Delaware News

German students depart from our 'normal city'

Exchange students from five countries remain in Delaware

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Delaware City School District said goodbye Oct. 2 to eight exchange students from Baumholder, Germany.

Delaware's sister city is Baumholder. The eight students spent a week and a half with a Delaware family and at Hayes High School.

Dan Bartha, assistant principal at the school, said the goal was for them to practice their English and have a firsthand experience with a typical United States city.

"They weren't interested in seeing the United States so much as they were to see what a normal city is like," he said.

The students were fully integrated into the school day. Bartha said he worked to arrange activities for them that would not be overwhelming, but would suit what they were trying to accomplish.

"They took a tour of Delaware, visited the Stratford Ecological Center, took classes at the high school and, most importantly, they spent time with their host family," he said.

Bartha said the district is discussing sending a group of Hayes students to Baumholder to live with the families who sent their children here.

He said preference will be given to the host families with students who participated in housing the German exchange students.

"The biggest challenge will be the language barrier. The German students knew English, but these students don't know German," he said. "We will have to work through how to create the best experience for the students."

At the end of their visit, the German students put together slideshows of their hometown and school to show to some of the teachers and staff at their farewell dinner.

The German students remarked about the main differences between their school and Hayes High School.

The students mentioned how much stricert their teachers are than those at Hayes, Bartha said. They added when a teacher walks in the room, students stand and greet him or her before being excused to sit down.

What was surprising to Bartha was the number of sustainability practices they have at their school.

"They are very big on sustainability and renewable energy there and have a lot of solar panels at the school," he said.

Bartha said the students were impressed with the technology in the Hayes classrooms.

"We have a lot of Smartboards and technology that is used by students and teachers as part of classroom instruction, and the German students were amazed by that," he said.

The German students aren't the only exchange students currently in the district or on their way to the district.

Jake Tawney, director of student services, said the district works with groups such as the local Rotary Club to bring exchange students here.

"We have five exchange students right now; they come from Thailand, Colombia, Germany, Switzerland and Italy," he said.

Jenny Nicely, Dempsey seventh-grade counselor, said Dempsey's 16th habataki, which means home-stay, will be Nov. 1-6.

"Twenty-four middle schoolers from Sakata, Japan, come to visit, along with two teachers and two administrators," she said. "All but the administrators stay with host families and teachers stay with teachers.

"This is a such a great program."

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