From Creek to Germany and Back Again

Jane McCauley, News Editor

Starting at the most basic level of the German language, Ziyue Xu was able to become fluent in just one year. How? The Cherry Creek German exchange program.

As a sophomore one year ago, Xu was presented the opportunity to travel to Europe when he saw the program online. After decided to go to Germany, Xu contronted his family about his plan. “They were very supportive,” he said. “But obviously they were pretty sad.”

Although it was hard for Xu to leave his family in the states, he knew that a great opportunity was waiting for him in Germany. After traveling from all around Europe like France, England, Poland, Xu finally ended up in a small village in Germany. There was a small training camp that lasted three weeks in the German village. With fifty other students that were accepted to the trip from the Colorado region, Xu slowly became comfortable at the start of his year in Germany.

Most days he would go to school where he naturally fit in and quickly adapted to the language. Having to adjust to the German lifestyle was definitely something to get used to. “Americans like sugar-coating things. Germans don’t. So that was a big transition for me,” Xu said. Along with the different nature of Germans, having to adjust to the native language and living style took time.

Xu said that he would definitely recommend the program to any student willing to take on the challenge in Europe. “I learned to be more independent,” Xu said. “I matured a lot for sure.” The program can be offered to anyone willing to apply and take the test.

However, the responsibility comes along with the program. Having to leave your family to travel to another new country with a new language takes a lot of courage.

Mrs. Daum-Schultz, Xu’s German 1 teacher freshman year, had many positive things to say about her past student. “I was just blown away by the level of proficiency he came back with,” she described after meeting with Xu before the start of this year.

Both Xu and Mrs. Daum-Schultz agreed that to take on this program, you have to be willing to become independent and able to support yourself. “I definitely wouldn’t send a kid over there that, a) isn’t ready to be away from their family for that long, that isn’t timid and shy,” Mrs. Daum-Schultz described. “You do need to embrace the experience.”

With German being the only language with an exchange program that Creek offers, the German teachers are proud to be able to give this chance to their students. “We really want to make it apart of your culture,” she said.

The Cherry Creek German exchange program offers great things for the students willing to take on the challenge.