Alta High School “Wilkommen” welcomed 16 German exchange students and two chaperone teachers to Utah late last month with a new experience for the foreigners an American high school cafeteria breakfast.
“It’s pretty awesome. I did not expect everything to be so big the mountains, the streets, the shopping malls,” said Jeremias Zeller, a German exchange student staying with Alta junior Tandin White. “In Utah, you can eat at any restaurant you want Asian, Italian, Mexican.”
“While we’re here, we want to make our English better, and maybe we can bring Germany nearer to the people here.”
The students from Dillingen an der Donau, Germany, are staying with 13 local host families and one teacher through mid-April. Nearly all the families have a student studying German at a Canyons District school.
The exchange is facilitated by the German American Partnership Program, a non-profit organization that aims to build connections between the two countries.
“There’s a decreasing number of German programs in the country, but there’s a lot of Germans who want to do the exchange program,” said Jo Carmiol, the former German teacher at Alta who initiated the exchange. “It helps keep German alive and well in Utah.”
Students taking German classes at Indian Hills Middle School and Summit Academy also are involved in District activities with the exchange students. Canyons District is facilitating out-of-school activities such as a hike to Ensign Peak, a tour of the State Capitol and shopping at City Creek Center. The German students visited New York City before flying to Utah and also headed to Moab over the Spring Recess.
Alta High junior Annika Burton and her family were excited to have two German students staying at their home. They’ve planned to take their guests to Park City, 2002 Winter Olympic venues, This is the Place Heritage Park and experience food shopping at Costco.
“I want to learn about how they live because it’s so different,” said Burton, who plans to visit Europe next year on a senior trip. “Other than that, I want to have fun with them.”