The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

Staff announcements
  • : check out the new games section located at the bottom of the home page! :
  • : Have a great summer Bulldogs! :
  • : Join journalism! :
The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

Buena’s German exchange program changes lives on first year back

@bhs.germanprogram on Instagram

For the past 38 years, Buena has partnered with Elmshorn, Germany to participate in the valuable tradition of the German Exchange Program. Beginning with Buena’s  previous German Teacher, Mr. Sturtevant, this program is made possible through a partnership with The German American Partnership Program, a non-profit whose aim is to “empower students to step into adulthood by building lifelong global ties.”

In the time it has existed, the program has blossomed, and is now overseen by the current German teacher, Sabine Scahffer-Mitchell. This year, for the first time since 2019, Buena was home to German students March 27-April 16, and Schaffer-Mitchell had high hopes for the outcome of their time here.

“Traveling overseas without their family for the first time, navigating a new home and school environment, [and] using public transportation are just some of the valuable lessons students will learn,” Schaffer-Mitchell said in a press release. “I think students become more resilient and open minded.”

But those ties are not easy to build. On their first day in California, this year’s batch of German Exchange students were frightened and confused by the differences in culture and distance from home. From small fears like sharing a bathroom with strangers, to frustration at the general American expectation that everyone should know how to speak English, there was a lot to navigate for everyone involved.

“It’s an adjustment [to have someone live in your house],” Junior and host, Nissa lancaster said. “It is weird because it is an unusual position to be in, but it is not bad.”

However, there was excitement as well, due to the many beautiful things Southern California has to offer. The students took trips to Los Angeles and the Channel Islands while they were here. They knew, even from the beginning, how exciting those places would be to experience.

I think students become more resilient and open minded.”

— German Teacher, Sabine Schaffer-Mitchell

By the end of their trip, almost everything Schaffer-Mitchell had predicted came true. On this trip halfway around the world, the students found new independence and appreciation for a culture different from their own. Exchange students Johanna Kluever and Liv Franven both wished their stay could last longer, but are hoping to bring home the things they have learned and implement them in their lives.

”I [now]] know that I can live on my own,” Franven said. “I am independent of other people.”

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Madysen Hawley
Madysen Hawley, Editor-in-Chief
Madysen Hawley is a senior in her third year of journalism. She enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, crocheting, and watching football.

Comments (1)

All Buena Speaks Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    SandraMay 29, 2024 at 8:42 am

    If anyone in the Buena High School district is interested in hosting an exchange student for a semester or school year – I volunteer with EF and we bring high school exchange students from 13 different countries to Ventura County – check our EF Exchangeyear