Six Fulbright Germany scholars passed through Hermann last week as part of their “On the Road!” event to explore the American Midwest and engage with some local communities. They spent the day touring Hermann’s museums, culminating in a dinner program at the Tin Mill Brewery, where they shared experiences from the road and three German students shared photos and stories from their hometowns.
Megan Hull, from Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of the three American students in the program. She said she never expected the German culture to be a part of her life.
“I knew if I took German for two years, I could go abroad for the summer and stay with a host family, and then say goodbye to that part of my life,” she explained.
It turns out that both families became friends, participating in family social functions in America and Germany, for the past ten years.
“I still learn German today because I want to keep this relationship alive and continue to cultivate that,” she added.
She said she wound up studying German literature and international relations in college and helped her apply for Fulbright Germany.
She shared a story about a 10th-grade schoolbook that was used by geography students she worked with in a German school.
“It was very British focused,” she said. “There was only one chapter on America in this entire textbook. It had a few American cities [featured], San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago and one American town.”
She said the first question she was always asked by her students was, “Have you been to Hermann, Mo?”
“They know you guys only have one traffic light in the entire town!” she shared. “This is what all exchanges are about. It’s about putting a face behind this place you may or may not know. I’ve learned so much about my own country, by visiting my own country through the lens of Germany.”
She said she was excited to text and email students and teachers she worked with last year to tell them about all the wonderful sights she has seen in America, that she hadn’t seen before. And she will add one more thing to those texts and e-mails.
“Guess what?” she teased. “I went to Hermann, Mo.!”