Nov 07, 2017
During their two-week stay, the Fulbrighters received hands-on insights into the American way of integration in the classroom: The young teachers (to be) from Germany, all of whom have a migration background, learned from their American counterparts, principals, school administrators and renowned professors through lectures, discussions and by visiting a wide range of different schools: from primary to high school, public and private, suburban and rural.
Both groups – one hosted by the Trinity University in San Antonio, the other one by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) – appreciated the dense and multi-faceted agendas and well-organized program. Seeing differences between the American and German school systems encouraged them to think about both systems more in-depth. What was interesting to the Fulbrighters was that American schools deal with similar issues when integrating newcomers: teaching them a new language, helping them become accustomed to a new culture, as well as making them feel welcome and safe in a new environment. The program participants particularly noted the high dedication of the teachers at the schools they visited and of the professors of education at their host universities. In numerous discussions and meetings with their American counterparts, the Fulbrighters could also bring in their own multi-faceted backgrounds.
The Fulbrighters also got to experience local culture first-hand: The Lincoln group visited a volleyball game and a musical for instance, which they found very enjoyable. Considered the Cornhusker State, the group was also excited about exploring the countryside during a trip to a farm in the rural area of Lincoln.
Living on campus, many of the Fulbrighters could experience American campus life for the first time and enjoyed the authenticity of their stay as UNL guests. Of course the Texan group also got to visit a farm, experience the contagious school spirit during sports games and explore the rich culinary culture of the region.
Having immigration backgrounds themselves, the program participants feel they have become even more sensitized to the value and challenges of multiculturalism and multilingualism in a diverse society. The future teachers are a representation of Germany’s present-day multiculturalism and will contribute to shaping the diverse future Germany.