Kompetenztag: Meet US – Lecture Discussion

This year, our school’s so-called “Kompetenztag” for grade 12 revolves all around the preparation of the written draft of our “5. PK”. However, another part of the programme was meeting political representatives of the countries USA, Israel, Belgium and Serbia as well as the German State Department (Auswärtiges Amt). We took part in the lecture-discussion provided by the US Embassy’s Meet US programme.

The 2018 US elections were held in the United States on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Thus the midterm elections as well as transatlantic relations in times of the Trump administration and many other aspects of the American political system have played a crucial role in the “Meet US lecture-discussion”.
The discussions regarding the USA were held between 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM in our assembly hall, interrupted by a 30-minute lunch break, in which we switched groups.
The two representatives who introduced themselves as Andrew and Jamie, two students and congressional interns from New Hampshire and rural Idaho, opened the discussion and we were given the opportunity to discuss and ask questions about congress, environmental issues and attitudes as well as social troubles in the USA and Europe. Various topics such as, for instance, gun control, climate change in combination with the Californian forest fires, as well as international conflicts and Health Care played a major part. However, as interesting as current incidents are, we also got to know about their mostly positive personal experience while living here in Germany. It seems like the German plastic bottle deposit system, as well as our national cuisine and friendly, helpful behaviour have made a good impression.
All in all, it was a fascinating experience and has given us great insight into US-American politics and society. No matter what the student’s question dealt with, both of them managed to find an understandable and fitting answer for each. The entire 90 minutes of our group’s discussion were filled with interesting topics and answers. It was quite difficult to become bored during this political, environmental, social and sometimes personal discussion. Due to the representatives’ very friendly and welcoming attitude, everyone felt comfortable enough to ask questions to fill the entire lecture. We could have gone on and on but our time was limited.
(Marlene Ritzsche, L102/SD & Bianca Knerr L103/SH)