The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Katie Wallace

Max Schramm

Home city: Essen, Germany

Host Family: Senior Matt Zera

Grade: 11

What inspired you to become a foreign exchange student?

“I want to improve my English skills.” 

Did you get any say in where you studied?

“No, I didn’t. It was like Russian roulette: I signed up for the program, and then they decided who wanted to have me.”

Is there any language barrier?

“I have had English since first grade.”

What has your transition been like?

“It was ok. I got a big jet lag.”

Have you ever been to America before now?

“No, this is my first time.” 

Did you get any culture shock?

“No, not really. It is a little more extreme. The character of people or how they talk, less breaks in [between] the subjects, food is more sweet and that’s the main difference.” 

What has been your best experience here so far?

“My second day when I played tennis was nice. I went to the Cardinals game, which was nice, too. I think it was one of the first games in the season. Big stadium. It was [a] pretty cool experience. We don’t have baseball in Germany. So it’s my first time. I learned the rules a little bit. I know how to play now. I don’t know specific rules, but I can understand the game.”

What has been your most difficult experience here so far?

“I haven’t had any difficult experiences.” 

How does school here compare to school in your home country?

“School [here] is a little easier but different. In Germany, we just had classes like math, biology, physics and so on. Here, you can have Leadership, Medical Sciences [and] Government. That doesn’t exist in Germany or is included in other subjects.” 

Is there any specific aspect of home you miss?

“Yeah, my family, my friends and my neighborhood. I talk with my family weekly so I can tell them every week what I did and so on. [Also,] bread. Bread here is okay, but in Germany, it’s a little bit better [because of the] ingredients and taste.”

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