The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

From Germany to America

German foreign exchange students stay the Olathe host families while visiting schools and doing other activities around Kansas City
German+foreign+exchange+students+visit+Mahaffie+Farmstead+accompanied+by+Mayor+of+Olathe%2C+John+Bacon.
Photo courtesy of Kim Watts
German foreign exchange students visit Mahaffie Farmstead accompanied by Mayor of Olathe, John Bacon.

Studying abroad, no matter where you go, provides a unique learning experience for many people involved. From going to American schools to traveling around downtown Kansas City, German students flew to America for 10 days. 

The program allows students from Germany to come to America for a short period of time and live with American host families. These families stretched from all five Olathe high schools and the students shadowed their host family.

Shadowing means that the German visitor went through high school following their host high schooler and went to their different classes with them. 

Olathe West German teacher Courtney Frets shared some of her observations on how the trip went. 

“The most interesting part in my opinion is hearing their observations of how American schools run in the Olathe School district,” Frets said. “It’s completely different than the German school system that they are used to, especially since they have a three tiered system in which all of their students who plan on going to university are in the same school and they are separated from students who plan to go to technical school.” 

Along with shadowing American students around schools, the German kids also visited different places around the Kansas City area. 

“Last week, they came to school, and oddly, that was their favorite part of the exchange,” Frets said. “They wanted more time in American school because they loved interacting with American kids. Aside from that, we went to Mahaffie Farmstead, we toured the Olathe Schools for the day and the Deaf Cultural center and that was last Tuesday, which would have been the 24th. On Thursday the 26th we went down to Kansas City and toured the World War one museum and we went on a guided bus tour of the city.”

One of the Olathe West host students, junior Miriam Beaty, shared some of her experiences with the foreign student.

“We did a lot of interesting things,” Beaty said. “So for my classes, in animal science we learned stuff about cow digestive systems which was really interesting at OATC and she thought German class was very interesting.”

Hosting a foreign exchange student hits close to home for Frets. She mentioned that she was a part of a host family and remembers the experience positively while still keeping communication with the foreign exchange student to this day. 

“We talk at least once a week,” Frets said. “I go see her and her family all the time whenever I go over to Germany if I can. Most of the time I am with students but when I’m not with students I’m able to go visit her.” 

Hosting a foreign exchange student provides very unique opportunities. You get to learn about their culture and make relationships with different people from around the world. The program this year has shown to have positive effects on the host families involved. 

“I’ve already heard some positive feedback from some of my students here who are currently sophomores,” Frets said. “And so we do this every other year so they’ll be seniors the next time this comes around and they’re already saying ‘can I be on the list to host another student.’”

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About the Contributor
Bryce Mallory, Editor-in-Chief
This is senior Bryce Mallory’s second year on the Owl Post staff. This year, she is excited to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief, in addition to being a writer for the newspaper. Bryce is involved in the National Honors Society, Quill & Scroll and orchestra. Outside of school, Bryce loves to read books, watch romcoms, and go to dinner with her friends. She is looking forward to new print papers and loves having a community of friends to work with every day in the newspaper room. 

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