2018-03-29 / Life in Leelanau

LEARNING OVERSEAS

Glen Lake students return from 15-day exchange trip in Germany
By Jen Murphy
Of The Enterprise staff


A HAPPY group of Glen Lake students adventured to Amsterdam with host families last weekend. The students are participating in the biennial Glen Lake - Germany cultural exchange program. A HAPPY group of Glen Lake students adventured to Amsterdam with host families last weekend. The students are participating in the biennial Glen Lake - Germany cultural exchange program. These Lakers may have missed their classmates sinking 3-pointers, but their adventures took them much farther afield than a Final Four fan bus.

A well-traveled group of Glen Lake students returned late Sunday from a cultural exchange program in Germany. Glen Lake and German host school Die Anne-Frank Gesamtschule in Havixbeck have been partner schools since 1999.

During the exchange, students lived with individual host families. This provided an opportunity for the young people to have increased exposure to German culture while establishing positive relationships with peers on the other side of the world.

Glen Lake teachers and trip chaperones Christopher Morehead and Karen Richard both noted the benefits of these opportunities.


SADIE MURPHY and Clara Kroll, both juniors at Glen Lake Schools, take a moment to smile in the sunshine in front of a castle in Munster, Germany. SADIE MURPHY and Clara Kroll, both juniors at Glen Lake Schools, take a moment to smile in the sunshine in front of a castle in Munster, Germany. Richard said she enjoyed seeing the students “rekindle” friendships and build on shared experiences with the German students who traveled to northern Michigan in the fall.

Morehead agreed.

“It’s always a pleasure to see students applying their intercultural skills in new situations and watch how their friendships develop in ways they don’t expect,” he said.

Junior Jessie Corbin appreciated it as well.

“Our host families have been so accepting and willing to explore Germany with us,” Corbin said. “It has been so nice.”

Aside from the interpersonal relationships the students are developing, the academic learning opportunities outside the classroom are numerous.

The exchanged Lakers visited local castles, the Cathedral and Roman ruins in Cologne, the Museum of Roman History, a chocolate factory and many historical sites in Berlin, Bremerhaven, Munich and Hamburg.

Mastery of the German language is not a prerequisite for the trip. In fact, students interested in this exchange do not need to have any experience with the language. It is helpful, however.

Junior Adam Dunklow said he used the language skills he learned while studying at Glen Lake.

“As a former German student, it’s interesting to see how my learning really applies to what I see,” Dunklow said.

Glen Lake isn’t the only organization providing Leelanau County students exposure to other parts of the world.

Suttons Bay Public Schools offers its families the opportunity to become a year-long host family to students on exchange here in the U.S.

The Suttons Bay Rotary Exchange program, meanwhile, sends local high school students abroad and brings foreign high school students to Leelanau County communities.

Whatever path students take to travel and experience other cultures, the benefits are clear. As today’s world gets smaller, shared experiences can only help to bring understanding and connection across the globe.

3 reasons to hit the road

Besides the basic cultural exchange benefits, there are many advantages to traveling abroad. Here are a few:

Travel makes you healthier: According to research from the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, women who vacation at least twice a year show significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack than those who only travel every six years or so. Men who do not take an annual vacation show a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent greater risk of heart disease.

Travel increases happiness: Most people tend to be happier when traveling and not worrying about work, a Cornell University study shows. Also, people experience an increase in happiness from just planning a trip.

Travel helps with depression: According to the Wisconsin-based Marshfield Clinic, women who vacation at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than women who vacation less than once every two years.

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