students in Germany

Students Enjoy Cross-Cultural Experiences

June 14 through July 15, Lancaster Mennonite High School (LMH) students traveled to Germany to spend three weeks with German partner students, attending school, taking side trips and experiencing German culture.

In 2000, LMH began a  German exchange with Kreisgymnasium, a university preparatory high school located in Bad Krozingen, a town just south of Freiburg and about an hour north of Basel, Switzerland. The Rhine River and France lie just ten minutes by car to the west, and ten minutes to the east sits the Black Forest.  This picturesque and idyllic setting has inspired the students of the previous five LMH exchanges to study German in college, and several have been on short-term mission teams to Germany.

The Germany trip this summer began Wednesday, June 14 when they flew from Philadelphia overnight and landed in Frankfurt. They went straight to Munich by train and stayed there for three days. From there, they took a bus to Freiburg where their host families met them and took them to their homes in the Bad Krozingen area. On Monday they began attending Kreisgymnasium.

Along the way, they experienced life in school and life with their host families. They took day trips to Heidelberg, the Black Forest, Freiburg and Strasbourg where they toured the European Union Parliament. They hiked in the Black Forest and on Heilegeberg, the mountain on one side of Heidelberg.  On July 15, they met at the train station to depart for the airport and say farewell to their host families. A number of the host parents were crying – a good sign that the exchange had been meaningful and the relationships positive.

LMH German teacher Jon Metzler regularly leads these trips to Germany and arranges for student exchanges with Kreisgymnasium Bad Krozingen in Germany.

“Language is very much a cornerstone of culture,” Metzler said. “As we study language, we examine culture, think about the reasons things are expressed differently and recognize the things which we have in common.” He especially likes to look at how the English language is really Germanic at its roots.

“I like to teach clothing and food the most,” Metzler said. “Food is also one of the cornerstones of culture, so studying German becomes tasty as well as fun!”

Students who have studied German or who are interested in studying German and learning about the German culture were welcome to participate. The group included Max Brubaker, Chad Dinger, Nelson Habacivch, Chet Hoober, Matthew Kirk, Clayton Nafziger, Joshua Watson, Gabe Willig, Brooklyn Gable, Samantha Harker, Sarah Phillips, Saige Shenk, Ashley Spangler, Fiona St. Clair and Shae Stoltzfus. Chet Hoober was not in Metzler’s German class, but said he wished he had taken German after experiencing Germany.

Participants in the exchange were matched with German students, who will come to LMH for three weeks in October/November.


A group of Lancaster Mennonite High School students stopped for a photo at Nymphenburg Castle in Munich when they traveled to Germany from June 14 through July 15.

Back row (l-r): Jonathan Metzler, Nelson Habacivch, Max Brubaker, Clayton Nafziger, Matthew Kirk, Joshua Watson, Chad Dinger, Gabe Willig

Front row (l-r): Caleb Metzler, Kate Metzler, Ann Metzler, Ashley Spangler, Fiona St. Clair, Samantha Harker, Shae Stoltzfus, Saige Shenk, Brooklyn Gable, Sarah Phillips



China Trip

Each year, LMH Chinese teacher Xiaodong Fan leads a trip to China, which includes students from the Hershey Campus and Lancaster Catholic High School where he also teaches Chinese language.

They traveled to big cities such as Beijing, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing and Shanghai, where they experienced being a student in a Chinese high school and in a middle school, going on a Yangzi River cruise, watching the Beijing Opera and Acrobat Show, visiting  Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, climbing the Great Wall, and eating authentic Chinese cuisine. They also visited Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum near Xi’an in Shaanxi province, which contains the famous 2,000-year old Terracota Army.

A native of mainland China, Fan first came to the United States in 1989. After the trip, he stayed in China to visit his family until the start of the school year at LMH. This was the fourth trip he has led to China since coming to LMH to teach Chinese.