German Exchange Students Visit Sioux Falls

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Students at O’Gorman High School are getting to experience another culture without having to leave Sioux Falls, thanks to a program called the German-American Partnership. It’s the largest bilateral exchange program between the U.S. and Germany.

15 high school students and two teachers from Germany are immersing themselves in American culture right here in Sioux Falls. 

Although their hometowns are thousands of miles apart, their lives are coming together here in the school cafeteria. 

“I always wanted to go to America and now I got the opportunity with this exchange. So yeah that’s quite cool,” Mathis Schroeder said. 

Schroeder is a 15-year-old from Germany making his first stop in America in Sioux Falls.

“Here you got an opportunity to really learn how this culture works and yeah with the differences, but also the similarities to our culture in Germany,” Schroeder said. 

Schroeder is staying with his Sioux Falls host brother, Channing Bentz, who’s showing him the ropes and also getting some at-home lessons for his German class. 

“You got stuff like PlayStation, which you have all over the world, so there are similarities there,” Schroeder said. 

The 3-week exchange program is centered around Oktoberfest each year.

“There’s people around the world that are like you and no matter where you can go, you can always make connections just based on similarities of people,” said Bentz. 

Teachers are also involved in the exchange program to give them a chance to observe different teaching styles. Schroeder’s teacher from Germany, Christian Janesic, is also in America for the first time.

“The first day, my mouth was just like, ‘Wow,'” said Janesic. 

Overall, the message is the same for everyone, both near and far. 

“There are some differences, but they are really interesting differences, and mostly people are the same around the world,” Janesic said.

Before returning home next week, the German exchange students will spend a couple of days visiting Washington D.C.

This summer, all of the American host students at O’Gorman will have the opportunity to visit their exchange friends in Germany. 



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