Erkner - Gulfport Student Exchange Gives New Impulses for Future Cooperation
Enlarge image Consul General Görgens with Carl Bechstein Gymnasium students at the Atlanta airport (© Germany.info) In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the students at Carl Bechstein Gymnasium in Erkner, Germany (near Berlin) gave a charity concert to collect donations for Gulfport High School in Gulfport, MS which was badly affected by the storm. Based on this initial gesture of friendship and support, the two schools developed an exchange program that has sent many students across the ocean.
Another successful visit ended last week, when 18 students and three teachers from the Carl Bechstein Gymnasium returned home via Atlanta and met with Consul General Lutz Görgens for a briefing at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.
Consul General Görgens congratulated the students and organizers on their commitment and enthusiasm. "The study of other cultures and joint learning will be the most important factors directing the future of our young professionals," he commented during the meeting.
The German students were eager to share their many impressions and experiences from their visit to Gulfport where they had been hosted by the families of Gulfport High School students. In addition to visiting the Frank Gehry Museum and the Infinity Space Center, they participated in several exciting outdoor adventures like canoeing, hiking and a camp fire.
This year marks the sixth, and hopefully not the last exchange between the two schools. In the past, the trips had been funded 50% by a 5-year German grant from the Transatlantic Program which expired in May 2012. Both sides are currently seeking new funding options to continue the successful program.
The recent trip also brought ideas for the expansion of the program inbetween the yearly exchange trips. "There are many economical options to stay in touch, such as Skype and Youtube," says the program's organizer Jörg Schulze. "We also hope to be able to put together longer exchanges of four to six weeks. These would give students a more in-depth look at the other school system and culture."