Twenty CLHS students are preparing to embark on a German travel adventure. Two days after graduation, these students and their teacher (Herr LaCroix) will travel to Lüdenscheid, Germany for four weeks of immersion living through GAPP (German American Partnership Program).
This exchange between CLHS and the school in Lüdenschied has continued every year since the program’s inception in 1985, so that we already have several members of the second generation of Cadet GAPP participants. We will eat, drink, play, and socialize with the Zeppelin community during school and outside of school time through a plethora of group sponsored events as well as the unique individual experiences gained from each host family.
We will also be together as a CLHS group — sightseeing together, eating together, sharing insights and reflecting together. We will be introduced to Turkish Döner fast food; become familiar with the Lüdenscheid Stern Center and Wilhelm Strasse for shopping; be guided by Frau Baum as she takes us on a walking tour of our host town to discover its history and points of importance; and spend time in Köln (Cologne) on the River Rhine with its 800-year-old Gothic Cathedral. We will travel together for an extended weekend in Berlin, the bustling and cosmopolitan, modern German capitol to explore the Reichstag government building, the Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom, the remnants of a divided city with a history of the Wall, walk through the Holocaust Memorial, shop at the Ka-De-We (largest continental department store) on the Ku-Dam Street, and much else.
As each traveller is unique, so each student’s experience will be unique, and so is the patchwork of new exposure to the complexity of German and European culture.
As each of us has a host family, with a student at the Zeppelin Gymnasium in Lüdenschied, each student’s experience will be unique — the topics of casual conversation, the relationship building with family members and neighbors, and the activities that are shared with that particular family. Some of us may experience travel to neighboring European countries, some may experience the North Sea coast, while other wander in the Alps or Black Forest. Some of us will be re-united with German friendships already begun, while all us of will have ample opportunity to meet new, real Germans, who speak real German and live amid the history and culture of a real Germany.
Each us of will return to Indiana changed by the experiences had in Germany. Some will have adventured further than others; some will have been brave enough to conquer trepidations and gain a depth of new experience and richness of new insight — both with the German language and with the German culture; but all of us will have gained new relationships, new ideas, fresh perspectives, and new approaches to American living.
German Teacher and GAPP Director
The picture is from the GAPP adventure in 2017 with CLHS students standing in the Reichstag government gallery in Berlin.