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High school students from Germany visiting
Attend classes, stay with host families
german students5
Hilke Wilts reads over some information given to the German students. - photo by Jennifer Sami
High school students from the northwestern corner of Germany are visiting Forsyth County this week, and all 13 of them seem pretty impressed so far.

The visitors and their teachers hail from Esens, Germany, near the North Sea. They arrived Sept. 19 and are staying with host families here in Forsyth County until Oct. 7.

German high school student Sarah Neehus said she's enjoyed her time here. Last week, she and fellow students visited Atlanta and saw the Coca-Cola Museum and several Atlanta landmarks.

"Everything is very big in America," said Neehus, adding that "it seems like a very fast-moving, exciting place."

Fellow German student Julia Franz agreed.

"It is a great experience," Franz said. "It's very nice here."

The biannual exchange is organized under the guidelines of the German-American Partnership Program. Michaela Claus-Nix, foreign language department chair at South Forsyth High School, helped arrange the local visit.

About 40,000 German and U.S. students take part in the program each year. Students must spend 10 days in school during their stay.

Next week, the students leave for New York to see even more of the country, something Franz said "will be nice."

Claus-Nix said the students are accomplishing what they set out to do.

"The point is for German students to learn what life is like over here," she said. "They are learning."

Elisabeth Ledebur, a teacher who came over from Germany with the students, said it's her school's second time with the program.

"Mrs. Claus-Nix took the initiative to do this program," Ledebur said. "We were glad to come, and we love being here."

In June, some students from Forsyth County high schools will visit that part of Germany.

According to its Web site, the purpose of the German-American Partnership Program is "integration of students into the everyday life of host families and into the classroom activities of host schools to provide them with a coherent intercultural experience."