Thursday, January 22, 2015

National German Exam for High School Students

I gave the first part of the National German Exam for High School Students to some of my students today.  The NGE is a test sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German which has been given to second, third, and fourth year high school German students across the United States for the past 55 years.  Doing well on the exam is one of the criteria used in selecting students for a four week summer study-trip to Germany.

This was the first time I gave the NGE, and it was the first time it has been given at my school, as far as I know.  I'm very proud of my students who chose to take the test.

The NGE holds a special place in my heart because I took it when I was a high school student.  I did well enough on the test in my third year of German that I got to spend four weeks in Germany during the summer of 1990.  It was after the Berlin wall fell in November 1989 but before East and West Germany reunified in October 1990.  I lived with a host family in Nürnberg for 3 weeks and then traveled through East Germany to Berlin for a week.  It was an incredible experience and definitely played a major role in my decision to return to Germany for a year as an exchange student, major in German in college, and become a German teacher.  

I was the first member of my family to travel abroad.  Since then, my parents have traveled to several different countries and hosted college exchange students from Hungary and Poland.  I have been back to Germany multiple times and maintain close ties to my host family from my year as an exchange student.  I studied Russian in college, too, and spent a semester studying in Russia.  The National German Exam started me on the path to all of this.  Maybe someday one of my students will also get a chance to go to Germany because of the NGE... 

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