German exchange students arrive


Grace Mottley

Juniors Leah Monaghan and Katherine Grimm hold up the German flag with their exchange students Merle Rohde and Victoria Schiedeck. Monaghan and Grimm brought the flag with them to the train station to pick up their exchange students and welcome them to Bel Air.

Just in time for Oktoberfest, 14 students and two teachers from Hildeshiem, Germany arrived at JC on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

The group left from Hannover, Germany on Thursday, Oct. 1, and arrived in New York City on Friday, Oct. 2. After walking around Times Square and the Rockefeller Center, the group returned to their hotel to watch the New York Skyline and talked about their day.

The group took the train from New York City to the Aberdeen train station where they were picked up by their hosts.

This year’s exchange program includes 14 German students who will stay at JC for two weeks and stay with JC students who are learning the language. During the summer of 2016, the JC students will visit Germany for two weeks and stay in their exchange’s home and visit their school,Gymnasium Josephinum.

According to German teacher Richard Möller, the main focus of the exchange program is for JC students to practice speaking German in real-life scenarios, and for the German students to practice their English.

However, the language barrier doesn’t seem to scare most students, who all seem confident that they will be able to communicate in English, if not in German, with their exchange student.  “They’re obviously much better at English than I am at German,” junior Elizabeth Butz said, who is planning to host an exchange student.

“I don’t think [language] will be a problem because the Germans speak English fluently,” Möller said.

Throughout the course of the exchange, the German students will go on field trips and shadow their host and sit in on their classes

Most of the exchange students seem interested in going to school, and are eager to sit in on classes. “[I’m excited to] see how the American school works,” German student Merle Rohde said.

The JC host students hope that their exchanges will find their classes interesting as well. “The first few days, [my german exchange student] will be very interested in what we’re learning, and obviously some classes are super boring and she won’t want to go to them… but I’ll think it’ll be fun,” Butz said.

The exchange students will also be going on trips to experience American culture and learn about the history of our country. “They’re going to D.C., they’re going to [Vice Principal of Academics] Gary Scholl’s house on the ninth to learn about Native American culture, they’re going to Naval Academy, they’re going to Philadelphia, and they’re going to Gettysburg,” Möller said.

The group of German exchange students arrived at the Aberdeen train station on Monday night from New York City. Many hugs and handshakes were exchanged as the JC and German students introduced themselves, and two JC hosts even carried the German flag to welcome the exchange students.

According to Rohde, all the German students are excited to be in Bel Air, and they can’t wait to see JC. “I’m very excited but very tired,” Rohde said.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly identified Merle Rohde in the caption. 

Grace Mottley is a News Editor for The Patriot and