The German American Partnership Program (GAPP) is the largest and most successful high school exchange program between the United States and Germany. Each year, around 12,000 students travel across the Atlantic to visit their partner schools and have life-changing experiences.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, GAPP today accounts for nearly two-thirds of all secondary school-aged Americans who participate in exchanges with Germany. More than 230,000 German and American students have participated in a GAPP exchange since 1982.
The success of GAPP is based on the more than 700 active long-term school partnerships between the two countries. These partnerships ensure that exchanges take place regularly, either every year or every other year. GAPP partnerships can be found in all 50 US states, and in all 16 German Länder.
The GAPP program has been designed to achieve the following aims:
- The establishment of a long-lasting interest in the partner country and the deepening of the relations between Germany and the USA
- Promotion of German language studies at high schools in the USA
- Expanding students' and teachers' knowledge of the partner country
- Intercultural encounters of participants
- Acquisition and improvement of proficiency in the target language
- Continuing education for exchange coordinators
Schools interested in taking part in a GAPP exchange should start by completing an Application for a School Partnership, available on the GAPP website (see below). Program administrators then assist with matching partner schools. Schools that have previously organized GAPP exchanges and plan to take a group to Germany in 2013 must return the program questionnaire to the New York office by November in order to be e-mailed the grant application package in early December of each year (check Goethe-Institut website for exact dates).
As part of Germany's Foreign Cultural and Education Policy, GAPP is jointly administered by the Educational Exchange Service (PAD) of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the States of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Goethe-Institut New York, and GAPP, Inc. The program is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, which also holds responsibility for the overall concept of the exchange, as well as the US Department of State.