Logan exchange program introduces generations to German culture

As society turns more and more global, Logan High School in La Crosse is making sure its students have an opportunity to learn about other cultures firsthand.

The school’s German American Partnership Program brings German high school students to America for about two weeks.

While in the states, they stay with an American student’s family and go to class at Logan.

The following summer, it’s the American student’s turn to visit Germany.

Even though it’s not a very long stay, both American and German students say they’re learning a lot.

“You get to know someone from a different country and you get to see what their culture is like and you get to show them what yours is about,” said Logan sophomore Aspen Popoutsis.

Jan Bieringer is staying with the Popoutsis family and says, “Everything’s nicer. People are nicer, they say ‘Hi. How are you?’ Traffic stops when there are people, so that’s good.”


There are 24 Germans students here visiting from Freidberg Germany.

The program provides students with an inside look into a different culture.

It leaves them with an authentic experience rather than just a tourist’s view.

The opportunity is one generations of Logan students have taken advantage of.

The German American Partnership Program has been at Logan for 24 years.

While some families may be nervous about hosting, for one Logan alum, her history with the program made it an easy decision.

Logan alumni Jana Wuensch went to Germany in the summers of 1993 and 1995.

She knows firsthand the excitement of experiencing Germany through Logan’s exchange program.

“It helped you realize there are possibilities. You can do stuff out there,” said Wuensch.

When Logan’s German teacher called her up and asked if she’d host a German exchange student, it was an easy decision.

“I was like, ‘Yes we will do it! No problems!'” said Wuensch.

It’s an experience that’s come full-circle for Wuensch; her daughter Abi is a freshman and is part of this year’s exchange.

“They need to see what it’s like in America just like we need to see somewhere else,” said Abi.

Abi’s exchange student Meryem Bas has some family history of her own that led her to America.

“My sister did this eight years ago and she said it was awesome and a great experience and so I said I wanted to do it too,” said Bas.

So far, there’s been plenty to learn all around.

“They have longer school than we do,” said Bas.

“Yesterday we just tried peanut butter for the first time and a Dairy Queen Blizzard,” said Abi.

“It’s different, as a parent you’re taking a step back, letting the girls connect,” said Jana Wuensch.

Even though Bas is heading back to Germany next week, she’ll only have to wait until the summer to switch roles with Abi and be her host.

“I will show her my home, my friends and my school. I want to see if she likes it or not. I will show her different places to go shopping and stuff,” said Bas.

While some parents might be nervous to send their child across the ocean, Wuentz can’t contain her excitment.

“I’m like, ‘Goodbye! See ya later.’ I can’t wait for her,” said Wuensch.

During the 24 years the program has been in place, there have been 13 exchanges.

The city of La Crosse is the sister city of Freidberg, Germany.

That relationship came about as a result of Logan’s exchange program.