The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Midway will be taking a break over the summer
After reminiscing with fond memories, Class of 2024 graduates in Rockefeller Chapel

German exchange students explore Lab

For two weeks, students took in Chicago’s culture
Paul+Alber+%28left%29%2C+German+exchange+student%2C+and+senior+Ellis+Domenick+%28right%29+went+to+a+White+Sox+game+with+other+exchange+students.
Photo provided by Ellis Domenick
Paul Alber (left), German exchange student, and senior Ellis Domenick (right) went to a White Sox game with other exchange students.

On Sept. 7, 15 students arrived in Chicago from Ludwig-Thoma Gymnasium in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany, for the 12-day yearly exchange program Lab hosts to foster a greater understanding and appreciation for German culture beyond what they learn in school.  

This is the second year after COVID-19 canceled the trip that U-High is hosting the German exchange students, and the first year the program fully returns to what it used to be, allowing students to experience a different living space and culture and build bonds overseas. The Lab exchange program aims to create a safe environment between students, allowing them to explore Chicago and learn about how lives may differ across the world.

Exchange student Magdalena Baumgart has enjoyed spending time around downtown Chicago and Hyde Park.

“At Lab, everyone is very friendly and very inclusive. The teachers have all been great,” she said. “I like Chicago because on one hand you can walk through the big buildings, but on the other you can walk in the park, enjoy a coffee or read a book.”

Junior Oliver Go has enjoyed the friendship that he has developed with his exchange student.

“I have learned a lot about German culture, and Germany in general, through my exchange student, and I’m sure he has learned a lot about America from me. Together we have experienced each other’s everyday lives which are very mundane to one but are more interesting to the other,” Oliver said. “Living with another person allows you to forge a strong connection with them.”

U-High students visited Germany this summer, experiencing German culture and schools in the mountains, where they stayed for three weeks. In addition to improving their German skills, the exchange program allows students to experience the contrast of living in the rural part of a country as compared to their experience at home. 

The students have many activities planned for their exchange students, such as sightseeing tours on the river and a visit to Steppenwolf Theatre. In addition to these activities, Lab and exchange students also work on a common project that focuses the culinary arts between the two cultures.

Susanne Pralle, the head of the exchange program and a German teacher at Lab, has worked for months with the school in Germany to make this a unique and fun experience for all the students involved.

Ms. Pralle said, “It’s a really great contrast for our students to go somewhere that mountainous, almost storybook alpine landscape… It’s a great contrast for the German students when they get here because they get to experience what it’s like to be in a major metropolitan area in the U.S., as well as the difference in the way the cities look.”

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About the Contributor
Kabir Joshi
Kabir Joshi, Assistant Editor
Kabir Joshi is a member of the Class of 2026 and is an assistant editor. As a ninth grader, he joined the U-High Midway during the 2022-23 school year. His favorite story that he has written is "Movie differentiates itself from others." Outside of the Midway, he runs cross country and loves spending time with his dog. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Excellent, review writing

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