German students

German students visited the Verona Fire Department for a tour Wednesday, Oct. 4.

For the last two weeks, Wisconsin got a bit more German.

Twenty-six Germans have been visiting Verona and staying with Verona Area High School families since Oct. 1 as part of an exchange program that will send a group of VAHS students to Germany next spring, as well.

It’s the fifth time for the every-other-year exchange since it began in the 2008-09 school year, and they once again were able to time their visit with VAHS Homecoming, a highlight for Selma Rudolph, who said she was impressed with the school spirit she’s seen while here.

“I met some awesome people here,” said Rudolph, who added that her experience confirmed she wants to spend a year studying in the United States.

The group has toured Verona’s municipal buildings, visited Epic, toured the Capitol building in Madison and will visit Chicago this weekend to end their trip. They also hiked at Devil’s Lake Monday, followed by an ice cream social with VAHS German students.

The Devil’s Lake trip was Arne Diwisch’s favorite, and it didn’t hurt that it occurred on his birthday. Diwisch said he was “a little bit nervous” to travel, but got comfortable quickly.

“After the first day, it feels like home,” Diwisch said.

Their teacher, Martin Schubert, lauded the “experience they get here.”

“They’re so much more mature when they get back,” Schubert said.

That holds true whether or not they end up close with their host family, he said.

“For some it’s a real struggle,” he said. “They realize, ‘Oh, I can use the language.’”

VAHS students will visit Schubert’s class for two weeks, beginning the week before spring break and through the time off school in the spring. That will be a new cultural experience for them, just as the past week-and-a-half has been for the Germans.

“We seem to be very similar, but there are so many differences,” Schubert said.

Contact Scott Girard at ungreporter@wcinet.com and follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.