GAPP program returns to CLHS, inspires new generation of Cadets

From Spring 2023 Cadets Magazine
By Ashley Wiehe
Since 1985, the German American Exchange Program — or GAPP as it is called around the halls of Concordia — has been providing life-changing experiences for hundreds of Cadets. 

After a short hiatus because of COVID, GAPP returned this year with 20 students visiting from Lüdenscheid, Germany. 

“It has been great to get this experience, and learn so much about my exchange partner,” said Philipp Kullmann, one of the German students who stayed with freshman Charlie Lang. 

As part of their visit from March to April, the students went to Chicago, a TinCaps game, area restaurants, and other activities. They spent every day going to classes with their Concordia students, and then had the opportunity to go on Spring Break with them. 

“The best part about this GAPP visit is 100 percent learning about German culture, showing them American culture, and finding out all the similar and different things,” said sophomore Cillian Hoover. “I love playing card games, playing board games, and just interacting and talking about slang and culture. It’s just amazing.” 

For many alumni, the experience has created lifelong friendships. 

For Brenda (Kiess) Hoffman, Class of 1990, and her exchange student, Claudia Ludwig-Baum, their friendship has led to participating in each other’s weddings and visiting each other again for the 25th anniversary of their first GAPP trip. 

“We’ve always kept in contact,” Hoffman said. “I’ve seen her boys grow up, and she’s seen our boys get married.” 

“My favorite memories from my visit to Concordia as an exchange student were how friendly and welcoming the students, faculty, and staff were and how Brenda and her family were such wonderful hosts who gave so much to me during my time at Concordia,” Ludwig-Baum added. 

With the program back without COVID restrictions, the Concordia students are now getting ready for their visit to Germany next year — something they look forward to and cherish. 

“So glad we’ve gotten to be a part of it,” said freshman Charlie Lang. “It has been so much fun, and I cannot wait to go to Germany.”