U.S. Diplomats Pay Special Visit To German School
On Friday, January 31, 2014 the German School Washington D.C. welcomed 20 diplomats from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). Before heading to their new posts in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, the Foreign Service officials visited the school to learn more about the German culture and customs.
The FSI is the Federal Government's primary training institution for officers and support personnel of the U.S. foreign affairs community, preparing American diplomats and other professionals to advance U.S. foreign affairs interests overseas and in Washington.
In a direct exchange with 11-graders, participants discussed the importance of bilingualism and an international education in today’s globalized world. Asked why he attends the German School, 17-year-old Joos of Potomac, MD said that he likes the idea of graduating with a dual international degree which will give him easy access to universities all over the world. Growing up with a German mother and an American father, another important reason for Joos’ parents was that they wanted him to maintain his fluency in both languages.
The diplomats were also curious about the difference between German and American teenagers. 17-year-old Miriam of Washington, D.C. mentioned that American teenagers are usually more polite, however, German teenagers are generally more independent than their American counterparts. Also, U.S. teenagers usually spend more time outdoors and invest more time in sports according to Joos who attended a local high school in ninth grade.
Coming from diplomat families, Miriam, who was born in Caracas, and 16-year-old Julia can relate to the Foreign Service officials very well. They grew up as global citizens and were eager to hear advice from the officials on how to pursue an international career.
Each year, a group of the FSI visits the German School, tours the campus and discusses all things German with students. “What is distinctive about this opportunity is that our students get an intimate one-on-one experience during these conversations with the diplomats. The diplomats, on the other hand, have the chance to ask any question about Germany before they embark on their new professional endeavors overseas. Although the visit was short, the impact will be long-lasting”, says Head of School Waldemar Gries.
The German School Washington D.C. in Potomac is a private, co-educational school which provides students with a unique international perspective by combining the best of both U.S. and German academic education. It teaches over 500 students from more than 20 different countries and gives them the opportunity to earn a U.S. High School Diploma and the German International Abitur (DIAP).