Blogs > Millennial Traveler

New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bonds Fostered Through My German/American Exchange Still Intact

Fifteen years ago this spring, I did a German-American exchange program in a small town outside of Stuttgart. The month-long experience (which was only $1,000 thanks to our frugal high school German teacher) widened my eyes to the world, in general, and has most definitely had a lasting impact on who I am today.

I'm currently in the process of applying for a similar program which focuses on U.S./German relations and news. I was curious to gain some input from my German friends - most of whom I met either in 1998 when I went over there or in 1999 when a group came here.

I had not spoken to most of these (now) men and women in years but, thanks to Facebook, getting in contact is just a message, a poke, or a wall post away. I messaged four of them on Facebook last night and I emailed my first exchange partner (since she has told me she thinks FB is mainly used to find bfs/gfs and isn't a fan of the site).

I heard from two of the four almost immediately and got another FB message and an email from my former exchange partner this morning.

(The coat of arms of the town where I stayed. I'll be searching for photos of my friends today)

For those curious - according to thosefriends - the hot topic in U.S. news currently in Germany is regarding the NSA, not too different from our current news in the U.S. as well. I have a few other follow up questions I'll be emailing/messaging today.

I still remember taking the time as a high school student to write letters to many of these people following the exchange. I met up with my two exchange partners - one who I stayed with, and one who stayed with me - for a Fruhlingsfest in 2004. One eventually came to the U.S. to practice her English here and her French in Quebec several years later. Now, communicating across the Atlantic is much simpler than it was back in high school.

My German has since, unfortunately, gone mostly unused except for the occasional familiar word in a movie or TV show. But I'm incredibly happy that these bonds - even across 4,000 miles - remain intact.

Sadly, the German language program at my old school has since been discontinued due to funding. I'm uncertain of the fate of the exchange program.

But, I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get to see my old friends soon.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home