Muscatine High welcomes Austrian teachers for exchange

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlberthttps://discovermuscatine.com
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Oct. 21, five teachers from Gratz, Austria arrived in Muscatine for an exchange with teachers from Muscatine High School. To welcome these guests and kick off a period of international learning for teachers from both countries, leaders from Muscatine Community School District, the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, American Field Service USA, and the City of Muscatine greeted the teachers with a special brunch Oct. 22.

In conjunction with the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, and American Field Service USA, Muscatine High School will host the five Austrian teachers, Lina Larsson, Anna-Lena Kahlbacher, Marion Klosch, Sandra Hassler, and Laura Cencig through Oct. 30. For the duration of their stay, the teachers will live with a Muscatine teacher’s family, giving them a chance to see for themselves how day to day life in the United States works. “It’s great we’re staying with Americans at home because we get to see what normal American life is like,” said Hassler, an English and German teacher.

Along with staying with their host families, the teachers will get to spend time at Muscatine High School, visiting the classes of the five different teachers in the exchange. The experience will allow them to see how teachers in the United States teach many different subjects and to see how the methods they use compare to their own. “I’m so excited about going to high school,” enthused Kloesch, an English and French teacher who had studied at an American university before but had never gotten to visit a high school.

To help the teachers get the most out of their visit, they will also get to take guided tours of Muscatine, learning about its history and biggest attractions, and also get to travel to Chicago. On the evening of their arrival, all of the teachers attended the Muskies football game, giving them an authentic American sports experience as well.

All of the teachers and staff members participating in the Austrian exchange. Back row: Lina Larsson, Anna-Lena Kahlbacher, Marion Klosch, Sandra Hassler, and Laura Cencig. Front row:
Ann Edkin, Dani Wolfe, Tristan Tolle, Charles Netzer, and Kindra Petersen. Phot by Margaret Hurlbert.

At the end of November, five teachers and staff members from Muscatine High School, Ann Edkin, Dani Wolfe, Tristan Tolle, Charles Netzer, and Kindra Petersen will make the trip to Gratz to get a taste of life in Austria. Tolle, an instructional coach, who has four siblings who participated in exchange programs in Australia, welcomed the chance to experience another culture for himself and to see how education in Europe compares. “Having a cultural exchange and having people in my home for my children to experience was the main reason,” he outlined. He added, “We’ve always heard how European education is and how it works, but actually getting to see it is interesting.”

During the brunch, everyone also extended a warm welcome to Madalena Gomes, an exchange student from Portugal visiting Muscatine for nine months.

As they prepared for a week of helping facilitate the Austrian teachers’ visit, Krista Regennitter, program officer for Global Education at the Stanley Center, and Nancy Banaszak from American Field Service USA looked forward to this chance to build international relationships and understanding. “I think this is one of the places where the Stanley Center and AFS’ beliefs intersect,” observed Regennitter, who saw the visit as one good way to promote cultural exchange and build human connections.

“This is wonderful,” glowed Banaszak. “We are trying to create global awareness at AFS.”

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