This past summer Ladue Horton Watkins High School (LHWHS) students, Noah Avigad (11), Anjali Bhagat(11), Faith Connally (11), Ben Goeke (11), Elise Hillebrand (12), Reese Schuler (11), Noah Smock (11), Ben Wang (11), and Tomi Zigo (11), and three students from Eureka High School, traveled over 4,000 miles from St. Louis, MO to Dortmund, Germany to participate in an exchange program. The program, organized by Patrick Quinn, a German teacher at LHWHS, takes place every other year. Students from Dortmund are partnered with students from LHWHS and Eureka High School and take the opportunity to immerse themselves in each other’s cultures.
In the fall of 2018, Max-Planck-Gymnasium (MPG) of Dortmund, sent 15 students to LHWHS as well as to our partner school, Eureka High School, for two weeks. These students stayed with their exchange partners and attended classes with them. Then, during the summer, of 2019, nine students from Eureka High School and LHWHS traveled to Germany and stayed with their exchange partners in Dortmund for two weeks, as well. While living in Germany, students enjoyed German food, experienced unique, German customs, and explored historical sights.
During their time in Dortmund, LHWHS and Eureka High School students attended classes at MPG with their exchange partners. When not attending classes, they cruised down the Rhine River and spent a day in Amsterdam. They also traveled up to Hamburg, staying for a week and taking day trips to the beautiful, old harbor city of Lübeck and Fehmarn, an island in the Baltic. The experience wouldn’t have been complete without doing a Wattwanderung (hiking at the bottom of the ocean during low tide) off the coast of the North Sea.
As Mr. Quinn states, “It is a program that offers so much more than a week of sightseeing. What we’re doing involves students living in the language for a period of time, making lasting connections with a peer and family in another country, and gaining an understanding for what normal life looks like somewhere else. This is not just language practice, although it certainly is that, too, it’s a tremendous growth opportunity for the kids involved. They see how much they can do on their own in a new place and gain a better understanding of what life is like here, having stood outside it for a bit.”