Embark on a voyage of learning

Marilya Reese

The ISH on Othmarschen's Waitzstrasse was a new universe for a twelve-year old seventh grade monolingual from a small town in Oklahoma/USA. Looking back after my thirty-three years as a professional in higher education in the USA, I view the three years I spent at ISH between 1972 and 1975 as ideal for the proverbial broadening of horizons. The larger share of our new experiences were provided by the memorable, multi-national ISH teachers, who, though often strict, were nonetheless obviously driven by their collective determination to push  students from (as I recall) some 40 nations further in our education. The community in and outside of school hours was as important as the content of the lessons—my closest friends, from Japan, Iran, Germany, USA, Scotland, & Israel—were the lens that focused my image of global citizenship.  We were more than hybrid, and all languages were encouraged. So German, spoken with any number of accents,  soon became students' secret language. Over forty years later, German defines me as much as English does, both personally and professionally. I don't return to Hamburg as frequently as I would like to, but it is one of my lifetime homes, at least in spirit.