Students at Pioneer High School are currently hosting a visiting delegation of 19 students from Ann Arbor’s sister city in Tübingen, Germany. They’re here for three weeks, and the Pioneer students are showing them the school and the town. Most days, they also attend classes at Pioneer.
“The German students are quite fascinated by our giant school and all of the sport facilities that they do not have,” says Pioneer’s German teacher, Robert Lederer, who runs the exchange at Pioneer. “We walked them through the building and they were very taken aback on how many rooms we have and classes we offer. Everything they do here in a cultural experience for them. The large trucks, the bus system, and even the train to Chicago has completely changed their view of the USA.”
This is typically an every other year event since the year 2000.
“This year we have scheduled a few events for the Germans, which we can fund with the help of Gummibärchen sales,” explained Lederer. “We brought them to the University of Michigan’s UMTRI program, had a scavenger hunt in downtown Ann Arbor and even took them to Detroit to see the Hiedelberg Project, as well as the Henry Ford. All these things are of course reciprocated to us when we travel to Germany.”
The student exchange is reciprocal: Each American student hosts a German student for three weeks, and then the students go to Germany for three weeks and live with them. The 17 American students from Pioneer will travel to Germany in June.
Lederer said that as a result of the exchange, Pioneer students come to realize that there is another world out there,
“They also learn amazing things about themselves; for example, how to live and function in a completely foreign culture,” he said. “Imagine hearing the target language all around you! The exchange with Germany is one of the greatest opportunities for our students of German.”