Since 2013 will see the 25th anniversary of my Fulbright exchange year at Henry Foss High School in 1988/89, I would like to look back to that year.
Our welcome in Tacoma was warm and genuine. The friendship and the hospitality we enjoyed in the homes of several friends, and the friendliness we felt when our daughter was born, deeply moved us.
Visiting different parts of the country we were often overwhelmed by the breathtaking natural beauty of the landscape, and we realized that the U.S. was indeed the land of promise and wealth, but unfortunately of dismal poverty and neglect as well.
My colleagues and superiors accepted me without objections, and I never experienced any antagonism or irritation because of my nationality. Teaching students of so many different racial, cultural and religious backgrounds made me aware of my preconceived ideas regarding socio-cultural aspects and images in literature. Teaching at Foss provided me with new knowledge and a profound insight into the American high school system.
My exchange year was a rewarding and important experience. I was able to learn more about the American way of life, to enlarge my command of the English language, a critical distance to the German educational system and to diminish some stereotypes about my country.
When we arrived in Tacoma, we were strangers, when we departed we left many friends behind. I want to thank everybody who had been involved in making the exchange year a great and memorable adventure for us.