Hylton Welcomes “Herzlich Willkommen” German Exchange Students


Mrs. Sattler

German exchange students along with students from Hylton and Colgan visiting Washington, DC

On Oct. 16, the Hylton community welcomed four exchange students from Gymnasium Dorfen. Hannes Reitinger, Mira Notka, Marlene Seidel and Hannah Holtner were excited to experience American culture firsthand for six weeks.

Students were enrolled in their own schedule of classes from October to November. During the exchange program, they also had the opportunity to experience American traditions from homecoming to American holidays.

In Germany, schools have prom but not homecoming dances. “We have seen movies but being there was amazing,” said Notka. They loved the DJ and had a lot of fun.

From dancing to roaming the spooky streets, they’ve spent a lot of time with their host families. They really enjoyed trick or treating and how the houses were decorated.

“Hosting a student is like taking in another child,” said Assistant Principal and Center for International Studies and Languages (CISL) Coordinator Betsy Campagna. 

Junior Kendall Gobin said, “It is weird, then you’ll get used to it a week later.” To make her exchange student Reitinger feel welcomed, she gave him all the things he liked in a gift basket and introduced him to her family. Gobin’s family also took Reitinger to New York City for the weekend. 

Reitinger said, “America is similar to Germany, but everything is bigger, like the roads and cars.” Reitinger is really happy being in America. He participated in many activities with his host family. 

Schools in Germany are very different from schools in America. In Germany, school starts at 8 a.m. and the school day ends at varying times. Three days a week school ends at 4:00 p.m.; the remaining two days, students are dismissed at 1:00 p.m.  Students have two, short 15 minute breaks throughout the day. German high school students study fifteen subjects including Math, English, Music, Art, Religion, Physical Education, History, Economics, Politics, Biology and a foreign language (Latin or French).

Reitinger, Notka, Seidel and Holtner headed back to Germany on Nov. 29. Hylton will welcome more exchange students in 2020. Students from Italy will arrive in April and September, along with students from France in the fall.

CISL has been running an exchange program since the early 90s. Hylton typically hosts students from Germany, as well as Italy or France in the fall. In return, host students have the option to stay with their exchange student in their home country. 

Any student can apply to host an exchange student or participate in the exchange trip; however, CISL students and Hylton students studying the specific language and culture receive first priority. Students are paired with host families based on the individual preferences they share in their application.

For more information about the exchange program, visit the CISL page online and follow CISL on Twitter @HyltonCISL.