11 June 2018, by Dr. Wolfgang Roehl
Photo: Dr. Susanne Wiedemann / US-Konsulat
Eleven student teachers from the United States have been in Hamburg since mid-May and stay with host families for four weeks, not only to gain practical experience by visiting bilingual schools, but also to take part in excursions and seminars offered by the University of Hamburg (UHH). Here, they have the chance to discuss and reflect their experiences, especially with regard to their own intercultural learning. All this is part of an exchange program between the University of Hamburg and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) – between the faculty of Education (TEFL, Prof. Dr. Andreas Bonnet) and the School of Education (Prof. Dr. Lori Edmonds). Master students of education from the University of Hamburg visited Chapel Hill for four weeks in February.
On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the participants of this program were greeted by the U.S. Consul General Richard (Rick) Yoneoka and his deputy Laura Hammond, after they had been invited to the US Consulate of Hamburg. Both of them took a lot of time to discuss the students’ questions which resulted in a lively talk about their own biographies and their own experiences gathered abroad.
The General Consul passed on the message to the students that exchange programs and bilateral conversations are very important. With regard to their professional and personal relationships, he encouraged them to network and pass the knowledge gathered from conversations on to their students and their surroundings. Rick and Laura put emphasis on the fact that particularly through controversial views of others individuals get a chance to reflect their own views.
These individual processes give opportunities for societies to develop and strengthen, especially with countries such as Germany and the United States, that share history and economic relations and have varying perspectives which can be taken and discussed. After this inspiring talk, students were able to enjoy the view from the balcony of the „Little White House“ onto the river Alster.
The exchange program StEP – currently taking place in its fifth year –encourages open world views, reflects stereotypes, helps networking and supports developing teaching skills.
Students who are interested can hand in their application for next year’s exchange by 30th June.
For more information on the exchange program:
Cooperation between the SoE of University of North Carolina (represented by Dean Fouad Abd-El-Khalik) and the faculty of Education of the University of Hamburg active since 2012/2013; since then the program was developed with regard to its content and its organization. For further information watch: https://youtu.be/et_oFY-CdgA