Atlanta Blog 2016

Liebe Leserinnen und Leser,
auch in diesem Jahr sendet die Gruppe der Atlanta-Austauschschüler viele Grüße aus dem Staate Georgia. Wir feiern eine Premiere, denn erstmals haben unsere Schüler die Möglichkeit eine weitere Partnerschule, die Chamblee Charter High School, zu besuchen. Daher wurde die Gruppe der insgesamt 18 Schülerinnen und Schüler aufgeteilt, 8 von ihnen besuchen unsere bereits bekannte und geschätzte Partnerschule Brandon Hall School und die restlichen 10 sind Gast an der CCHS.
Unsere Schüler werden sehr unterschiedliche Erfahrungen machen, da die BHS eine Privatschule mit gewohnt kleiner Schülerzahl und sehr kleinen Lerngruppen ist und die CCHS eine öffentliche Schule, mit Lerngruppen, deren Größen vergleichbar zum THG sind. Die Chamblee Schule hat einen ausgezeichneten Deutschzweig, sodass hier der kulturelle Austausch auch in deutscher Sprache angestrebt wird, zumindest während der Deutschkurse. In allen weiteren Kursen und im Privaten freuen sich unsere Schülerinnen und Schüler natürlich darauf, ihr Englisch auf die Probe zu stellen und zu bereichern.
An dieser Stelle werden wir versuchen, regelmäßig unseren Blog zu posten und über unsere Erfahrungen und Eindrücke zu berichten. Alle 18 Schülerinnen und Schüler werden jeweils über einen Tag ihres Aufenthalts bloggen. Die Natur des diesjährigen Austauschs wird also sicherlich zwei sehr verschiedene und interessante Perspektiven auf das Schulleben und Leben in den Gastfamilien hervorbringen.
Warm regards from Atlanta
Steffen Teigelack und Erik Riemer

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10/3/16

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Mr Teigelack, Mr Riemer and Dr. Sauce, principal of Chamblee Charter High School

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Mr Riemer being interviewed for a school project at CCHS

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Brandon Hall students enjoying a healthy lunch in the dining hall

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10/4/16

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From left to right: Mr. Riemer, Mr. Kümpers, Mr. Neuhaus, Mr. Teigelack

Today we would like to introduce you to two important people in our transatlantic program: Mr. Kümpers, the godfather of our internship branch, who initiated the first contacts with Atlantan companies for Mr. Riemer back in 2010/11, and Mr. Neuhaus, who teaches German at CCHS and is coordinator of the exchange program on the western side of the Atlantic. Without those two, THG’s program wouldn’t be where it is today.

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10/3/16

Before I came to Atlanta for the exchange, I wrote with my exchange student Camille and I really liked her. So when we met yesterday I already knew something about her family, her pets and so on. I really like Camille and we always have something to talk about. Mostly we talk English, so that we can communicate, because her German is not so good. For me it is easy to speak English with her, but sometimes I do not know how to say something or I do not know how to describe certain words, but that is no problem.
Her family members are her father, her mother and her dog. Her parents are very nice, too, and it is also easy to communicate with them. Just sometimes it is a little difficult to understand her father. Her dog is very cute but she does not like visitors.
Today was our first school day, so we got up at 6:15 am. We had breakfast, took our lunch and went to school to meet the other exchangers at 7:30 am. The teacher Mr. Neuhaus showed us the school and it is so big. The school has two buildings. One for the normal lessons and the other one is more for art and sports. The school has four floors, a swimming pool, a field for baseball, a field for football and a stadium. The school has its own police officer and more than 1700 students.
After Mr. Neuhaus showed us Chamblee High School, the first period started at 8:15 am. My first lesson was physics. In this lesson I was without Camille and it was not so easy to understand English physics. The class was very loud, everyone talks, many students were on their phones and I wondered why the teacher did not say something against it. After this lesson I had art, again without Camille. This lesson was very nice and I started my own art project. After art I had my first period with Camille. It was human geography, which is a subject about different cultures in the world. The lesson after that was chemistry and it was interesting, because the head teacher could not see anything. So there was a second teacher and they taught together. In the middle of the lesson Camille felt sick and she left class without me. At the very end of the lesson she came back and we went to lunch together. After lunch we had band. It was great to listen to the music, but I could not join the band, because I do not play an instrument. After this we had world lit, where they talk about different authors of books, poems and so on. Normally I would have had British literature after this, but they took a class test, so I went to the library.
At 3:20 pm school was over for everyone, and after school Camille had marching band, so I sat there, watched them, and talked to other people. After this Camille’s father picked us up from school at 6:15 pm, and at 7:00 pm we had dinner.
It was a day full of new impressions in a country I have never been to before. The students at school came to me and talked to me, but I think the biggest difference I have seen today is that the Americans do their hobbies at school and the Germans in their free time. The classes I had were louder than the German ones and I wondered why the teachers do not care about this talking and sleeping during lessons.

Freyja Becker

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10/4/16

Hi to everyone who is reading this blog 🙂
Greetings from Atlanta!

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This is the Brandon Hall School.

