In a harmonious melding of global cultures, Carrollwood Day School extended a warm welcome to a distinguished delegation from Germany in late September. CDS upper school science teacher, Harry Powers has been organizing and running the exchange program for the last 30 years (prior to his time at CDS). The exchange group, led by Alex Haase-Muehler, head teacher from a school in Luchow, Germany, along with Christoph Ahlswede, Dean of Students and math and physics teacher, and 15 enthusiastic German students accompanied by fellow teacher, Adam Krasick from Poland, the visit was a celebration of educational diversity.
The German students were treated to a unique experience, immersing themselves in the bustling morning opening of CDS's elementary school and visiting upper school classrooms, exchanging insights and ideas with their American counterparts. This intercultural exchange was not one-sided, as the visiting German teachers had the privilege of leading classroom sessions, and fostering cross-cultural knowledge-sharing.
In the spirit of open dialogue and cooperation, the German visitors were kind enough to offer their perspectives on the differences they observed between the German and American education systems. Here are some of their enlightening insights:
School Days and Sports: German students undergo 13 years of schooling, with school days from 7:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They noted the rich array of sports activities at CDS, something relatively less emphasized in the German school system.
Diversity and Cultural Exchange: The German visitors remarked on the diverse student body at CDS, providing an environment rich in multicultural experiences. They emphasized the importance of this diversity in learning about other cultures and traditions.
Class Structure: German students stay with the same class until the 11th grade, after which they choose their preferred subjects. This differs from the American system where students have more flexibility in their class choices.
International Exchanges: The German students expressed the value of international exchange programs in fostering connections and friendships with people from other countries. Such exchanges allow for idea-sharing and meaningful cultural exchange.
Challenges and Strategies: Remarkably, the German students shared that they rarely experience issues related to diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism in their schools. They credit the overall kindness of their peers and less multiculturalism in their area.
This cultural exchange was a testament to the importance of learning from one another, appreciating the global perspective, and embracing diversity as a cornerstone of education. The experiences and lessons gained from this visit will undoubtedly continue to enrich the educational contexts in both Germany and the United States. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, such exchanges are crucial in shaping open-minded, globally aware students and educators.
Thank you to Harry Powers, Alex Haase-Muelner, Christoph Ahlswede, Adam Krasick and all the German students. We also want to thank our CDS students Srjan D., Aiden A., Aarnov C., Suma A., Logan W., Lucy P., Samantha H., Meher K., Cathy P., Valentina R., Ella B., Annika H., Benjamin B., Renai G., and Adele S. Each of these Patriots dedicated two days to ensure our visitors had a welcome and enjoyable experience. Their inclusivity and eagerness surely shaped the positive impressions these German students experienced.