German Exchange Students


Laurel McGovern with her exchange student Kata

Jackie Lewis , Staff writer

The visiting of the German exchange students was a wonderful opportunity for both our school and the sponsors who hosted them. Arriving from the exotic cities of Germany, they landed in the houses of trusted sponsors.  Through a program run by their school, students in Germany were able to experience life in America for two weeks.  Students from our school were able to apply to be sponsors for these exchanged students, who lived in their homes ranging from the 22nd of September to the 6th of October.

Students were able to host multiple exchange students at a time, and sheltered them in their own home.  As much as the exchange students had to adjust, so did their sponsors.

“It was weird at first, having someone else in the house,” said Laurel McGovern, a freshman who hosted an exchange student named Kata.

Of course having a stranger living in your home for a couple of weeks will be strange at first, but sponsors adapted to this change and connected with their exchange students.  This doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard for the exchange students either. They had to adapt to being away from their families and living in a new house.

I think she really adjusted to our family life a lot, and she really wanted to engage with us.  It wasn’t like she was hiding away in her room,”

— Laurel

“I think she really adjusted to our family life a lot, and she really wanted to engage with us.  It wasn’t like she was hiding away in her room,” said McGovern about her exchange student Kata.

The exchange students were also very social outside of the homes they temporarily took shelter in.  Aside from visiting school with their sponsors for a day, they were also able to venture out to school events with their sponsors.

“They went to the football games, they were really social with people at the football games, they had a lot of conversations that were really good and they got along with everybody when they came to school,” said Gretchen Knutsen, a sponsor, about her two exchange students Paul and Knud.

As much fun both the sponsors and exchange students had, sadly they were set to leave after two weeks in America.  Knud, an exchange student went off to Paris after his two weeks, while others traveled back home.

Students at Heritage High School were able to sign up to be a sponsor, while exchange students went through a much more complicated process. Many were either selected in their English classes or participated in a contest.  They would then write letters to their sponsors about themselves, and sponsors would select their exchanged students based off of these letters.

All in all, this was a great experience for both the sponsors and exchange students.  Sponsors were able to learn about Germany’s culture, and the exchange students were able to learn about ours. Addition to the new experiences, there was also plenty of fun mixed in for the sponsors and students.

“It was a lot of fun, they are really fun people and we had a fun time,” said Knutsen, a sophomore host, describing her time with her exchange students.  Apparently it was a lot of fun.