GAPP enhances cultural exchanges


This is a photo a student from Massachusetts took while they were in Hamburg, Germany as part of the German American Partnership Program.

The German American Partnership Program (GAPP) is a foreign exchange program that has existed between German students and US students for roughly 48 years.

Northwest Guilford High School has participated in a partnership with a school near Augsburg, Germany since 1995 for this program.

“We are going to be celebrating 25 years of the partnership,” German teacher Lisa Worthington-Groce said.

This exchange of students occurs every other year and a student must apply to participate in this four week program. Two of those weeks will consist of the Northwest student going to Germany to live with their assigned partner and the other two weeks consist of the German student coming to the US to live with the Northwest student.

“Back in August and early September, students were able to pick up an application where they wrote a little essay on why they wanted to take part (in GAPP),” Worthington-Groce said.

This application not only has a required essay, but it also had a questionnaire that was used to pair up the students based on their interests.

“They answered all kinds of questions, not only about themselves, but about things that their families enjoy doing because the whole family gets involved,” Worthington-Groce said.

Senior Emma Rand was accepted into the program in October and is currently planning some of the activities that she is going to do with her partner.

“My GAPP partner is Lara and she is 17 years old. She rides horses, so I’m really excited to go see them when I’m over there,” Rand said. “Together, we have to choose an American recipe and a German recipe, translate them, and add them with the rest of the people’s recipes in the program in order to make a recipe book.”

GAPP has recently gained a lot of attention and interest within the last couple of years. As a result, some students were denied acceptance. However, they were mostly freshman because the freshman have another chance of participating in the next two years.

Those who have participated in GAPP have demonstrated growth within their character and have had the chance to strengthen their German.

“I know that the parents of the students that have participated in years past talk about the changes they see in their teenager: how much more mature and open to the world they are,” Worthington-Groce said.

This program creates a learning experience for each participant, but also for their entire community around them.

“Our goal is to make this not just a one-to-one family exchange, but for the whole school community,” Worthington-Groce said. “The German students will be presenting in hopefully some classes around the school and other students can get a chance to meet them and interact.”

Rand, in particular, loves to travel and is ready to challenge herself in her German knowledge.

“I can’t wait to meet Lara in person and hopefully I’ll end up with a life-long friend even though she’s on the other side of the world,” Rand said.