I’m one of the eight students who go to school at the Brandon Hall School.
Like yesterday, my alarm clock rang at 6.00 a.m. I prepared my things to leave at 7.00 a.m. Although we leave early, the school doesn’t start early, it starts at 7.45 a.m. We leave so early, because every student at Brandon Hall has the chance to get breakfast in the dining hall.
Like every day we had four school periods. My school day starts with modern world history every morning, where we talk about the industrial revolution at the moment and why this could happen and because of who. There I am together with three other exchange students from Germany and two other students from Brandon Hall School. After this very interesting period, I had to go to literary genres, where we did a vocabulary test like yesterday, but not a written one. We had to go to a website in the internet where the students had made their own tests and the class had to do them. In those tests I didn’t know which answer was correct most of the time, because there were some words I hadn’t seen before, but sometimes it was obvious and I got some right. In the next period I had drawing. There we worked on a painting which will be like “POP ART”, with a picture of yourself, like the pictures from Marilyn Monroe. We had to choose one color out of blue, yellow and red. The other student from Germany, who is with me in this class and me, chose blue. The last period before the lunch break was United States history where the students learned more about the “Boston tea party” and some other events.
As the bell rang after the fourth period it was time to have lunch in the dining hall. There we could eat something, together with the other German students and the American students, who are all very friendly to us. After we ate our meals, we had ca. 20 minutes to sit in the sun and relax. I met a very nice person, who is a friend of my exchange student and I talked about everything we can talk about with him 🙂 .
As the bell rang another time we had to go to our next period. In my case it is Geometry, with a very nice teacher. The students in this class are also very friendly and helped me if I didn’t understand a question or an assignment. After this period, I had dance in the gym, together with a girl from my geometry class, so I can follow her to the gym every day. There the teacher asked me if I could teach them disco fox in one period, because they didn’t know it. In the class they prepared a dance for the spring event at Brandon Hall, but they didn’t prepare it as seriously as we’d do it in Germany, they had much fun at the dance and laughed very much in their period. In their dance class they could decide if they wanted to wear sport shoes, their socks or nothing of the two, because they do a leap in their choreography. Today I could join the choreography, like another person in the back of the group. It was really funny but also very tiring. For a good ending of school, I had geology, with a teacher who is very young and does a very interesting class. She has a snake in her classroom, seriously in a terrarium. When the bell rang at 3.00p.m I went to the office of my host mom in school, because she works here. Then my exchange student, by the way she’s a girl, went to the gym to play volleyball. I went with her because it is interesting to see how they spend their free time after school. A girl from my dance class asked me if I wanted to play volleyball too, but tomorrow they will have a match, so I thought it would be better if I joined the team in the next lesson if I could. After the volleyball training we left the school and drove home. There I relaxed in bed because you can think about what happened in school and hope the next days will be as great as today. And the school is tiring. At I think it was 6 p.m. when we had dinner. After dinner, I went to bed and fell asleep immediately.
After already two days at school I have realized some differences between the school here and in Germany. In this school here they have smaller classrooms and they aren’t like 25 people in class. Also they have a lunch break after four periods. After each lesson they have only four minutes to change the rooms. In every class the students are very quiet, not like the students in Germany, who talk much. If the students talk in class, the teacher will say “be quiet now” and every student is quiet. But every American person who I met was very friendly and helpful. Sometimes we had a little communication problem, because they speak too fast and I don’t understand some words, but then you can ask them what it means and they explain it to you. Living in my host family is very interesting because they have three dogs and a bird. The communication with them is very easy and I don’t have a problem to speak with them.
In the two days I’ve been here I learned many new things. One is that you don’t have to be shy when speaking to an American person. They are all very friendly and helpful. Another thing is that the dining hall at the Brandon hall school can prepare very different meals for each day.

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This is in front of the school. There you can sit and relax or wait for the parents to take you home.

I hope the next days here in Atlanta will be as amazing like the last two days here.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog about our exchange! 🙂

Fabienne Liedtke

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10/5/16

Today I woke up at 6:15 o’clock. I am staying with my exchange student Isabel Bradford. At the moment we are staying at the house of Isabel’s father Blake. My exchange family is very polite and they take care of me very well!

America is really impressive! It is a different way of living than in Germany. For example, most of the students, who are in the 10th grade are allowed to drive a car! Furthermore, most of the Americans have really big cars, so it isn’t just a stereotype.
However, Chamblee Charter High School is very big too. I think our school would fit four times into their school. On my first days it was a little bit confusing, but we always have somebody we can ask if we have questions. Moreover, the American students have just one break (for twenty minutes) in which they eat their meals. They have a big lunch box with many different foods like bread, strawberries, pieces of watermelons, nuts and biscuits.
In my first period I had world lit with Mr. Wallace. It was very interesting, although I didn’t understand every word it was easy to understand the content of what they were talking about. In the end of the lesson we watched a movie called Troy.

The second period was about AP environmental science with Mrs. Peterson. By the way, AP stands for advanced placement, in German it means „Leistungskurs“. We talked about sulfur cycles and bio-chemical cycles. At the end of the lesson we wrote a test about these themes. I didn’t know every answer but hopefully the test will be okay.

In the third period I had the chance to listen to the orchestra. In the orchestra there only were violins, double bass and cellos. It was really nice to hear some of their songs. My favorite song was „counting stars“!

After the orchestra I had German. I think you can imagine how German looks like. They were talking about what Germans and Americans are allowed to do at which age. Did you know that the driver’s license only costs about 20$ in America? That’s so unfair! In between the German period we had our break. The Americans have an extra room in which they take their break and eat something. Furthermore they have a library with Apple computers! This is very cool, isn’t it? Most if the students see the library as a place to hang out with their friends. After the break the students had to play a role play. It was very nice and sometimes really funny!

In my fifth period I had the subject chemistry. I am sorry, I really don’t know what the teacher talked about. All the technical terms are very hard to understand in English. „Be patient, do your job and get up“. Today our teacher gave a very nice speech in front of us. He said that chemistry is very important in our lives. He also said that we have to think positive. If we don’t think positive there will be depression.

In the sixth period I had AP world history. This teacher is the person, who spoke faster than everybody else, but it wasn’t difficult to know what she was talking about. I really liked that subject!

In my last period I had Writers Workshop with Mr Avett. In this class the students have to write texts or stories on the computer. At this time I read some of their stories. Today some students read their stories to the class and the other students had to find a headline for them.

After school we drove home with the school bus. In front of the school were so many school buses, that was unbelievable! I think there were around 20 buses! The Chamblee School has around 1700 students.
At home Isabel did some homework and I just read my book outside in their garden. By the way, they have a wonderful garden!
Later we went to a Waffle House to have our lunch. At this moment I thought that I would never be hungry anymore! This lunch was so yummy!! At 7 o’clock we went to Sarah’s house to have a movie night. We watched the film Mad Girls and after the movie Sarah’s older brother’s band gave us a private concert. That was really nice, one of the best moments since I’ve been in Atlanta!

All in all the exchange with the Atlanta students is really impressive and I would do it again! By the way, my English knowledge is getting better every day! When I talk to other German exchange students I just start to talk in English, that’s so weird!

