The AmerikaHaus@School project brings transatlantic topics and speakers into schools, informing students about current issues in politics and economics, and spreading interest and joy in American culture. By meeting and interacting with experts as equals, AmerikaHaus@School allows young people to critically discuss relevant social issues and fosters an interest in the transatlantic exchange.
The AmerikaHaus NRW e.V. offers school seminars taught by a native speaker for English classes at schools throughout NRW. Our American Dream seminar presents the fundamentals of the American Dream, its successes and where it falls short, our US Education Seminar explains the US education system, its presentation in Hollywood compared to the reality for American students, and our US Elections seminar offers a look into the US electoral system, with a special focus on the important and often confusing electoral college.
For more information and booking details please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions to be discussed
in The American Dream Seminar
- What is the American Dream?
- How does it change through the centuries? What are its origins? What is it now?
- How does the American Dream compare with the real lives of Americans?
- How do different ethnic, religious, and economic groups experience this "dream"?
- How is the American Dream represented in American literature? American politics?
in The US Education Seminar
- How is High School portrayed in US media? How does that compare to real life?
- What are the differences between German and American high schools? Between German and American universities?
- How important is a university education in America? What factors go into choosing whether or not to go to University?
- How do international students apply for US universities?
in The US Elections Seminar
- What are the fundamentals of democracy in the USA? Who votes? How do they vote? Who do they vote for? How is this different from voting in Germany?
- How did US democracy develop? Who had the right to vote when the US was founded? Who has the right to vote now?
- Midterm elections are coming up this November! What are they? Why do they matter?
- What is the electoral college? Why does it exist? How does it work?
US poet gives Workshop at the Trude-Herr-Gesamtschule in Cologne
On May 30th 2022, in cooperation with Holtzbrinck Berlin, we initiated a new event format which we’ve titled “Authors@School”. Berlin based U.S. Poet Tracy Faud visited the Trude-Herr-Gesamtschule in Cologne-Mülheim for a workshop which, geared toward older students, focused on the discussion, and writing of their own poetry.
Tracy Faud, born in the Mid-West, began writing poetry in her youth but it was only after working as a middle school teacher after finishing her time at University that she became a professional author. Since then she has published several books and has used this newfound experience to not only continue her writing but too, to continue teaching.
The Tude-Herr-Gymnasium’s pre-planned Project Day provided the ideal structure for an intensive two-part workshop. Tracy Faud spent the morning session teaching the fundamental characteristics of poetry in order to give students a foundation on which to begin working creatively. During a longer lunch break students worked with the previously analyzed poem I Remember by Joe Brainard which was used as a blueprint for their own creative work. The second half of the workshop saw participants presenting their work to much excitement and emotion. Faud relaxed the atmosphere by talking about her career as an artist and about her daily life in the USA. The latter aroused palpable fascination as many of the students were excited by the prospects of potential travel to the United States.
This personal insight, into writing and into the USA, has already posited “Authors@School” as a special new program that we are looking forward to continuing in the future. We would like to thank Holtzbrinck Berlin, Tracy Faud, the Tude-Herr-Gymansium, and all of our participants for this wonderful opportunity!
Intra-German School Project "East Meets West"
More than thirty years after European and German reunification, it has remained as important as ever to continue getting to know one another and to grow together again. The school project "East meets West" aims to promote a dialogue between students from the eastern and western parts of Germany about the coexistence of memory and contemporary perspectives. The project asks: what are the differences students experience coming from eastern or western Germany? What connects these groups? What separates them?
Two 9th grade classes from the Rahn Education Freie Oberschule Leipzig and the Waldschule Eschweiler are participating in this project. Students will enter into an exchange with one another through a three-stage process: first, the participating students will send each other packages with typical local objects, then they will talk to contemporary witnesses about their experiences during the times of the GDR and DDR, and ultimately exchange ideas about the realities of today and the future of these issues.
The project takes place in cooperation with the Deutsch-Amerikanischen Institut Sachsen (DAIS) and the Education Office of the Region of Aachen.
Field trip to the Military cemetery Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, and Vogelsang IP
Military cemetery Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, and Vogelsang IP
What do students know about recent German history? They might know some things from class and history books, but they rarely have the opportunity for direct contact with historical legacies. Only a few kilometers away from Aachen, Düsseldorf, and Cologne, this history can be experienced up close, in person.
The field trip “Ziemlich Beste Freunde. Germany – Europe – USA” is a one-day trip that we have run with history classes from schools in NRW. Students first visit the American war memorial in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, before visiting Vogelsang IP, former NS-recruitment and educational site, a stark contrast to the memorial as a place made by and for perpetrators, not of or for victims. The goal of this excursion is twofold, an the engagement with this dark chapter of German-American relations, and the acquisition of insight into the contemporary coexistence between Americans and Germans in a European context.
Seminars, Role Playing Exercises, and Summits
One example of our work in schools: in cooperation with Dr. Andrew Denison, director of Transatlantic Networks, AmerikaHaus NRW e.V. organized an event in the Ernst-Mach-Gymnasium in Hürth. Students of the advanced English course simulated a summit meeting between the US and Germany. During the first unit, the students were given a basic understanding of the political system in the US, and in the second unit they learned the basics of political decision-making structures. After which students focused on transatlantic cooperation and in groups, role played different political scenarios based on real life examples that they came to through research and discussion.
We are happy to offer readings with American authors at your school!
Joshua Cohen visited a senior class of the Hölderlin Gymnasium in Cologne to read from his book Four New Messages and to discuss it with students.
The famous author Holly-Jane Rahlens read from her novel Infinitissimo - The Man Who Fell Through Time (published in Germany as Everlasting) in the Christophorusschule Königswinter and the Gymnasium Fabritanium in Krefeld-Uerdingen. Overall, 100 students from grades 10 and 11 participated in this bilingual reading. Ms. Rahlens signed her books after the reading. Students gained insight into the work of the author, into how a novel is created, and had the opportunity to ask questions to Ms. Rahlens.