Chesterton High School GAPP Exchange 2023

German foreign exchange students live in Chesterton, Indiana


Photo credits: Justin Martinson

Audrey White, Opinions Section Editor

Since Chesterton High School (CHS) went on spring break, a group of students welcomed eighteen German foreign exchange students to the United States. Students enrolled in CHS’s German foreign language course were able to form close bonds with their respective German partners as they embarked on their new adventure. 


Photo credits: Justin Martinson

While here, the American hosts explored Chicago and areas in Northwest Indiana to share a glimpse of day-to-day life in the United States. The students were able to gather together and meet up frequently over the course of their stay. The group also partook in bowling, a dinner party game, and a school lock-in at Michigan City High School. 

“[The most memorable moment] For example the tilt experience in Chicago [John Hancock Tower] where you are tilted and you can see straight through the floor,” said Matthias Wulle, a German foreign exchange student.

The German American Partnership Program (GAPP) is a program that links German students with American host families for a period of a few weeks, while they attend an American school and experience American culture. Then, during the summer, those same American students are able to experience German culture and everyday life, while also attending school in Germany. 

“Mostly because my family doesn’t make vacations outside of Europe, I just wanted to see new continents [and be a foreign exchange student]. And I also think it’s fun to go on a vacation with different kinds of people than you usually do. I mostly go on vacation with my family, but I just [wanted] to go on vacation with my classmates right now,” said Wulle, after being asked why he was interested in becoming a member of the exchange program.

The GAPP Exchange of 2023 has been deeply meaningful, particularly because it is the first one after a four-year-long break mainly incited due to COVID-19. In the summer of 2023, American students from CHS will be able to complete the GAPP Exchange as they embark on an adventure overseas to Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm, Germany.

“It [the exchange] was awesome. Today, when we said goodbye, I think almost everyone was crying. I’ve only been a teacher on the trip one year, it wasn’t like that then. It wasn’t to that extent of the connection…it’s proof that the exchange did its job and connected everyone very closely,” Mr. Justin Martinson, CHS German teacher said.