Students ‘cook up’ a little culture with German counterpartsThe scent of apples, cinnamon and brown sugar assailed the senses as soon as you walked in the front door of Cloquet High School (CHS) Wednesday afternoon. If you followed your nose far enough, it would lead you straight to the Family Consumer Science classroom, and what was going on was not so much a cooking class as an exercise in student diplomacy.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The scent of apples, cinnamon and brown sugar assailed the senses as soon as you walked in the front door of Cloquet High School (CHS) Wednesday afternoon. If you followed your nose far enough, it would lead you straight to the Family Consumer Science classroom, and what was going on was not so much a cooking class as an exercise in student diplomacy.
The students in CHS teacher Tanya Larionova’s German class were coaching 15 exchange students from the town of Villingen in the state of Baden-Wuetemberg, Germany, to follow an American recipe using the standard system of measurements such as teaspoons, tablespoons and cups. The lesson at hand: how to make apple crisp.
“It really wasn’t all that difficult,” commented German student Wolfgang Foot as he sampled the finished product. “All of the cups and measuring spoons here are marked. It’s going to be a lot more difficult for the Cloquet students tomorrow….”
On Thursday, the students from Germany planned to teach the Cloquet High School students how to cook a dish made with raisins, eggs, flour and milk, called “Kaiserschmarrn,” using the German system of measurement.
Foot said it will likely be challenging for the American students to deal with such things as grams and milliliters.
The cooking exercise was just one of the many lessons designed to integrate the exchange students into the American way of life during their three-week stay here – and for the German students to return the favor.
According to Cloquet teacher Sue Hagberg, that’s exactly the way the exchange program is designed to work.
She explained that the two schools have been participating in the program, known as the German-American Partnership Program (GAPP), since 1995. Students visit each other’s countries every two years, with an eye toward improving their language skills, broadening the knowledge of the partner country and establishing a long-lasting relationship between the two countries.
GAPP is a non-profit high school exchange program between schools in Germany and the United States, sponsored by the German Foreign Office and by the U.S. Department of State, with organizational support provided by the Goethe-Institute. The main objective of the program is the integration of students into the everyday life of host families and into the classroom activities of host schools to provide them with an invaluable intercultural experience.
The program was first started internationally in 1977, and since then over 200,000 students have participated in the program.
While visiting Cloquet, the German students and the two teachers who accompanied them are staying with host families in the area and their activities involve both in-school and extra-curricular experiences. Larionova said a welcome party was held at the school, and students visited the Minnesota Discovery Center, the Fond du Lac Reservation and the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, and spent a day in Duluth touring the port authority and enjoying a cruise with the Vista Fleet on Lake Superior.
The visiting students have also spent considerable time following their host brothers and sisters throughout their school day activities.
“It gives them an idea of how we do things here, what’s expected and where we’re at,” said Larionova.
She said every student in her German II class had the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the German students in their native tongue.
“I was very impressed with the way our students conversed,” said Larionova. “Germans don’t always slow down or articulate [when they’re speaking their native language], and I think all of our students were able to make out what they were saying and come up with a reply.”
The same proved to be true for the students from Germany.
“We have had many chances to speak English with our exchange partners,” said German student Katrin Kongeter.
She added that by staying in homes with their host families, the students have the opportunity to learn everyday words such as “carpet,” “whiskers” or “pots and pans.”
“In the students’ classroom studies in Germany,” explained their teacher Simone Epperlein, “their language studies deal more with analyzing literature and that type of thing. To have the opportunity to learn more of the common word usage is a valuable lesson for them.”
The German students will depart Tuesday for Minneapolis, where they plan to go to the Mall of America, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and other local attractions prior to their departure home to
Cloquet High School students visited Germany last year as part of the exchange