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How It Started ... How It's Going

With a little more than two months remaining before our current class of 5th graders graduates elementary school and heads off to middle school, we were inspired by a recent social media trend comparing the beginning of something to … how it’s going now!

We know it may not be obvious to everyone that many students with no ties to either of the language tracks we offer — Chinese and German — enroll at German International School so we’re taking advantage of this trend to introduce you to two of our 5th graders, neither of whom knew any German when they started as preschoolers!

Sofia came to GIS having been exposed to Arabic, Spanish, and English at home, but had no experience with German. And while she says she knew just a few German words after completing preschool, most of her memories, perhaps not surprisingly, have to do with the friendships she made!

“I will always remember the first time I met my friends. We went outside to play and I didn’t know anyone, and they said, “Come and join us!”

It’s clear her language learning skills only increased from there, though, as she is now fluent in German.

“The fact that she knows German fluently, speaks volumes of the effective teaching methods used at GIS,” said her parents, Xochitl and Ahmed. 

But if you ask Sofia about her favorite memories and classes at GIS, she speaks of her IB lessons, art, and math; she enjoys geometry, fractions, and learning about architecture in art class.

“It’s really been a great experience,” she says.

Sofia’s classmate Nolan also came to GIS with no German experience, and started in the Elefanten (elephant) preschool classroom mid-year.

“Nolan at the end of fifth grade is a very confident speaker and reader of German, and understands just about everything that is said to him in German. He likes to brag that he knows more German than his dad, who has a bachelor's degree in German from a local Oregon university!,” said his mom, Liliana.

An avid sports-lover of all kinds, especially American football, Nolan’s most fond memories of GIS over the years also center around his relationships, both with friends and teachers.

“It’s a fun school, they don’t just make it all work, work, work,” he says of GIS’ teacher’s learning strategy.

As he moves on to middle school, Nolan will continue his German studies, but his favorite classes are math (which is taught in German), sport (the German equivalent to PE), and music. In addition to playing sports, he also takes piano lessons.

“I’m going to miss GIS,” he says, although he intends to come back and volunteer like his older brother, who also attended GIS.

Sofia and Nolan are just two examples of students with no exposure to German who came to GIS and received a well-rounded, immersive eduction and are leaving, not just fluent in another language, but globally-minded, lifelong learners.

“We strongly believe that Sofia has a wider view of the world because of the dedication from teachers and staff to the fundamental principle of world citizenship. The environment in GIS has implanted the love of learning, thinking, and caring for others and that will reflect on developing Sofia into a principled and compassionate individual in society,” her parents said.

We couldn’t be more proud of these two students and all our 5th graders, who, additionally, persevered through an unprecedented event in the pandemic, and had to adjust to a new way of learning.

We can’t wait to see how these students shape our world and continue on their journey!

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German International School

3900 SW Murray Blvd.

Beaverton, OR 97005

PH (503) 626-9089

FX (503) 626-9730

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