Consulate official offers glimpse at life in Germany
LONDONDERRY — While students in Susan Trammell’s German classes may already have a decent grasp of the language, they don’t often get the chance to chat freely with a member of the German Consulate General’s office.
But on Thursday morning, when Dr. Peter-Paul Henze, science liaison officer to the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, made himself at home at the head of a Londonderry High School classroom, that’s exactly what happened.
Henze, a native of Berlin who is now based in the Boston consulate office, came to the head of the class after being invited by student Brad Herrick, one of Trammell’s students.
Several dozen students from the German class as well as the school’s bio-technology course attended Henze’s presentation.
“His knowledge of the life sciences as well as his ability to share language and cultural insights with the students gives them the opportunity to see their subject matter used in different ways and for different purposes,” Trammell said.
Henze said one of his favorite parts of working for the German Consulate is supporting schools in teaching his native language, noting that about 100 million Europeans are fluent in German. And while most Germans speak enough English to make the nation a welcoming spot for tourists, Henze said encouraging language proficiency “as a valuable tool to communicate directly with one of the premier economic and technological hotspots of the world” is a “fundamental mission.”
During his hour and a half presentation, Henze explained the Consulate’s structure and function and gave a brief overview of some of his country’s recent accomplishments on the science and technology fronts. He noted that while there are German consulates in over a half-dozen different cities, the Boston location is specifically tasked with New England regional issues.
“Boston is a very important city for us,” Henze said. “It definitely rivals San Francisco when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship.”
The consulate office assists Americans in obtaining visas to work in Germany and Henze reminded the students, many of who are preparing for college and careers, that his homeland is rife with opportunities.“We’re very interested in attracting people to come work in Germany,” he said.