Zoe Reusmann

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I started the day at 6 in the morning because I had to eat breakfast at 6:30 am. I love the breakfast in the US because it’s so different. I ate cheese with beef, eggs and bread. Very delicious. I’ve never eaten something like this in Germany.
At 7 am, my host mother drove me to school, like she does every day. In America they don’t have a good public transport. You can take the school bus when you visit a public school but the Brandon Hall is a private school. What I didn’t know at that time, was that the school began at 8:45 am, because of a meeting for all the students. Every Wednesday is like that because we only have one schedule for the whole time. That’s really weird and I don’t like it. So, after the meeting the periods were only 40 minutes long, although they usually last 50 minutes. That was very confusing. So my first class this day was modern history. The students in my class wrote a test, so I had nothing to do, which was a little bit boring. It’s quite hard for the students because the class and the classroom is so small that the teacher can see everything.
After modern history, I had an algebra lesson. Our teacher gave us some work which we had to complete. We had already done these topics in Germany, so it was really easy to finish. In acting, the classroom was much bigger than the normal ones. It was the auditorium, a big room with many seats and a stage in front. We built a stage for a play that they have to perform in one month. I love acting class because the teacher is really nice and there are only two American students. My 4th class was United States history. The other students were preparing for an upcoming test. Therefore, the other exchange students and I were given free time. In Brandon Hall you can use your phone or your computer the whole time because they work with it.
After United States history lunch was the next period and the food is very delicious which is very unusual for a school. On this day, they served chicken and mashed potatoes. Today the lunch break was longer than normal, due to the morning meeting. The first class after lunch was engineering, in which we talked about water problems in Germany. 6th period was drawing and painting. We tried to recreate a painting of a blackbird. It’s not really different to the German art lesson but the teacher isn’t talking as much as the teacher in Germany. Finally, we had literature in which the students took a test. Meanwhile, I read the magazine „Auto Bild“.
Then, the bell rang, and the school day was over. Marla’s host mother picked us up after school. She’s often going to pick us up because my host family has to work. We all went to a pet store, where we saw a very cute white bunny. Then we went to a shoe shop, but did not buy anything. We also visited a book store, where Marla bought two novels. I was then dropped back home and took a nap while waiting for Manav. In the evening I had dinner with my host family. We had grilled steak and garlic bread. That night, I went to the theater with Manav and his sister, where we saw the movie Storks. I think the cinema here is way cooler than in Germany because they bring the food to your seat and you have a table in front of you. Up to now I love the American trip. I can only repeat that this is completely different to Germany and I love it

Lennard Kalker
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These are some pictures taken from the Chamblee group’s trip to downtown Atlanta on Thursday and the movie and pizza night before.

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10/6/16

I woke up at 6:50. We started to school at 7:30, so I had to hurry up. The au pair of Ramon and my exchange partner, Ryan, drove us to school. At 7:35, we were at school and ate breakfast, which was very good and has been every time up to now.
It’s very amazing that the school does something like that for the students. I think it is a good way to make the school life easier and better, because it’s kind of home-feeling.
The first four classes, before lunch, were chemistry, French, acting and United States history.
The lessons were all done with laptops and the students almost never write on paper.
In chemistry we had to prepare a presentation about ourselves, which is called Pecha Kucha, and it was really funny.
In French, we did the things we had in Germany in sixth grade, which was very easy. I think, if I didn’t just stay here for two weeks, I would have a very good grade in French. 🙂 🙂 🙂
In acting, we invented a tube, where the snow will come out, when the students of Brandon Hall present their play.
In United States history, I just sat there and wrote down, what was written on the blackboard.
So it was very relaxed.
In these classes it was easy to understand all of the English terms. But later it got more difficult…
Then, after the first four periods, we got lunch. The lunch at Brandon Hall is very amazing. Every day, the food varies and every day, it is very, very awesome. They cook very healthy, so there were a lot of vegetables and fruits. I sat together with all kids from Germany, who are at Brandon Hall right now. It was very funny. We’re a crazy group of German students. 🙂
After lunch, I had the last three classes, American literature, world history and geometry. In American literature, we got some different work, while the American students of the class worked with the literature they read, which was kind of boring.
In world history, we talked about artefacts, which was very interesting.
After that I had geometry, with three other Brandon hall students, one girl and two boys.
That was more difficult to understand than the other subjects, because I didn’t know the English terms that were needed for geometry. So I think I look kind of stupid, because I had to ask a thousand times what they said or what is meant by this.
After school, Ramon, Maike, Lennard and I watched the soccer game, which took place at Brandon Hall and was very, very funny.
At 6pm, the au pair of Ryan picked us up and we went to a frozen yoghurt shop. The frozen yoghurt in America is the best I ever ate. I had the flavors green apple, watermelon, cotton candy and mango.
There was a big wall, full of flavors of frozen yoghurt. When we were at home, we had some time to relax before we went to Ryan’s father, where we had to sleep. His father comes from Germany and is very nice.
The best of the day was definitely the frozen yoghurt. What I think is very amazing and impressive is that all Americans I’ve met until now were friendly and open-minded. That’s a big difference to Germany. I’m very happy that Ramon and I got this host family, they are very nice and friendly and we have a lot of fun with them. I hope it will be like that the next 9 days too.
It was a very nice day, in a very nice country. 🙂

Joline Alves

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Friday night is game night. Some of our students spent it cheering for BHS’s soccer team from the sideline (THG’s very own Fabienne Liedtke as a cheerleader!), others were watching high school football.

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10/8/16

Hi,
I am Maja and I am staying at the Wright family, who are so lovely and friendly, I really like them. They always ask if I am okay and care very well for me. We (the family and I) do trips very often and they are a lot of fun.
Now we have a fall break and because of that we have a different daily routine than when we have school. That means that I usually wake up at 10:00 a.m. Today I woke up at 10:40 a.m. After I finished my daily morning routine, I had breakfast: bread with Nutella and fruit.
Because we have the break I always go downstairs to my room and chill a bit to get over the jet lag. Meanwhile I often watch TV shows on Amazon Prime or YouTube videos.
After that I start getting ready and then it is lunch time. For lunch we often eat something from Chick-fil-a. It is a fast food restaurant, where all of the dishes are prepared with chicken. It is very yummy.
After having lunch, we often do a trip. Today we went to Stone Mountain which is a giant granite rock mountain about 20 minutes east of Atlanta. We climbed the mountain, which took about an hour. And it was so exhausting! Once we finally reached the top, we had a beautiful view of the skyline of Atlanta. After we took weird photos of ourselves, we walked down and headed to the laser show, which was also amazing! The rock acted as a screen for the laser beams, but there were not only laser beams, but also fireworks and music. When the show was over we drove home and I was so exhausted.
The communication with the family is really good. I understand them and they understand me.
But if I do not know a word, I can ask Sarah (she is my exchange student) or her brother Will to translate the word, I do not know in English. However, I can communicate very well with the family.
After one week in America I can say, that everybody is friendly, not only the family, but also the teachers and students at school or the employees in the restaurants and shops.
One stereotype is that all the Americans eat fast food and that is absolutely the truth! In this one week the only healthy food I ate was an apple and a banana. The rest I eat was only fast food. For example one day we went to Chick-fil-a for breakfast. I had chicken nuggets and a kind of fries. It was so crazy. But I like it, because in Germany we do not really have the opportunity to eat fast food everyday (maybe it is because of my mum).
All in all I can say is that I am very glad to stay in the Wright family because everybody (the father David, the mother Sally, my exchange student Sarah, her brother Will, her sister Madelyn and the dog Charly) are so friendly. They do their best and I am so happy that they are so lovely! Now I will stay at their house for one more week and I am so excited!

