DORSET - For three weeks, 21 German students and their teachers are calling the hills of southern Vermont home.

In this inaugural year of the exchange, students from the Freie Schule Anne Sophie in Kunzelsau, Germany have traveled to the Northshire to participate in homestays and schooldays, and to see parts of the Northeast. One of the teachers will remain in Dorset through March, completing some teacher training at Long Trail.

While here, the students are immersed in Long Trail classrooms; they are participating in activities and classwork with Long Trail students.

They are staying with homestay families, many of whom are sending their children to Germany in the American exchange in April. In addition, there are field trips to learn about local industries such as maple syrup and cheese production and to see Burlington.

Program co-coordinators Courtney Callo, Long Trail Admissions Director, and Daniela Stewart, Long Trail Spanish teacher and recent transplant from the school in Kunzelsau with which Long Trail has the exchange, can attest to the power of travel in high school.

Callo notes, "Daniela and I met 30 years ago as part of a student exchange program," Callo said. "Our travel and our relationship have been wonderful complements to our lives. We are excited to generate the same possibilities for Long Trail students."

The second part of this year's program will occur when 21 students and three teachers from Long Trail head overseas in April. A grant from the Charles Gamper Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, as well as gifts from other thoughtful donors, has helped the school launch this Excursion Program.