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Students Participate in German American Partnership Program

Students+all+hold+hands+and+try+to+untangle+themselves.
Students all hold hands and try to untangle themselves.

Students all hold hands and try to untangle themselves.

Students all hold hands and try to untangle themselves.

Sloka Chandrasekaran, Reporter

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Westwood High School has partnered up with Round Rock High School to take part in the German American Partnership Program GAPP. This program has been going on every other year for the last five years. Students from German II, III, IV have been selected by the German teachers from Westwood and Round Rock.

“Last April, I asked students to turn in applications about themselves, and I asked for them to get four teacher recommendations as well,” Ms. Jennifer Melgar said. “[Ms. Jessie Trawick and I] chose students who we thought would be responsible and would take full advantage of the many learning opportunities of this program.”

Once the students were selected, meetings were held so that parents and students could get more information on the trip. Ms. Melgar gave them prices of flights and dates in which the Germans would be staying in America and when the students from America would stay in Germany.

“I was really excited to get the chance to take part of something like this,” Bella Cowart ‘19 said. “I’ve always wanted to go to Germany, and now I can really get the full German experience.”

The students found out who their German partners were in September and got all the information needed to contact them through social media or email.

“When we turned in the applications, we had to write an essay about ourselves in German so our partners could read it, but my German partner didn’t do the essay,” Philip Snider ‘19 said, “and I thought it was really funny because that definitely seems like something I’d do.”

After getting to know their partners, the students and German teachers got together for a dinner. They started off by introducing the students from Westwood to the students from Round Rock by playing icebreaker games.

“Playing these games was really fun and a great way to get to know the other kids taking part in the program,” Cowart said. “I know I’m going to develop a lot of friendships during the exchange.”

The dinner concluded with the teachers going over the basics of the trip, such as when they would be leaving for Germany and how they would get there. The teachers also went over how to deal with homesickness.

“This trip is pretty long for some students, and sometimes they just miss being away from home,” Ms. Melgar said. “I need for these kids to be able to trust me and trust each other. If something is wrong, [the student] needs to tell us. We need to be able to confide in each other because for those three weeks, we’re all one big family.”

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