Much to the disappointment of many students, the German language and exchange program at South Eugene High School will no longer be available to students after Fall Semester is over. There are currently sixteen German high school students from St. Wendel in the exchange program right now at the high school, but they will be the last students to participate. Even the students from Eugene will not be able to take their annual Germany trip in the spring or summer as they normally would. The results of the program are still undeniable even as it comes to an end. As the German students are immersed in English language at the high school and with their host families, the need for German translation has become almost unnecessary for the exchange students. Many of them have spoken in fluent English about their disappointment over the program ending, because it was the program that enabled them to become fluent in the first place.
Japanese Language is on the Rise
There will still be one class during the Spring Semester for the German language students, but this year could be the last of the entire program. The South Eugene School was once rich in language programs, but this year all of the classes have been cut except for four. The largest class size of any of the remaining language courses is Japanese. It has over sixty student enrolled this year compared to the eighteen or twenty still enrolled in the German class. Though the German program has been in existence for over twenty years, it seems that Asian languages are becoming more popular as business with various Asian countries has increased in the United States. Schools dedicated to Chinese and Chinese translation are becoming more and more popular across the country. Japanese is also becoming more widely available in school districts as well.
The German language students are not going to be abandoned though. The students will still be able to take the class at their high school through this year, and students who wish to continue can take classes online through the University of Oregon. One student even obtained an independent scholarship and will be spending her senior year in a school in Germany. After this year though, the only classes that will be available on the South Eugene High School campus will be French, Spanish, and Japanese. The new languages will not participate in exchange programs like the German program did, and this could have an impact on the enthusiasm for learning the languages to provide translation services for visiting foreign students. However, the enrollment in the new Japanese class suggests that enthusiasm is present, but only time will tell if the language is being retained by the students.
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