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10/9/16

Hello to everybody who is reading this blog!
My name is Nis Hufnagel and I’m visiting Chamblee Charter High School with ten other students from THG. During the two weeks in Atlanta I stay with a really nice host family in a flat just ten minutes away from school. Ciera, my exchange-partner, is living together with her mum and they always make sure that I enjoy my time and am safe. After one week here I feel very comfortable and I habituated their way of living. America is so different to Germany. CCHS is much bigger than THG. About 1800 students go there every day. Next to a big cafeteria, library and a football stadium there is an impressive auditorium and a swimming hall too.
At the moment they got a fall break there. So there is no school from Thursday till tomorrow. That’s the perfect opportunity for our travel group to visit a lot of different places. There is a programme every day. We have been to downtown Atlanta already, went shopping in a big mall and climbed to the top of Stone Mountain.
Today was Sunday so I could sleep late. At 9:00 am I woke up because of the family’s dog. ‘Cause they moved here two weeks ago they had to give away their dog to friends for a month. On Friday night the dog got back to my family. He is really wild even in the morning when everybody is sleeping.
I took a shower and at 10:00 am my host mother showed me how to do a „real American breakfast“.
So I got some chocolate waffles, scrambled eggs and bacon. I think the Americans put as much sugar as possible into all kind of food. I talk a lot with my host mother. She is really funny and nice.
After breakfast I communicated with my family back in Germany. Because of the time difference it’s just possible to talk to people from Germany in the morning. At 12:00 am I got picked up by Anna, another student from Germany, and her host mother to drive to the mall. Ciera wanted to stay at home because she had to do a lot of stuff for school. The streets are a lot bigger than in Germany. In addition there is nearly no public transport so everybody uses their car to go somewhere. Sometimes highways got six or seven lanes one way and they are full of cars. After 15 minutes of driving we arrived at the mall and we got out of the car. Even malls are much bigger than in Germany. You can find every store in there. From clothes stores, over electronics shops to fast food restaurants…you can get nearly everything.
We finished shopping and at 3:00 pm and we stopped at the food court. Because we have had no lunch yet we were very hungry. We got sandwiches and drinks from Subway. After one week here I can say that the stereotype, that Americans eat fast food all day, is true. I think I never had that much fast food in one week before. Surprisingly there are no real restaurants here. Therefore you can find fast food at every corner. At 4:00 pm we got picked up again and on our way home we stopped at Walmart. The stores are open every day and also much bigger than the supermarkets in Germany. At Target (a store, you can find everywhere here) you get everything you need to live. At 8:00 pm I had some delicious chicken with vegetables together with my host family. We talk a lot and I am very happy about staying with them.
Half of the time of our visit is over and I am looking forward to all the new experiences, I will gain next week.

Nis Hufnagel

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10/7/16

My name is Hagen Richters and I am going to Chamblee Charter High School here in Atlanta. I am staying with the Cardot family, a very great and friendly family. They have two sons: Charles and Louis who are playing water polo on the same team.
My normal American school day starts at 6:15 when my host mother wakes me up. After this we have breakfast, which is so different to Germany. Here you typically eat pancakes or bacon and in Germany you eat a slice of bread. School begins at 7:30 so my host mother drives me and Louis to school or sometimes we drive with the yellow American school bus. Every day is the same at school. You have 7 periods and the same subjets. The school is so big. It has four floors and its own American football and baseball field.
Before the lessons start we meet at Mr. Neuhaus‘ room to talk about the day. My first period starts with chemistry. Wednesday we had an experiment where we threw 100 pens at a bull’s eye. In Germany we would never do such a thing but in America it’s kind of normal. After this period I had physics. They wrote a test so I couldn’t do anything in this lesson. The next class was German with the teacher Mr Neuhaus. He has been living America now for 25 years and told us everything about Chamblee Charter High School. On this day this period was the most fun. We made a quiz of guessing German words and were divided into four groups. Our group lost because we had the hardest words.
After that I had to go to computer science which is like „Informatik“ in German. During this period we had a lunch break. You can eat there or you can bring some food from home to eat it. Mr Neuhaus tells us that the canteen food is the same food like in all prisons in America so it is not exactly brilliant.
After that I had my last class because the latest was canceled: psychology. It’s a subject, which almost does not exist in Germany. We talked about the human eye, which was very interesting. Also some people of the class made a presentation. The bell rang and everybody screamed „schools out“, but for me the day was still quite long.
We went to a big burger restaurant and this was another big difference compared to Germany. The burgers are much bigger than in Germany and you can also create your own cheeseburger with the toppings you want. On this day the weather was amazing. It was 30 Celsius. We played soccer in the backyard and drove around the neighborhood with the bike. We ate dinner which was very tasty. I like my host family very much. They are very friendly and polite. Due to the long day and the jetlag, I went to bed very early. It’s a nice place here and I hope that the other days will also be as nice!
The other day I didn’t have school because of the fall break at my school so I could do something with the family and we went to a water polo tournament in North Georgia. The family often makes traditional American meals to show me their culture. It’s always tasty and I am a little bit happy that we do not go to a fast food restaurant everyday like other families. They also take good care of me and show me the different things here in the US compared to Europe. Almost every evening the whole family watches TV and they call it „TV evening“ and it’s very fun. We watch the newest movies or sometimes some classic movies. Fun for everyone! Another big thing that is very different here compared to Germany is the distances. In Germany you can drive for 30 minutes and find that you are in a big town while here in the US you can drive for 30 minutes and you are still not at McDonalds. That’s a big difference for me.
All in all I can say that America is a very great and bright country. Here you have many cultures which all come together. The food and drinks here are also very different compared to Germany. The people here are also friendlier than in Germany. They ask you if something is bad for you or if you are ok. In Germany the people are not doing this very often. I can say that this exchange is becoming a great experience for me and I hope that the next week is also as much fun as this week.

