The program is led by BBA Foreign Language Department Chair Barb Miceli and her German counterpart Lars Kohler.
Every two years 20 American host families share their home and American way of life with German exchange students offering them the American high school experience as well as a real language and cultural immersion for two weeks.
Learning through a typical day to day immersion experience greatly improves a student's comprehension, writing and oral communication in both language as well as from a cross-cultural experience stand point.
Finding out about personal interests and the experiences in the other student's country often ignites academic and career choices down the road. Even a short term stays improve a student's comprehension, writing and oral communication and this is a formula for an accelerated learning opportunity. However, the most profound experience is often not in learning the language but the time spent with the host family.
"In no time, we were all getting along as if we were the best of friends. We experienced a lot of differences in the American way of life," said Amalia, a current German exchange student. "What really impressed us was the trust you showed in us even though you did not know us very well."
"On behalf of the Germans students and myself, I would say that it takes courage for our American host families to open their homes to us and show us their culture and way of living," added Kohler. "In doing so, we can better understand one another and become more respectful and open-minded individuals."
There is the inevitable comparison of schools and Burr and Burton Academy stands out in many ways. Alexander, a German student visiting BBA was struck by the great student-teacher relationships and the open door policy in every classroom.
As a computer enthusiast he was also very impressed by the technology and availability of computers and iPads the school.
Burr and Burton students will be visiting the Wirtemberg Gymnasium in Stuttgart, Germany this summer.
They will become immersed in the customs of the local community there while living with a German host family.
The program has served over 600 students in the thirty-two years since its inception.