German students see the sights of Arlington
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:35 PM
ARLINGTON A German school group toured through Arlingtons City Hall and Fire Department last week, reflecting on the differences between the two countries as part of a month-long student exchange.
The clutch of 20 high school students and two teachers from Stuttgart, Germanys sixth-largest city, met with Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson in City Hall May 10, after eating in the Local Scoop on Olympic Avenue and visiting the downtown Fire Station.
Many of the 10th and 11th-grade students had heard about Arlington from older siblings who had taken part in the exchange in previous years, but they still expressed surprise at the differences between Arlington, a town of nearly 16,000, and Stuttgart, a city of nearly 600,000.
While Larson handed out postcards and lapel pins bearing the city of Arlingtons logo, one of the German students presented her with a book on Stuttgart, as Arlington High School German teacher Ben Mendro pointed out that Arlingtons recent centennial actually made it a relatively young town by German standards.
In Germany our cities are much older, said Marian Metzner, a 16-year-old German student whose older brother had traveled to Arlington in an earlier group. Everything is very big here. The people are very friendly. The atmosphere of the classes is different. In German schools, you would not chew gum or talk with your neighbors. I am interested in seeing how other cultures are. I look forward to going to Vancouver.
Vancouver and Eastern Washington are among the destinations in the German students itinerary, along with an overnight trip to Seattle to watch a Mariners game, since Germany doesnt have baseball teams.
In the meantime, Arlington students like 17-year-old April Dresser have had fun hosting their German peers, who arrived May 2, and learning about their similarities as well as their differences.
His room is messy, like me, so he doesnt want me to clean it, Dresser said. He always has people running in and out of his house, too, so he enjoys that thats the way it is in mine. Plus, we both love shoes, so well be going shopping together.
The German students are scheduled to return home May 30, but Dresser believes their presence has already broadened her horizons.
I love this experience, Dresser said. More people should do it. You get to be friends with people never would have met before.