THG meets AHS: Regional Identity
This is a report about the experiences we had during an English-German e-mail exchange with students from Alcoa High School, Tennessee, USA, in November and December 2015.
In the first semester of Q1, our main topic was ʻʻregional identityʻʻ. During this semester students have to do a presentation replacing one of the written exams of the term.
Over many years our English teacher, Mrs Jacob, had already had contact with a teacher from Alcoa, a small town in Tennessee, and therefore our idea was to use the topic of ʻʻTennesseeʻʻ for the presentations. We divided the big topic into many little themes, e.g. "Country Music", "Agriculture" or "Elvis Presley". The special challenge was that we also had the opportunity to contact some students from Alcoa, whose contact information we got from Mrs Jacob and Mr Brown, their German teacher at Alcoa High School.
To communicate with students from America was a new experience for us. The students over there are very open-minded and they helped us a lot with our presentations. Their answers to our questions were always long, detailed and personal. We got a better impression of the life in Tennessee and we learned many things that we wouldnʻt find on the internet.
Unfortunately, most of them wrote just in English and not in German, but this was because they had just started to learn German. The advantage for us was that we were able to train our English skills even more. The students there are really friendly and it was fun to write to them. However, a negative aspect was that some of us didnʻt get the chance to have continuous contact. Reasons for that were that everybody here and there was really busy doing school work and a class trip took place during the time of the e-mail exchange.
All in all, the experience of having contact with people from Alcoa in the USA was great and very interesting. We got a deeper look into the Tennessean life and culture. It really helped us to make our talks about Tennessee more personal and authentic.
Even though there were some complications with the communication, we would still recommend having contact like we had to everyone who wants to improve their English skills and get some insider information.
Aileen, Anja, Ardita, Arian, Berfin, Hannah, Janina, Maria, Meret, Milena, Rosi, Susanne