Guten Tag, Frau Morrow

Scott Convery

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“I’ve been here for so long that I would not go back. My family is here at this point, so the US has become my home.”

German native Elke Morrow, the newest edition to the FMHS staff is a month into her first year teaching German at Flower Mound, but her story began much earlier. She grew up Nuremburg, near the southern end of Germany. Going through her entire pre-collegiate education in Germany, Ms. Morrow notes some significant differences in the education systems of Germany and the United States.

“The school days are much shorter than they are here, everybody is out of school by 1:30 PM, but we learn a lot more material at a much faster pace, it can be quite stressful.”

High school here is certainly different than in Germany, Morrow explains,

“The German high school system has three tiers, which are made up of Hauptschule, which will prepare you as a skilled worker. Realschule will prepare you for a professional career such as office professionals, and Gymnasium which will prepare you for university, to have a career in academia, medicine or a legal profession.”

Morrow explained higher education and university, saying  

“If you didn’t go to Gymnasium, you won’t get into University. Simple as that. But keep in mind, college is free in Germany, so it’s just two very different approaches to it.”

After Morrow got her masters in Business and Economics, she was a logistics manager in the corporate world, traveling internationally frequently. In fact, her move to the United States was not her first experience living outside of Germany;

“I lived in Mexico for a year, Brazil for a year, and Saudi Arabia for a year, but that was all for business.”

After experiencing many walks of life in just about every hemisphere for her career, she decided to move to the United States.

“Why’d I move to the United States? My ex-husband,” she said, letting out a chuckle.

Adapting to the different expectations and structures had a learning curve for Morrow.

“The cultural difference [is something] that you don’t expect, the way people act, German customs compared to American customs, a lot of the expectations are different.”

And although Ms. Morrow has her own family here in the states, one’s place of origin always has a place in one’s heart. Morrow describes Germany in just one word; home.