Hagen Richters

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10/8/16

I wake up at 6:30 AM every morning and get ready for school. I have 55 minutes to take a shower, brush my teeth and get dressed for school so that’s more time than I have in Germany and as a result it is much more relaxing. We are brought to school by the housekeeper at 7:25 AM so that we are there at 7:30 AM. Then we’ve got about ten minutes for breakfast because at 7:50 AM the teachers say that we should get ready to go to our classes. School begins at 7:55 AM.
My first class is chemistry which I have together with Max and Joline and there are only 7 people in class with the three of us included. The teacher Mrs. Farrel is very nice and calm and we don’t have to do very much but we have to make a picha kucha, which is a three minute presentation with 15 pictures describing ourselves. The students are very nice to us and helped us to orientate ourselves on the first day.
After chemistry I have French with Joline and Marla and with one other student from chemistry class. In French our teacher is Mr. Miles and he is a very nice teacher who is very enthusiastic at his job. In French we talk about the things we had in the seventh grade in Germany and I noticed that our accents are much better than the French accent of the Americans. Nevertheless they are making progress very fast and when they do something wrong they are trying to make it better next time.
After the French class I have art with Mrs. Flamer who is also very nice. I have art together with Fabienne and we are currently doing self portraits only with the color blue. Art is different in America because we are doing absolutely everything step by step very carefully and the teacher can also help more because there are not many students in class. We also have a very skilled guy in class and his work is absolutely amazing. Although we can’t reach the skill in painting and drawing of this student we still think we are doing well. You don’t have to be shy though because the students and teachers will always help you. I haven’t met a student who wasn’t nice and didn’t help me. Everyone will always help you if you’re lost. There even was one cool guy who left class to bring me to my room.
After I have had art I’m moving on to geometry. They don’t have math in general like in Germany but they have like algebra and geometry. First I’ve got to say that the geometry book that they have is humongous and it has about 800 pages. Our math book is nothing compared to this. In geometry they are doing what we had in seventh grade and it is very easy. Even though there aren’t any other students from THG in geometry class, there is this really nice boy called Xavier who guided me for the first lesson and the teacher Mr. Perkins is very calm and a bit strict.
After geometry class we have a break so that we can have lunch. The food there is delicious because it’s always fresh. We had bacon and eggs on the first day for breakfast and dough bags for lunch. We are sitting in the dining hall for lunch and even though you can’t put your phone out of your pocket in the dining hall, you can still have a good time talking to your friends.
After lunch I have computer science with Mr. Cody and he is the nicest teacher I’ve met at Brandon hall so far. In computer science we work with a raspberry pi which is a mini computer and we are working with virtual reality glasses too, to simulate Apollo 13. They even have a 3D printer in the computer science room which is absolutely awesome.
After computer science I have world history with Mrs. Peter, who is the second nicest teacher I’ve met at Brandon hall school. In history we are just chilling and looking at the presentations that Mrs. Peter is doing. The last lesson is literary genres with Mr. Oden and Lenny. Mr Oden is strict but he’s also very funny. Last lesson he broke a pencil because he was complaining that The Walking Dead takes forever and has no end. Most of the time, we are reading books and comics. School ends at three PM but Joline and I have to wait for Ryan, our host student. Ryan has soccer after school so we just wait in front of the dining hall and play with our phones and at 4:30 PM we get picked up by Miriam who is the Mueller’s housekeeper. She is very nice and she’s from Germany too. After we arrive at Ryan’s home we are just chilling most of the time. Many people of Ryan’s family speak German including himself because he lived in Germany for three years. Nevertheless we speak English most of the time. The host family is unbelievably nice. On Saturday we all went to Six Flags, which is an amusement park that is very big and maybe even cooler than the Phantasialand in Germany. We met some new friends there and we all had fun. Today we went to the birthday of a student and he celebrated at an arcade which was awesome. All I can say is that if you have the chance to come to America you should do it because it is just awesome and everyone at Brandon hall is nice.

Ramon Rebstock

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10/10/16

Hi,
I’m Paula and I’m living with a host family, who I really love, because we made a lot of trips and Bailey (my host student) and I have a lot of fun together. The parents are so friendly and they take good care of me. The mother cooks dinner for us and she cooks so well. They have two cats and two dogs, which are so lovely and cute. The house is very pretty and they have a little garden with a little fire place. I have my own room and my own bathroom, which is really pretty.
I am one of the students, who go to the Brandon Hall School.
So my alarm clock rang at 5:45 a.m. and we left the home at 6:20 a.m. We didn’t eat something, because we bought something at Chick-fil-A, which is a fast food restaurant. We drove into the drive in and bought a chicken burger and hash browns. This is something I’ve never eaten before, but it was really delicious. We ate it in the car and Bailey my host was driving the car.
At 7:20 a.m. we were on the school campus and we hung out and waited for the bell. So the first period starts at 7:45 a.m. and my first lesson was probabilities and statistics, which is one aspect of math. I have a really nice teacher and he explains math really well. In this class I am together with five other students.
After math I had music, but I cannot play an instrument. The teacher explained me something about notes and I played the piano for my first time. The other students from Brandon Hall can play instruments very well and it sounds so good. After music I had acting, which is one of my favorite lessons at Brandon Hall School. We built a tube for the next show which fires snow onto the stage. I’m not the only German in this class, because there are three other students from THG. So after acting the next class was British literature. I do not understand the lesson very well, but I am allowed to listen to some music or to use my cell phone. So did this and texted my family in Germany. The lesson ended at 11:17 a.m. and we had lunch.
We ate something in the dining hall, which is very pretty and the food was really good too. So the German students ate together and chilled outside. The next lesson was computer science and this is my favorite lesson, because we printed something with the 3D-printer. This was so interesting and I’ve never see this before. The next lesson was world history and there was just one student from Brandon Hall School and the other four students were from THG. The last lesson for this day was geology, which was very interesting, because we had the topic of earthquakes located in Hawaii. School finished at 3:00 p.m. and after that we drove home. We changed our clothes and we drove to the mall of Georgia. So we were in the mall for three hours and then we drove home.
I can understand Bailey (my host student) and her parents very well and they can understand me very well too. When I don’t know a word or something else I ask Bailey or her parents to explain me it’s meaning. Bailey and I have lot of the same interests, so we listen to our favorite songs in her car or we go shopping in a mall.
I think America is a very huge country and I love America so much, because all people I met are so friendly and open-minded. They are so nice to me, because they ask a lot of questions about Germany and about me. It’s so different from Germany, because Germany is so boring and the people aren’t as open-minded and friendly. In America, every day there is something new and I make a lot of new experiences.
All in all I am so happy, that I have the chance to be here because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am so glad to have my host family because we understand each other perfectly. So my family in Germany and this family in America have a lot in common. I will be so sad, when I have to leave, but I promised my host parents, that I will visit them. So I have just one week left with my lovely family and I will enjoy it a lot.

