German student teachers intern at local schools

East Stroudsburg University partners with German higher education institution

Luka Konklin, Staff Writer

Have you noticed adults with German accents observing your classes?

SHS students might think that these people are part of the well-known German American Partnership Program (GAPP), which has been part of the SHS world for nearly a decade. GAPP is a high school exchange program.

No, these are not high school students.  These students are from the University of Koblenz-Landau and are currently student teaching in select classes at SHS. They are part of a program called the German-American Field Experience Exchange program.  All of these German college students are working on degrees in education. 

This program was set up between East Stroudsburg University and the University of Koblenz-Landau by Mr. Sebastian Beckmann in 2019. Beckmann also runs the GAPP program.

“The goal of this program for college students is for them to get the fullest educational experience possible,” said Beckmann. These international students participate in an internship in one of three schools, Stroudsburg High School, East Stroudsburg South, or JT Lambert Intermediate School. 

The participants are Elias Betz, Sophie Frohn, Eva Gensheimer, Lena Jacek, Sarah Mabrouk, Claudio Pagnotta, Jonas Parisi, Benedikt Seither, Torben Simon, Florian Sittner, Irem Tari, Desteny Alozie Ukomadu, Annika Wiggert, and Maria Zöller.

“Learning the culture and language from more than just movies is very important,” said Mr. Jonas Parisi.

This is the second time the German-American Field Experience Exchange program has partnered with SHS.  The first time was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, the program went on a two-year hiatus. This year, various graduate students are once again able to participate in a 3.5-week-long internship that provides a unique opportunity to experience the American school system and culture.

It is impossible to teach students about a culture you have not experienced, there is only so much you can learn without truly seeing it.”

— Mr. Benedikt Seither

Participants receive an overall deeper understanding of American culture and are able to fully immerse themselves in the English language. This provides them the opportunity to share their experiences with German students. Overall, the experience should be rewarding for both the student teachers and the students.

“America is less formal in their interactions, and you are able to make more connections with students on a more personal level,” said Ms. Annika Wiggert. 

The second part of the German-American Field Experience Exchange program is when the ESU student teachers will visit classrooms in Germany this spring.

“It is impossible to teach students about a culture you have not experienced,” said Mr. Benedikt Seither, a participant in the program. “There is only so much you can learn without truly seeing it.”