German Exchange

Rachel Sloan

How would you feel if you woke up one day in a new country with a family that wasn’t your own, and all of your friends were left behind? For three students, this was reality, and a choice they consciously made. They entered themselves into the program and were selected by the people who house them here in America.

“I found out about the program through my school,” junior Michelle Grote said. “My teacher told me it would be the year of my life.”

Though they may be enjoying their time here, it is definitely a change from their homes in Germany.

“School here is completely different,” junior Laurens Kaultenbach said. “It’s longer, and they give me homework, but the classes are overall easier.”

It was a huge change for the students to come here, but they have adjusted well to the culture here.

“She’s [Michele Grote] really melted into the American culture,” Tennis coach Micheal Hjort said. “She now loves Skittles, chips and salsa. Her eating has definitely been Americanized.”

They have faced many obstacles being so far from home.

“It’s been hard being so far away from family,” junior Lena Withus said. “But at least it’s only for ten months.”

The students will be here for the rest of this year, returning to Germany in June. They came from all different schools and regions in Germany.

“It’s a lot of fun being here,” junior Yvonne Kahli said. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new people.”

The experience overall has a had a positive effect on both the students and the families hosting them.

“I think more students should house exchange students,” Hjort said. “It’s beneficial to both their families and other families around the world.”