Paula Burbott

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Today Mr. Riemer and I co-hosted an informational evening on the internship and exchange program for Chamblee parents that were interested in it. We enjoyed talking to them and sharing our ideas of a mutually beneficial intercultural exchange.

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10/12/16

This is a picture taken in South Carolina at the Whetstone Academy, a therapeutic boarding school for young men. It’s new owner is our friend Dr. John Singleton, whom we have known since the days he was the headmaster of Brandon Hall School. He was so kind to invite Saskia Schieder to be an intern at his school for two weeks and today we paid them a visit on the occasion of which Saskia showed us around and explained the school’s concept.

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10/09/16

Hello guys, my name is Michael and I’m one of ten exchange students going to Chamblee Charter High School north of Atlanta. The school is much bigger than THG and around 1700 students go there.
I’m staying with Sherwin Shirazi, and Jakob Rechner is staying with his older brother Shawyon. My host family is from Iran, so I get to know the Persian and the American culture at once. The food was pretty good in the Shirazi family; we often have kebab and other tasty Persian stuff☺. The family is really nice to us; the grandma always wants us to eat something, everybody asks us if we are okay and we do many trips to interesting places. We mostly speak English, because Sherwin can’t speak German fluently. Their house is pretty big and they even own a part of forest. For breakfast we usually eat cereal or bread. Sherwin and Shawyon bring their own food for lunch, so their mother gave us small bags with sandwiches and other stuff. I’m sleeping in the same room with Jakob. I sleep in a bed and Jakob on a matress. Sometimes it’s a little bit annoying, because he snores and thinks that it’s funny to not wake me up in the morning.
Our host family doesn’t eat pork at home, because they are muslim, but I’m ok with it. Sherwin, Shawyon and their parents are not really religious, but their grandmother is, so they don’t buy pork for dinner at home, but they eat pork, when they are in restaurants. Their grandmother only speaks Farsi, but Sherwin could always translate everything. My trip has been much better than I had expected. I’ve expected the U.S. to be a heaven for fat people, gun lovers, Trump fanatics and racists, but it wasn’t like that at all. The first difference I’ve noticed was the giant cars at the airport. Most of the cars are either pick-ups or SUVs. When we were driving home (in a huge SUV), some of my American stereotypes seemed to be confirmed because there were food advertisements and U.S. flags everywhere.
My host family is from Iran, so I get to know the Persian and the American culture at once. The food was pretty good in the Shirazi family; we often have kebab and other tasty Persian stuff☺. The family is really nice to us; the grandma always wants to give us food, everybody asks us if we are okay and we do many trips to interesting places. On the first morning we woke up at 6:30AM, ate cereal and left the house. Most of the lessons were boring but some of the classes, for example German with Neuhaus or Geography with Karassik were pretty funny and interesting. I was really surprised about Mr. Neuhaus‘ students. The classes I had we’re pretty loud and many people were asleep, but the teachers didn’t care. The class rooms look completely different than in Germany. The chairs are fixed to the tables and there are American flags in every room. There are much more computers in every room available and the school’s technology is much better than in Germany. We were at home at 4PM and we went to Sherwin’s soccer practise at 5PM.
The soccer practise was pretty tough compared to my practise in Germany. The coach always called me „DeutschDeutsch“☺. Then we had kebab and bread for dinner. On Tuesday we went to Cora’s sixteenth birthday. It was a nice pool party and we had a real American cake: Icing, icing and more icing. This cake is probably the reason so many americans are fat. Maja’s exchange student Sarah has invited us to a movie evening in her house. Sarah lives in the coolest house I have ever seen. She has a cinema, a music room and a gym in her basement. We watched a funny movie named „Mean Girls“.
On Friday we went to Coca Cola museum. Our exchange student’s mom brought use there. We met the other German exchange students in downtown Atlanta. Then we bought tickets for the World of Coke, but Shawyon didn’t notice, that DeKalb County students get a 50% discount. He ran back to the box-office when we were already in the museum, but unfortunately they did not give us our money back. The museum was actually a brainwash institution; everywhere were pictures with skinny and happy people drinking Coke, but this is not how the average Coke drinker looks like. The most interesting room was the „World of Coke“-room. You could try a special Coca-Cola-Company drink for every country. The worst of them was a beverage named „Beverly“ from Italy. It tasted bitter and reminded me of shampoo. The least interesting part was the souvenir shop because everything was way to expensive. After visiting the World of Coke, we wanted to have lunch in a Waffle House, but it was to busy, so we went to the CNN center. The building was really impressive and huge and the food was really good too. Full and satisfied of the great food, we went to SkyView Atlanta. It is a giant Ferris wheel. When we were up there, we had a great view on Atlanta’s skyline and we took some funny pictures of us. We went to the national Center for Civil and Human Rights. The museum was informative and interesting. Most of it was about the Martin Luther King Jr. movement and women rights.

On the next day everbody except Sherwin and me went to Stone Mountain because we both had a headache. We came later to watch the laser show. The show was example of American patriotism; it was 10 minutes of „America is the greatest country of the world“. The show started with the national anthem and a song named „Georgia on My Mind“ by Ray Charles. It was hilarious, because everybody was making fun of this Ray Charles song. The rest of the show was about American Civil War, the awesomeness of the U.S. and the U.S. Army. Oh, and I almost forgot to say, that you could buy 5 liter cups of Coke and Hot Dogs. ‚Murrica
Yesterday we were at an amusement park called six flags with Cora, Maja and Freyja. Everything except the giant size of the park was pretty similar to German amusement parks. The roller coasters were awesome, especially because Maja was squealing all the time.
All in all, I can say that most of the Americans are not like I expected them. I did not see many fat people, no guns and not as many Trump supporters as I expected, but I did see many flags. The people are hospitable and friendly.

