For over twenty years, Union High School has been conducting a short-term exchange with German schools. Every two years the German students come to Union and, in the alternate years, some UHS German students make a trip to Germany and, sometimes, to other German-speaking countries.

While visiting the school, the students live with families from the host school for two to three weeks, attend classes, visit interesting sites and experience “normal” everyday life with the families. The GAPP program is supported by the German and American State Departments as a way to foster international friendship and understanding.

Currently, Union’s partnership school is the Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium (a college prep school) in Lauterbach, Hessen, Germany. Lauterbach is located about 40 minutes northeast of Frankfurt in the Vogelsberg area. It is a beautiful town with half-timbered construction and numerous sites from several hundred years ago. Students from neighboring small towns come to Lauterbach to attend the college prep school.

Nineteen students and two teachers will be arriving on April 17th and staying with UHS families until April 30th. During their stay, they will travel to Des Moines to explore the Iowa Hall of Pride and Living History Farms. A trip to the Mississippi River Museum will take place on April 22nd. UHS and AvH students will tour an Amish farm, visit the Kalona Creamery and spend time with a Mennonite guide at the Kalona Historical Center. Of course, the AvH students will spend time at the Dysart Historical Center and the LPC FFA Museum!

Families will be opening up their hearts and homes to their exchange students. The guests participate in the classes and activities of their hosts. Hosting families make other excursions and come up with unique and interesting events. Many lifelong friendships are established. With today’s easy media connections, the students can be in continual contact, sharing their daily lives with each other. They share their culture and language, learning much while enjoying time together.

To learn more about the German school, visit their website:

To learn more about Lauterbach, go to:

Join us in welcoming these guests to our communities and showing them the best Iowa has to offer. Stay tuned for updates and happenings!