Football players

German students learn about the differences between German and American schools and about cross-cultural business negotiations


GSG During his return visit to Lüdenscheid, Michael Puglisi, who was an assistant teacher for English during the 2005-06 school year at GSG, led a workshop for those in the 9^th^ and 10^th^ classes, and some in the 13^th^ class who were taking their oral Abitur exams.


While Mike initially said that he wanted to focus on cross-cultural business negotiating between Germans and Americans, his assistant, Halina Bause, helped him a little bit to steer the discussion in a direction that was more applicable to the students who attended. Halina, who had studied in America the fall before, helped Mike come up with topics that would be more interesting for students: what school is like in America .

To make the presentation fun they decided to include some role-playing activities.  In the end, Halina took the role of the American school teacher, instructing her pupils in technical cheerleading moves, as well as teaching them that raising their hands was unusual in American schools, and that they were not allowed to leave the classroom to go to the bathroom without a hall pass.

Mike then led a short discussion on German-American cross-cultural relations, focusing on major differences that Germans and Americans come across when they meet, laced with many of his personal examples, such as his difficulties at the beginning to use “Sie” and “du” properly.

The most fun activity, however, was the role playing simulation of lunchtime in an American school, with the participants divided up into three groups: football players, nerds, and cheerleaders.  Students in each group were instructed on how to play their roles and a couple of students were selected to act as exchange students who had to try to find a group to fit in with. In order to sit with the nerds, the exchange student had to have an overall grade of no worse than 1,1, and using the wrong type of nail polish disqualified an exchange student from sitting with the cheerleaders.  The football players, on the other hand, didn’t really care. They just sat there throwing a football around, and occasionally hitting nerds for fun.

All in all, those who participated not only got to enjoy some pizza, but also got tips from Halina and Mike on what it’s like to be an exchange student, and got a little bit of a better idea of what to expect when meeting Americans.