Jul 13, 2017
For the first time, the University of Regensburg and its International Office hosted our professional development seminar for 15 American teachers. The participants represented different regions, subjects and types of schools such as Chesterbrook Elementary School in McLean, Virginia and Parkway High School in Bossier City in Louisiana. This variety also helped the German hosts to grasp the full scope of the American education system.
The two-week long seminar took place in late-June and started with a welcome by University President Prof. Dr. Udo Hebel and Anthony Miranda, Public Affairs Officer at the Consulate General of the U.S. in Munich. It offered introductory sessions on general and special regional educational issues, lectures on German, European and transatlantic issues and a site-visit to the Academy for Professional Development of Teachers and Personnel Management in Dillingen as well as to a local printing company where the participants could observe vocational education 'in action'. Highlights for the participants were visits to schools in Regensburg, including an elementary school, a Gymnasium, a Realschule and a Mittelschule as well as a vocational school which helped to better understand the local school system.
The insights into day-to-day-school routine were complemented by many formal and informal discussions with German teachers and teacher trainees, administrators, students, Fulbright alumni and, of course, university experts. An excursion program allowed the participants to get to know the cultural and culinary specifics of the region. The participants were very grateful for this current view on Germany and its educational landscape. The issues of integrating refugees and the European struggle for solutions in and outside of Europe added to the wide range of discussions across the Atlantic.
The participants described their time in Regensburg as an “intellectually busy experience” with new and authentic insights and an appreciation for the warm and professional hospitality of the university hosts.