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Northwest Salmon

 

The Student Exchange of 2009!

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We sent students, they sent students. It was an exchange!

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German and American students, pictured above, got reacquainted as 10 students and adults from the Dewangen, Germany area visited Webster from Aug. 14-27. Pictured from back left are Lucas Koch, Sascha Michel, Julian Hassler, Jonas Berger; middle left, Garret Spiering, Fidel Hassler, Hermann Lessle, Bentia Kucharz, Sabina Wetzel, Felix Hertlein and Simone Baumgartl, front, Steve Brooks, Kim Sjurson, Heidi Sigdestad, Amanda Spiering, Miranda Wagner, Mallory Wagner and Emily Spiering. photo by John Suhr

Webster-Dewangen
Student exchange enters second year

by John Suhr
“It was more like family,” Miranda Wagner said referring to the Webster-Dewangen student exchange program she experienced this past May-June.
Emily Spiering followed up by saying that she along with the other students in the exchange became so close after just a week.
This year the Webster-Dewangen Friendship committee sent four students, Wagner, Spiering, Heidi Sigdestad and Kim Sjurson along with the Jim Kading scholarship winner Garret Spiering to Germany.
The group of students were joined by Tim Brooks, Amanda Spiering and five adults, Stephanie Brooks, Lori Wagner, Barb Tompkins, Pat Sjurson and Jerry Meek.
The group departed Webster May 28 and returned June 15 on the second student exchange in the sixth year of the official Webster-Dewangen Friendship pact.
Many of the students had never been out of the country and for the Spierings, Amanda, Emily and cousin Garret, it was the first time on a plane.
After talking about their trip and experiences in Germany, it was a trip they will not forget.
Sigdestad said, “I don’t know why any junior wouldn’t apply,” the incoming senior said when asked on how to get more juniors to do an essay for an opportunity for a scholarship.
All the students had many experiences and Wagner thought as the German students here now and other visitors from the Dewangen area continue with visits it will only help strengthen the program and have more involvement.
Garret Spiering recommended that incoming juniors at least learn some of the basics in German and take the German class. Wagner also suggested to try everything they offer at least once.
The 18 days of travel took the students to many locations and Amanda Spiering recommended comfortable walking shoes.
The experiences all the students remember the most is staying in host homes and experiencing German family life. While the language barrier may have been difficult to begin with, the friendships the students talked about outdid any language barrier they may have encountered.
For Sigdestad it was the narrow winding roads and the German driving experiences along with the people that left an impression with her.
For Wagner, the experience of history firsthand in the tour of Dachau, a German concentration camp that remains a part of the German history.
For Garret Spiering it was seeing the scenery of the German countryside, many castles and how crowded the country is compared to this area. He said here you drive 15 miles to a town and there it is a kilometer or two away.
Sjurson talked about the climbing of the church tower and white water rafting around the Alps area.
Emily Spiering said she will miss the ice cream and breads.
Amanda still recalls the lasagna her host Monica Hassler cooked for them one evening.
Sjurson and Sigdestad recalled receiving fresh tomatoes for snacks and Emily Spiering said it was not uncommon for people to go into their garden and cut out fresh peppers.
While the group all had similar memories they seemed to become closer. As a group they even joked with Garret about screaming like a little baby walking on the high ropes in Germany, but having no problem in the Black Hills with heights climbing in the Badlands.
For the American students they were able to enjoy the benefits of experience of life in Germany by being placed in families.
This was the second exchange as the Webster-Dewangen Friendship committee selects the top four essays. No names are on the papers, just a number and after the selection is made, the envelope from the school containing the student’s name and corresponding number is opened. A fifth student is chosen for a Jim Kading Memorial Scholarship.
Kading was one of the core members of the organization and would want to see this friendship exchange continue through the youth of Webster and Dewangen.
The Webster-Dewangen Friendship committee receives donations from various businesses, the Mayor’s Triathlon, city and individuals to not only send the students to Dewangen but help hosting the exchange here.
The group also has a couple of fund raisers throughout the year to be able to continue to offer these scholarships and give the youth of the Webster school an opportunity to make this trip possible.

Youth are key to friendship cities

by George Thompson
Eight young Germans from the Dewangen area were here last week as part of the second leg of of a transatlantic sister city exchange program.
A year ago the first program travelers from both towns shared their experiences and urged juniors to apply.
Dewangen is a bedroom community of 3,200 people in a county that is geographically the same as Day County but is home to over 200,000 people.
Webster students who made the trip there earlier this summer described the experience as a rewarding one.
These eight 16-17 year olds are staying in host family homes whose sons or daughters had the same opportunity last June in Dewangen. They are part of the Friends Forever cultural exchange program between sister cities Dewangen, Germany and Webster and looking forward to a busy time here.
Their first weekend here the eight got a taste of the American West experience when they traveled to the Black Hills region. They toured the Badlands and along the way took in a Mount Rushmore, Deadwood and Wall Drug.
Another stop included a drive through the wildlife loop at Custer State Park where the Germans got an up close look at how unpredictable buffalo can be.
Last week they toured local sites and enjoyed outings to the lake, the golf course and the Aberdeen fair.
The kids also paid a visit to the Sunset Hutterite Colony near Britton where they viewed farming operations and had a chance to speak in their native tongue to residents there.
The kids are amazed at the number of lakes the region has and were looking forward to weekend activities like water skiing, tubing and jet skiing, activities that aren’t readily available in their home country.
Asked what they saw as the big differences for teens in Germany versus the U.S. the five said drinking and driving. In Germany 16 year olds can start drinking beer and for alcohol it’s 18. On the other hand, Germans can’t get a driver’s license until they’re 18 years old and then it’s very strict and expensive.
When asked what they were looking forward to seeing, these students said Minneapolis and most were looking forward to going to school.
All eight Germans have enjoyed their hosts’ cooking, but note Americans eat too much junk food. They really liked driving golf carts really took to bumper pool, air hockey and shuffleboard games.
This Germans weren’t all friends prior to taking this trip and their chaperones Herman Herman Lessle and Fidel Hassler say it’s been a good experience for this group to get to know one another.
These students were selected after meeting with a Dewangen selection committee and seeing a presentation about what they could expect from students who came here last year.
Hassler said the German students were expected to pay their own ways for this two week adventure.
Lessle said, “The Friends Forever program knows that youth are the keys to both cities’ futures. It’s important to exchange the experience from one country to the other and we thank all of the people in Webster who make this such a great experience every time we come here. We will be Friends Forever,” he concluded.
Hassler, who lived in the United States for four years and has since traveled as part of his job as an engineer for Daimler said, “One of the nice things about the exchange program is getting to know the students and the families.”
He noted that prior to this trip he and Herman didn’t really know each other. “It’s a wonderful program,” he concluded.

 
 

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