GERMAN SCHOOL ATLANTA: AN EDUCATION THAT KEEPS PAYING OFF
Several years ago our daughters were students at The German School Atlanta. On Saturday mornings it seemed as though the car automatically set out for Marietta and their Saturday morning foreign language class. Our background is not German, but this was the best modern, spoken foreign language that we could find for them. One of our daughters had a teacher in her public school who also taught at the German School. This teacher told our daughter about it and that put our children on the path to learning to speak German in spite of the fact that we had never been to Germany. The education that they took the opportunity to obtain at GSA has continued to pay off for both of them, but especially for the older sister, Maggie. This past January, in Egypt, her German language skills helped her get the information she needed to leave Cairo as the Egyptian revolution was starting.
Maggie and some of her friends had been in Luxor on an archeological dig with Johns Hopkins University, where she is a PhD student. They had already purchased their return tickets and left Luxor planning to visit friends in Cairo for a couple of days. They arrived in Cairo Thursday and were scheduled to leave Saturday. On Friday, the revolution began. The internet and cell phone service was disconnected. They were staying in a hotel but were uncertain of what would be the best procedures to follow.
In an effort to get information and possibly find a safer place to stay they called all the embassies the group had affiliation with: American, Canadian, and British. No one had any useful suggestions for them. In a last ditch effort to find out what they should do, Maggie called the German Embassy, speaking German she learned at GSA – this time, she was finally able to speak to a helpful person. The group was told that there wasn’t really much that could be done to help them at the moment but they should wait for a lull in the rioting and then try to get to the airport. The German Embassy was fairly certain that if they got to the airport they could leave Egypt since the airport was not yet closed and flights were allowed to depart. Maggie and her travel companions trusted and took the advice and were able to leave Egypt with nothing worse than sore throats from tear gas.
For the parents waiting here in the USA, that was a very long weekend. We had very limited communication with Maggie and her traveling companions. However, we did know that they had been given some advice by the German Embassy that they felt they could trust. We are forever grateful for the wonderful language education Maggie and her sister had at the German School of Atlanta and for the wonderful person at the German Embassy who gave Maggie advice that helped her and the other students leave Egypt before the most tumultuous days of the revolution.