Palatine students immerse themselves in German culture on a 2-week exchange trip

PHS Students at Linn Castle in Krefeld
PHS Students at Linn Castle in Krefeld
16 PHS students returned home from Germany on Wednesday, June 14.

These students were a part of Palatine’s 14-day exchange program with Marienschule, a school in Krefeld, Germany.

Students on the exchange lived with German host families and would go on daily trips to many cities including Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Amsterdam.

Palatine Sophomore, Austin Carnahan said that “Germany, or any European country really, is an experience everyone would enjoy. Being immersed in a completely new environment makes you feel independent.” He said, “It’s incredible to explore the culture, the people, and the landscapes they have.” Austin said that he “truly got to see a different perspective of the world we live in; especially in a new country, thousands of miles away.”

PHS teacher, Javier Rivera teaches students about the history of an 18th-century hunting lodge on the grounds of Linn Castle

In addition to giving students the opportunity to travel and explore, the trip also offers many people the chance to create new friendships.

Luke Meehan, a Senior at Palatine said that by the end of the trip he “not only had some new German friends, but some American ones as well”.

Meehan said that this opportunity “is a wholly unique experience to just vacationing” as staying in a German home “allows you to live the life of people on the other end of the world.” He believes that it is an experience that everyone should have.

One of the main goals of this trip is to give students an international experience where they can get to know other cultures, and families, and learn or enhance their language skills.

“This trip aims to foster language and cultural skills, while ultimately providing an opportunity for students to gain new perspectives on each other’s lives and make long-lasting friendships,” said Gustavo Correa, PHS world language chair and one of the chaperones on the trip. 

Correa also hopes that these relationships built by the exchanges will continue “well beyond high school and into their adult lives.”

In fact, since the exchange program began in 1980, two students who remained in touch through the years got married. 

Correa said that the PHS students on the trip developed close friendships. On a picnic on the grounds of Linn Castle, one of the oldest in the country, the students and teachers “built a certain trust and were able to dialogue and connect without fear.” 

He added that they got to know each other much better as a result of the trip and interactions during the exchange. 

German language classes will be returning to Palatine next year, open for all grades. Correa says that “the school will need about 20 students to run the course.” Next year he is hopeful to have another group of about 12 students go on this fantastic adventure.

Both Germans and Americans take one final group picture on the banks of the Rhine River, in Düsseldorf
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    Dina RaflaSep 15, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Amazing article