Saturday, June 01, 2002

Teens enjoy U.S. visit

15 students compare life in Germany

By Valerie Christopher
Enquirer Contributor

        A two-week visit to the Tristate provided a lesson in American family values for 15 German students.

        “I've enjoyed living with the American family (Taylor High School sophomore Adam Heine's family) and seeing their interaction,” said Thomas Ankenbauer, 17, of his first visit to America.

To join
    The Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati is a non-profit volunteer organization funded through member contributions. Its objectives are to facilitate business contacts and promote cultural, educational, legal and sports exchanges.
   For information go online
   If you are a student in grades 10-12 who would like to participate in an exchange in 2003, call Lee Parker, 761-0468, or Nancy Erbeck, 554-1063, by Oct. 1.
        Thomas is one of 15 teens from Munich who flew back home Friday after a 13-day visit. The teens were participants in a high school exchange with 15 students from seven Greater Cincinnati high schools.

        The program is sponsored by the Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati. The German students will host their American counterparts June 12-27.

        “German students are so amazed at how involved American families are,” said Lee Parker, program chairwoman.

        Many of the German students said the emphasis on family is rare in households in their native land.

        “It's different because life is just for family here,” Thomas said. “In Germany, there is less focus on where you go.”

        In Germany, he said, independence begins to develop when students are old enough to ride a subway by themselves.

        Families, many said, are less involved with where their teen-agers go in the city and how they get there than Americans. The legal drinking age for a Munich adolescent is 16.

        During their stay, the Cincinnati hosts and their foreign guests enjoyed landmarks such as Paramount's Kings Island, Newport Aquarium and the Cincinnati Zoo, and experienced a walking tour of Cincinnati and an Underground Railroad re-enactment at Camp Campbell Gard in Butler County.

        Ms. Parker said carpooling to these sites was an eye-opener to the Germans, who are used to hopping on a subway to get around Munich.

        “I've been to America three different times with my family,” said Yann Glockzin, 17, of Munich. “I came back because I enjoy the national parks, sharing everyday life and watching my host family say grace before dinner.”

        “There's a big smile on the faces of people here who ask, "May I help you?'” Yann said. Since the exchanges began eight years ago, 110 local and 125 Munich students have participated.


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