Welcome, Germans!

Anxious Hamilton students waited eagerly at the Grand Rapids airport for the arrival of their German students on Oct. 9.

A week ago Tuesday, the Grand Rapids airport was flooded with students from Hamilton High School, who were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their German exchange students.

After an exasperatingly long flight and a late arrival, the Germans finally found their way into the U.S.

According to Jill Grifhorst, a senior involved with the exchange, memories are already being made.

“I am having so much fun with Nantje!” she enthused. “We took her to an MSU football game, and even though it rained and was freezing, we had such an amazing time together.”

Not only do Hamilton students love having exchange students in the building, but the teachers usually do, as well.

“I have always enjoyed having the foreign exchange students come into my class,” Mr. Colly Carlson, one of Hamilton’s social studies teachers, said. “I think it’s good for the American students and the German students to see how they do it in other parts of the world.”

Although he reported that some host students’ grades may suffer a bit, Mr. Carlson seemed optimistic about the program as a whole. “I think the whole program is a great thing.  It gives our host families and students some great international experience and it also benefits the other American students while the Germans are here,” he explained further.

According to Ms. Lauren Stieper, who is in charge of the exchange, it has been going well so far.

“Of course I want everyone to have a great experience and to be safe, so those are the major sources of anxiety,” she said, “but other than that, I think everything is going really smoothly!”

The exchange students are planning to stay in Hamilton for about another week and a half, then will be returning to Germany on November 2.


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