LT welcomes German exchange students

Exchange program brings American experience to German students


German exchange students sightsee in Chicago on Oct. 19. (photo courtesy of Ellie Fekrat ‘24).

Ellie Moran, Reporter

LT’s German exchange program returned this year on Oct. 8, when 15 German students arrived in Chicago and were introduced to their host families. The program, which has been running for over 15 years, gives foreign students opportunities to immerse themselves culturally, socially, and linguistically. 

The application process for the trips began in the spring of last year when the housing arrangements were made. LT students interested in exchanging applied and were assigned a German student to host. The two week period came to an end upon their departure to Washington DC on Oct. 22. 

During their time with LT, the German students were occupied with many activities such as football games, hikes, tours of the area, and many others. The hosting families also were able to give their individual students unique experiences, some going to the Sears tower and other Chicago attractions. Along with these more large scale activities, going to an American school and meeting people is an experience in itself. German exchange student Robin Wedel had positive recounts of the experience. 

“The whole thing was very cool and the people were very kind,” Wedel said. “It’s been one of the best experiences of my life.”

Wedel and the other German students shadowed their American peers throughout the school day and had the opportunity to go to clubs and outside of school activities with them. Wedel’s host, Drew Grech ‘24, had been eager to be involved with the exchange since his freshman year. Being one of his main motives for taking the language course in the first place, the exchange was very rewarding, Grech said. 

“It’s just been so much fun,” Grech said. “It’s been so awesome to hang with Robin these past few weeks.” 

Upon the German students’ departure, the LT students already have the date set for the trip to Germany, where they will get to stay with the same German student they hosted. Taking place over LT’s spring break, the students will get a full week learning about German culture and language. This connection makes for a true exchange, not just a touring trip, Grech said. 

German teacher, Shannon Murray, has been teaching for over nine years and is the sponsor of the German exchange program. With many years of experience, along with being the only German teacher, she has been part of the program many times. 

“The parents and families have done an amazing job of giving these students the absolute best possible experience,” Murray said.