Germans spent two weeks adapting to American culture. (Photo by: Daniel Ryan Carr)
Germans spent two weeks adapting to American culture.

Photo by: Daniel Ryan Carr

Germans adapt to American Culture

April 15, 2013

Adapting to American culture for two weeks, German foreign exchange students Jana Lindacher, Marie Grebner, Franziska Reitz, Sarah Dippe, Nico Dirschbacher, Sebastian Walla, David Shigalkin, Gabriel Schlemmer, are experiencing what it’s like to be an American.

The eight exchange students arrived from the small town of Haßfurt (pronounced Hassfurt) on March 30th at DFW International Airport. The students, along with two teachers from their hometown, have been staying with their DHS host families while in the US.

“Going to the United States was a little bit difficult because we don’t speak English regularly,” Grebner said. “After a few days it got easier as we became more accustomed to it.”

The students joined the German-American Partnership Program, they had the choice to go to either America or Spain with another program.

“We could decide on going to either Spain or America, but I was more curious about how the United States is,” Shigalkin said. “And I still am because I haven’t seen everything here.”

German instructor Sandra Dieckman enjoyed exposing her students to actual German kids their age.

“They interacted with all of my classes, and they were really surprised by the kinds of questions that my students had,” Dieckman said. “We also had them go through a typical school day here, because their school day is completely different compared to ours.”

One obstacle the students have had to adjust to is the school day. Back in Germany, classes last 45 minutes compared to the hour and a half at DHS.

“Our classes are shorter and we have a lot more classes,” Dippe said. “Sometimes we have nine different classes in a day. The classes here are not as strict and the sports are very different.”

Despite the time adjustments, the students were given the opportunity to explore classes based on their interests.

“I chose Latin, Math, History, and German,” Walla said. “It is interesting to see how Frau Dieckman teaches German.”

The students were given an opportunity to travel to the US, and they jumped on it.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to get to go to America,” Walla said. “It’s difficult to go on vacation because it’s too expensive.”

They have been given the chance to explore a lot of places around North Texas.

“I went to the airport, Whataburger, and Sam’s,” Shigalkin said. “We went to a tiny coffee shop on the square, where you buy coffee and everyone has their laptops. It is a student-run coffee shop.”

Each of them has been collecting keepsakes, souvenirs, and memories to take back with them to Germany.

“I am going to take back a cowboy hat, a big bottle of Tabasco, and some super sized things because big things are typical for Texas,” Shigalkin said.

Their host families are a little bit different than their actual families. Their community, school, and religions are all different.

“My host family is very religious,” Shigalkin said. “They read the Bible together as a family, once a week and discuss the content.”

Junior Davida Rios and her family enjoyed showing Sarah Dippe around Dallas-Fort Worth while they hosted her.

“We got to do different activities with her and take her around north Texas,” Rios said. “It was a fun experience to be a host family.”

Rios savored the occasion to have someone closer to her age around the house, in fact, Dippe became like a sibling to her.

“It was different because she was almost like a sister,” Rios said. “The only real difference between us was her accent and the minimal language barrier. It was really fun having her around.”

This summer, Rios will travel to Germany and be hosted by Dippe’s family, she hopes to experience the German culture in full.

“I can’t wait to see the different architecture and landscape,” Rios said. “It’s an exciting feeling that I will be taking in a whole new culture.”

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