(Re: “Ripon students see day-to-day life of German peers,” Aug. 17, 2017) I wanted to expand upon the recent story about the German exchange trip that our students took this summer.

After reading the story, you would be forgiven for picturing the exchange as more akin to a spring break than an educational experience.

Certainly there were several culture shocks for our students (and me as well), and some of those were highlighted in the story, but the best education happens without the students realizing it and I think that’s the case here.

While our students may focus on the aspects of life that were different than ours or more shocking, they had the distinct opportunity to live with German families for two weeks.

It is one thing to learn a language and about a culture from afar, but it is quite another to be immersed in it for nearly three weeks.

As a social studies teacher, I wish more of our students had the opportunity to live history and to experience it first-hand the way our exchange students did.

There is no doubt in my mind that our students came away with a better understanding of some of the most tumultuous chapters in the 20th century as a result of this trip; I certainly did. ...

My wife and I are incredibly grateful to our hosts, Hermann-Josef and Martina, who were amazing, as well as to Dirk, Steffan, and our own Frau Seidler, who worked so hard to create such a meaningful experience for our students and our host students.

— Jim Cardinal

847 Metomen St.

To read the entire letter, see the Aug. 24 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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