Michael Romanov

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10/13/16

Today we had a very productive meetig with Dean Fusto, headmaster of Brandon Hall School, and Justine McDonald, director of the exchange program. All of us are excited about continuing the program and building transatlantic bonds.

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10/12/16

Hello to everybody reading this blog. My name is Jakob and I’m visiting Chamblee Charter High School. During the two weeks in Atlanta I’m staying in a host family together with Michael Romanov. Our house is 20 minutes away from school and it’s very big. Michael and me have an own room with a TV in it. Our family is very friendly and nice.
On the one hand Michael can sometimes be annoying because he snores. But on the other hand we have a lot of fun together. He is always screaming at me because he says I wouldn’t wake him up although he already overslept the alarm 5 times.
When I arrived in America, the first thing I noticed was the big cars and the traffic. So these stereotypes are true. My American school day starts at 6:30. We all have to take a shower in the morning so we have to wake up a little bit earlier. Sometimes when we miss the alarm it gets chaotic. When we all made it we leave at about 7:30.
My exchange partner Schawyon is taking us with his car. On the first school days me and Michael felt a bit illegal driving with a 17 year old friend. We arrived at school at about 8:00 o’clock. We then go to our classes. My first class is psychology. We’re talking about the sense of sight and about how the eye works. On Monday we made an experiment. We all covered one of our eyes for 15 minutes so that it doesn’t receive any light. We went in a totally dark room and opened the eye which was covered. We could see in the dark with that one eye. I would like to have this subject in Germany too. After psychology I have literature. I couldn’t really do anything because they where talking about „Hamlet“. I tried to understand but most of the time I read German magazines Mr. Neuhaus gave us. He is our German teacher. In German we are talking about demographics. It is about why young people go to the cities and the old people stay in rural areas. It’s not that interesting but Mr. Neuhaus has a pretty funny teaching style and our class is funny too.
After German I have physics, economy, photography and biology. In physics and economy I can’t do anything because I can’t understand all the technical terms and so on. But in photography I’m trying to get some nice pictures done. Shawyon is not in that class so Bart is with me. He helps me with the photos and the machines in the photography room. In biology Carlin is with me so I have somebody I know.
On Thursday we had a lab, CCHS has so many computers and modern technology. In nearly every room they have 30 laptops. In the photography room they have about 25 iMacs and they have smart boards in every room.
When school is over we do extracurricular activities like cross-country running or soccer training. I went to cross-country practice pretty much every day. Anna was there too with her exchange student Lulu so we could talk and wait together. Michael and his exchange student Shirwin went to soccer practice. I went too one time but I couldn’t participate because I forgot my sports shoes in Germany.
After sports we mostly eat delicious Iranian food. Shawyon’s and Shirwin’s grandmother is from Iran so she always cooks for us. On the long weekend we did a lot of stuff. We went to downtown Atlanta and went on the Ferris wheel, the World of Coke, the Center for Human and Civil Rights and the CNN center. This trip was very interesting because I have never seen real skyscrapers. I really liked the Center for Human and Civil Rights because it was not boring like museums in Germany. We also went to „Six Flags“ which is an amusement park in Atlanta. This was much fun because Anna and Cora where screaming all the time because of the rollercoasters. The rollercoasters are very different in America. We had one where you had to stand and one where you were laying on your belly facing forward. After Six Flags Cora, Shawyon Shirwin, Michael and me went to a burger restaurant called „grub burger“ , These burgers where the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. Michael and me we both ate two burgers because they were so good. We had lots of fun that day. Another thing we did was hiking on the Stone Mountain. This mountain is not that big so we got up there very easily. We met at the bottom of Stone Mountain with the Chamblee group and went up together. When we meet in the group we always have lots of fun like on Cora’s birthday when Alice threw a pool party in her house or when we met at Sahra’s house for a movie night.
All in all I really like America and the group of exchange students. I really enjoyed my stay here. I hope I can come back soon.

Jakob Rechner

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10/12/16

This Wednesday morning I woke up at 6:30am. I took a shower and brushed my teeth, then I put on my clothes. Paul and I talked for a while until 7:10am. We went from our room to the kitchen and I picked up some nice donuts for breakfast. We talked a bit with Margaret, our host sister, and at 7:20am we drove to school. We were too lazy to make the 10 min walk to school. After our short ride in the car, we went to the dining hall for a small breakfast.
After my plate of scrambled eggs the 7:40am bell rang, so I walked to chemistry class. The teacher passed out a test to everyone, so I tried my best so answer all the questions. I think I did very well, as the test was very easy. When chemistry ended I went to algebra with Paul and Lennard. The teacher first explained the concepts and the assigned corresponding problems in the book. We worked in the book until the end of class.
Next, during third period, I was so bored because I couldn’t understand any Mandarin. Instead, I relaxed by listening to music and watching movies. After this class, I went to the yearbook class. This day in yearbook, we took photos of and around the school. After 40 minutes the class ended and I went to the dining hall for lunch. I had some beef, salad, and for desert I had some amazing cookies. After lunch the other Germans and I went outside and talked till the 5th period started.
5th period was literature genres with Mr. Oden. In class the students were making preparations for a book review. I had the opportunity to read a book called “March”. The 6th period was world history. I had world history with Paula, Ramon and Joline plus one student from Brandon Hall. It was very boring because the teacher gave the one student an assignment and told us to relax and listen to music. After world history I went to my last lesson of the day, which was music. This lesson was quite interesting. We all debated about American politics, in particular Donald Trump. One student from Brandon Hall always made jokes about building a wall around everything he didn’t like. I didn’t like his ideas so I was trying to change his attitude to a more democratic one.
At 3pm the last bell of the day rang, so I met up with Paul and walked home. When we arrived at home Paul and I made some pasta. After we finished eating we sat outside at pool and checked our social media. At 4pm we went to the mall where we were able to buy clothes and look at American stores. The stores aren’t that different to German stores and the price range is mostly the same. When we finished at the mall, Margaret picked us up and took us back to the house. On the way home Paul played American rap music like Drake, Eminem or J Cole while I and Margaret danced to it. When we arrived back home our host mother made us dinner. She made buritos which tasted unbelievably good.
When dinner was finished we helped to clean the dishes and sweep the floor. When everything was clean we played Uno. Paul lost the game, however I was able to win. Our host siblings had lots of homework so we talked with our host mom until 10pm about American politics and their opinion of Donald Trump. It was really interesting to find out how the people in the US think about him and I can say that Europeans think differently about him. I learned that many Americans would vote for Trump because they think Hillary is a criminal and they are kind of afraid of her. They also want someone new like Trump who never had a political job. We then went to our room and watched Netflix and talked about our political opinion until 11pm. Around 11:30 I was finally able to fall asleep.

