On June 18, fourteen students and two teachers departed from Rutland High School for southeastern Germany on our first exchange trip with our partner school Gymnasium Grafing. This exchange trip and partnership are supported by GAPP (German American Partnership Program). During their twelve day trip, RHS students lived with German host students and their families. RHS students attended school at the Gymnasium Grafing. They had the opportunity to shadow classes like English, Italian and History, where they engaged in lessons with students and teachers, including a fifth grade English class and small group debate. They spent time researching and creating a project on how German history is presented in the school curriculum. Additionally, they participated in German cultural activities including a meeting with the mayor of Grafing, a historical city tour of Munich, and a town wide summer solstice festival. They also got to experience what day to day life in a German family is like.

In such a short time, students were able to create meaningful and lasting relationships with students from another country and culture. Megan O’Connor was quoted on GAPP’s facebook page on the International Day of Friendship as saying “I have found such good friends in the exchange, American and German. We are our own little family.” When the new school year starts, RHS will host our German friends in Rutland for two weeks from September 1-September 15. We are excited to share our school and community with them, and show them all the great things that RHS and Rutland have to offer. We are also looking forward to continuing this exchange with Gymnasium Grafing and GAPP in the future.


The Rutland-Ishidoriya Student Exchange Program (RISE), now in its 32nd year, provides a great partnership and cultural exchange with our sister city in northeastern Japan. Last June, Rutland sent six students and a chaperone to the area – now known as Hanamaki – where they had the opportunity to explore the city, visit several schools and interact with the students and teachers, learn about the area’s history at several museums, and meet with local dignitaries.

The group also had privilege of living with local host families for a week to experience daily Japanese life first hand. To wrap up the trip, the RISE delegates spent two days sightseeing in Tokyo.  RISE is very excited to continue the exchange program as they prepare to host a delegation from Hanamaki this fall!


With sincere thanks to PEG TV for their video contributions.