Today: Jan 17 , 2020

German and Northpoint Students Learn About Each Other's Culture

24 March 2017  
Melanie Meier (left) sits with her American host ShyAnn Weisenburger (top right) during class at Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy on Thursday March 23rd, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham

Twenty-One German Students Vistiting and Learning with American Students at Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy

PRESCOTT- Sixteen-year-old Melanie Meier from Germany has never talked to an American citizen before or visited the United States. Meier, along with twenty other students from Ernst Reuter Schule II high school in Frankfurt, is being exposed to the American way of life while staying with a student from Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy in Prescott.

“It’s a cool experience to be here,” Meier said. “I want to do this to know how is the school here and to fluff my English a little bit up.”

After arriving on March 16th, the German students are living and going to school with their American host until returning home on April 10th. During the weeks spent in America, the German citizens will experience school in the United States along with differences in weather, food and the American way of life.

“It was strange to be in a house where you don’t know anyone and to stay there,” Meier said. “After like two days, it was a bit normal. The family is so nice to me.”

Meanwhile, the American host will learn about German culture firsthand. Ben Jensen, a senior at Northpoint, is hosting a German student for the second time after participating in the program during his freshman year.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity because the United States, while yes there are a lot of different cultures and it’s very diverse, is not the same as European countries,” Jensen said. “I enjoy hearing them talk about the differences and learning all these new things.”

The experience, which came to Northpoint in 2009, is a partnership between the high school in Germany and Northpoint. The host country is switched each year. So one year, American students will visit Germany while the next year will have German students visiting the United States. The goal is to have students witness and understand another culture.

“If you look at the world, it’s about understanding different cultures-different people,” said Robert Zinni, who has taught at Northpoint since 2011. ““It just takes one thing to connect, then it seems like their mind is a little more expanded.”

“They are more accepting of other cultures,” Zinni continued.

Zinni mentioned experiences like these tend to make an emotional and social impact on a student’s life. He encouraged all his students to take a risk for learning and gain knowledge about other cultures. Northpoint junior ShyAnn Weisenburger wants to travel the world so she took the chance of learning about another culture and hosted Meier.

“I’ve never met someone from across the world like this,” Weisenburger said. “It’s a fun experience.”

Weisenburger is looking forward to the Germany trip next year and hopes to be hosted by Meier. Zinni said fundraising for the trip to Germany next year will start in October.