Maximilian Petri

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10/13/16

Hello to eveyone who reads this blog!
My name is Anna Kamminga and I´m one of the students who go to Chamblee Charter High School. The school is very impressive and so different when you compare it with THG.
My host family is a Chinese family so I not only experience the American lifestyle, but also a bit of the Chinese lifestyle. They are very friendly and really care about me. My exchange partner Debbie is an only child.
My school day starts at 6.15 and then I get ready. After that I go downstairs and eat breakfast with Debbie and her mum. At 7.15 we drive to school. We have a carpool with two other girls so on this Friday the mother of one of the others girls drove us. She is from India and speaks English with an accent. This is one of the things which are really interesting in America. There are so many people who speak a second language fluently. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to understand people with an accent but I think that this is one way how we learn English better.
We arrived at the CCHS at 7.45 and then we went to the locker of my exchange students. Most of the lockers from other exchange students are near the one from Debbie. I can talk to other Germans for a few minutes because the lessons start at 8.15. Five minutes before it starts everybody walks to their classroom. Because of that the stairs are very overcrowded and it takes some time till you are at your classroom. My first lesson is AP economy. This is very difficult and in that lesson they wrote a test so I couldn`t do anything. The day before I asked Mr Neuhaus if I could take one of the German books in his classroom and he said yes. That´s why it wasn´t as boring as the days before.
After AP economy I said goodbye to the teacher because it was my last school day and then I walked to my next classroom. The next subject was speech which is very interesting. The teacher is very relaxed and in this lesson he asked if the students have any plans for the weekend. After that someone told him that it was my last school day so I talked a bit about the differences between America and Germany. This lesson was really cool because after I talked about some differences we just watched something on YouTube till the period ended.
After this lesson I walked to the next classroom with Debbie. The next subject was US history and I really learned a bit. In this lesson it is a bit different because the teacher talks the whole lesson and the students just take notes. After US history I had lunch. There are for different times for lunch because all students at once would be too many. So I have lunch after the 3rd period and this one is the A lunch. I always sit outside with some senior girls who are really nice.
Because it was my last day everybody brought some sweets and it was really funny. There are only twenty minutes for lunch. The lesson after that is human anatomy which is really interesting! After that I have AP language. This Friday there was a meeting in the auditorium for all the people in 11th grade so we went there. The meeting was about being kind and the addiction of children to their phones. It was really interesting and also very well organised from the headmaster and his team.
This meeting took the whole lesson so after that I went directly to the band room. In this period was the meeting for the people in 12th grade so half of the class wasn`t there and we could just do what we wanted. Some kids did their homework, other ones made some music and I finished the book from Mr Neuhaus. My next subject was German so I walked to Mr Neuhaus’ classroom. In German I can really participate and do something. School ends at 15.20 and after that my exchange student does cross country so we walked to the gym. We put our stuff in the gym and Jakob, Michael, his exchange partner and I walked to Chik-fil.A and ate something. At 5 pm Debbie’s dad picked us up and we drove home.
At 7 pm there was a party at the house of Maja`s exchange partner Sarah. All kids from the CCHS came and our teachers were there too. We had some food and smores and just chilled. It was really cool! At 9.45 pm Debbie’s dad picked up Marla, Debbie and me and we planned stuff for the next day. Marla went to my house too because in that night she slept there.

All in all I can say that I´m really glad that I´ve done this exchange! I got a lot of new experiences and could meet so many friendly people!

Anna Kamminga

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10/16/16

This day started with some very bad news…it was our last day in America so we all had to pack our bags, which is very difficult if you think of how much we shopped while we were in America. Alice and I for example needed 2 hours to finally pack as much in the bag as it was allowed (50 pounds/23 kilogram), but when we finally managed, the baggage and a veeery heavy backpack were full, there was time left for some last family and city pictures. Alice and I drove around town with her car “Cathy” one last time and listened to our personal playlist of these 2 weeks one last time.
We were back home at 2 p.m. so there was some time left to say goodbye to the whole family, which includes Mussy the grandma, poppy the grandpa, Beth the aunt, Ben the cousin and Jane the older sister of Alice. 20 minutes later we sat in the car with direction to the airport and my feelings weren`t good at all. My whole host family felt like this too so we weren´t happy to see the airport. But after a group picture with all Germans and some tears we finally walked through the security check. All of us were just exhausted and enthusiastic again but we still had enough power to check out the Starbucks shop, the last American one for us.
At 6:02 p.m. we finally sat in the plane with more or less good places and started our 8-hour flight. We had enough time to watch several movies, like “Finding Dory”, swap seats with some people to talk to each other about the exchange program and and and…
At round about midnight the stewardess asked for a doctor and the situation got a bit tenser, till we all recognised that the situation wasn´t dangerous and we didn’t have to land somewhere else. So some of us were able to fall asleep again and didn´t even recognise that breakfast was served at 6 a.m. (which was 4 a.m. for us)
Half an hour before we landed we got excited to see our parents and our own beds. So we arrived at the pass control and after a bad math joke from the policeman about Jakob Rechner’s last name we just had to wait for our baggage to arrive and then go to see our families again. It took us like 30 minutes to wait for everything, but this felt too short and too long at the same time, because nobody wanted it to end and everyone was just tired. So maybe it was good that we had to say goodbye for the 2nd time on this trip to all other Germans. But this time it was without tears.
All in all I can just say it was an amazing experience and I´m proud that I got the chance to stay in this family. I´m definitely looking forward for Alice’s return visit here in Germany and hopefully I´ll have the chance to see the rest of her family again one day.

Cora Hannen

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