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German Students Visit GIS

In mid-October GIS hosted a group of special visitors from Stolzenau, Germany: 23 German high school students and their teachers visited the school for the a day!

This annual trip began after Annika McClure spent a sabbatical year in Portland during the 2013/14 school year, when she completed an internship at GIS and also volunteered regularly at the school. Since then, the two institutions have had an ongoing partnership, and we have been happy to welcome Stolzenau students to our school for close to 10 years now.

The day began with the high schoolers visiting different classes and grade levels, assisting teachers and making presentations. They also introduced new games to GIS students during PE class, taught German children's songs to students in both the German and Chinese tracks, helped in making lanterns for the St. Martin's holiday, and answered lots of questions from curious GIS students. 

In the afternoon, the Stolzenau students played soccer with all grade school students on the two outdoor soccer fields. It was a lively afternoon, with students cheering on their peers and the teachers from Stolzenau acting as referees. All students had the chance to play in a soccer match that day, and we were so grateful that the sun came out just in time! 

The Stolzenau program, called the Studienfahrt nach Oregon (Study Trip to Oregon), sees the German students undergo a rigorous application and preparation process, including writing a personal statement, independently raising funds to partially cover their own program costs, and remaining in good academic standing. Stolzenau students often start thinking and preparing for this two-week program many years in advance of applying.

Aside from visiting GIS, the students spend two weeks in the Portland area, where they visit other area schools, engage with non-profit organizations, and explore the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. They also visit museums, attend services at a local synagogue, spend the day with American families from the Rotary Club, and attend sporting events.

The town of Stolzenau (pop. 7600) is located in northwest Germany, in the German federal state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). GIS is proud to partner with Stolzenau Gymnasium and host them during this visit. It's an invaluable opportunity for GIS students to meet and interact with native German-speaking young people, enabling our German-track students to apply their German linguistic and cultural proficiency to new, real-world contexts.

GIS anticipates a time when our students will be able to visit our Stolzenau friends on their home turf. Until then, we look forward to our annual visit from these incredible young people and thank them for visiting us!

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