Dripping Springs High German teacher Jillian Bessemer accompanied eight of her students to Dortmund, Germany for three weeks in June and July to kick off the school’s first German American Partnership Program (GAPP) exchange. DSHS will host 13 students from the Phoenix Gymnasium School, located in the Hörde district of Dortmund, for three weeks this fall.
GAPP is a short-term exchange program, which means that instead of just going to tourist sites, students stay with German host families and take lessons at the partner school.
Students at Dripping Springs High got to experience what the education system is like in Germany and took classes in art, Italian, religion and physics. The students also visited Heidelberg, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Münster and the Haus der Geschichte museum in Bonn.
Bessemer said the students’ understanding of German improved after being immersed in the language.
“They were exposed to roughly the same level of immersion that they receive in a year in the classroom,” Bessemer said. “By living in Germany, meeting students of their own age and participating in their daily life, my students will be better able to adapt and thrive in new situations and cultures.”