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Life and language lessons: Foreign exchange program exposes students to a new world of friendship

"During their visit, they had the opportunity to participate in field trips to the Norman Rockwell Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, Boston, the Albany Capitol buildings and of course New York City," said Coorssen.

In February, the Scotia-Glenville students taking part in the exchange will journey to Germany, where they will attend school with their hosts and spend the carnival break, five days, with their host families. During their stay, the students will visit sights around Germany including Trier, the oldest city in Germany, Freiburg in the Black Forest region, and the city of Saarlouis.

"I look forward to traveling to Germany in February and experiencing their way of life and, of course, sightseeing," said Brown.

Kiefer said coming to New York was a dream that had turned into reality.

"I enjoyed every second of my visit, beginning at JFK airport," said Kiefer.

"All the Germans who participated in this exchange, we can say, 'Yes we celebrated the American way of life!' I had the luck to stay with very nice people. James was a really good friend for me and helped me with everything. Of course, one of the biggest moments was the visit to New York City. The differences of our cultures are bigger than I thought, and at the beginning of my visit it was like another world."

Brown's mom, Kathy, said the experience was even more rewarding than she had anticipated. She said the boys were a perfect match, and the program was well executed by both academic institutions. She said she was sad to see Marcus leave and that she is excited for her son to see Germany because he never has been abroad before.

"It was an easy transition for the boys because they were so much alike. I know they will remain friends for a very long time," said Kathy Brown.

Kiefer agreed that the program does a good job of matching students.

"Ms. Brown always was there for me, and together we three had a really interesting and funny time," said Kiefer.

The program is funded by various sources, including fundraising and parent contributions. Hosting families provide room and board at no cost to the students.""

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