperation with English teachers in Germany.
The Friendship Connection goal is to provide an inexpensive, on-going exchange program which enables participants to enhance their ability to speak German and to develop a greater appreciation of the German culture as well as long-lasting friendships with their German partners.
In the first 31 years, nearly 28,000 German and American students have participated in the Friendship Connection exchange program.
For additional information about The Friendship Connection go to < friendshipconnection.org >.