German Exchange Students, Sequoia Middle School, and County Connection Bring German Culture Closer to Students

Twelve students and their instructor, all from Germany, boarded a County Connection bus to exchange stories and bring a better understanding of life in Europe to students at Sequoia Middle School.

The group is part of the German American Partnership that promotes learning of German language and culture by having American families host German students and in turn those same German families host American students. The teens spend roughly three weeks in each other’s county and have a chance to practice their language skills and see first hand how each other’s day-to–day lives are different, but in many ways are the same.

Zehra Otus, German language instructor at College Park and American guide, received her M.A. in German studies from U. C. Arizona, and lived in Switzerland for twelve years. She partnered with Isabel Frank and Doris Eber of Germany to create a rewarding experience for the students. Together, these instructors encouraged even greater awareness by bringing the German students to Sequoia Middle School to answer questions about their culture. County Connection provided the free ride to get there as part of its Class Pass Program.

Sequoia’s students inquired about music and theaters in Germany, how Germans dress and asked if you can really drive as fast as you want on the Autobahn. Ms. Otus said students in Germany have asked interesting questions too: “Are American cars bigger because Americans are bigger?” Since many German textbooks are older, they asked, “Do Americans really dress like that?”

The field trip was successful and the students enjoyed the bus ride. Ms. Frank said she enjoyed riding through Pleasant Hill neighborhoods which helped her get a better sense of the area.
Next stop, our students will head for Germany.

For more information on the German American Partnership contact Zehra Otus at otusz@mdusd.k12.ca.us. For more information on the County Connection Class Pass program contact Marie Knutson at 925.680.2041.