Mayor Marchione welcomes German exchange students to Redmond
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
October 17, 2012 · Updated 4:11 PM
On Tuesday afternoon, City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione, a number of students from the International Community School (ICS) in Kirkland and others received a crash course German culture, courtesy of students visiting the Pacific Northwest from Germany.
The 17 students, ranging from 15-17 years old, were part of an exchange program called Partnership International e.V., a nonprofit exchange organization founded with the vision of building bridges through cultural exchange for the development of individuals and a better world for all.
In a presentation at Redmond City Hall's council chambers, three German students — Vanessa Mangione, Ines Stiefken and Robin Suer — shared with the audience what life is like for them in their hometown of Wermelskirchen, located in western Germany.
The three discussed various aspects of their lives such as local cuisine, recreational activities, education system, historical sites and festivals and special events.
Following their presentation, Marchione asked Mangione, Stiefken and Suer a few questions about their current three-week stay in the United States and the Pacific Northwest.
Mangione said she has gone camping with her host family and saw the Olympic Mountains and thought the landscape was beautiful.
The German students are currently attending ICS — a choice school in the Lake Washington School District that accepts students from Redmond and Sammamish in addition to Kirkland — and staying with families within the school community.
In addition, a group of about 20 ICS students participated in the exchange program and spent three weeks in Germany in June.
Mechthild Schmees, a former German schoolteacher who organized the program with her husband Tony, said a big part of the program is teaching young people about tolerance.
"Being different doesn't mean being worse," she said.
Schmees has been involved in Partnership International for a few decades — traveling to various cities around the country — and said she was overwhelmed by how engaged and involved the parents have been on this particular trip.
"The Seattle parents are so great," she said.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at email@example.com or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.