Hello and welcome to the Atlanta blog of 2019!
After a break that felt much too long Mr. Riemer and I are glad to be able to have taken another group of 20 students to Atlanta to immerse in the American way of life.
In the coming two weeks the tenth graders that attend Cherokee Bluff High School in Flowery Branch (nearby Gainesville) are going to blog about their daily routines and experiences to provide insight into the life of an exchange student.
But before the actual blogging starts, here are some impressions from the senior students spending their Sunday at an Atlanta United soccer game.
After the long flight from Germany to Atlanta taking 10 hours, we eventually arrived at the huge airport. With a yellow school bus we drove to the Cherokee Bluff High School and were warmly welcomed by our host families and our exchange students. They even arranged sandwiches and a cake for us, but we weren’t really hungry as we got plenty of food on the plane.
Our exchange partners gave us a tour through the school and we were quite impressed by their gym and the football field outside.
Cade is my exchange student and he suggested to go to the movies and see the new Joker film. So we picked up Cedric, who only lives a few streets away, and went to the nearby cinema. It was great fun, but we were really tired afterwards because of the jetlag.
My exchange student and his family are very friendly and hospitable as well as also open-minded towards other cultures providing the opportunity for exchanging about our lives.
In the morning of the next day, Cade would normally have gone to church and I would have accompanied him, but we were both really tired and we decided to go the next week. I woke up pretty early in the morning and his mother already had finished making breakfast. I ate so called biscuits with scrambled eggs and toast with delicious jam.
I talked to Cade’s parents Victoria and Jamie and they told me that they actually have had an exchange student from Hamburg for a whole year and how she is still a huge part in their life.
When Cade got up, he showed me the back of their house, where a little river can be found and
together with his mother we drove around the streets, as they wanted to show me their subdivision and the area surrounding their home. I was pretty amazed that many of those subdivisions have a pool or a golf field in their centre. In addition each property has a beautiful flat wooden house with a small terrace on it with short brownish grass in front of it. Walking through those streets you can feel the American flair, especially because of the typical houses and the warm and dry weather.
In the afternoon Cade’s sister showed up together with two friends. Usually she studies and is at university which is about two hours away, but she wanted to meet me and all together we talked about school and university in the USA and the differences to Germany and other interesting topics. It was really interesting getting to know my exchange family better and learning more about life in America. For instance, I was impressed how serious they take the sport of their school’s clubs, but I also didn’t know how many people are Christians and regularly go to church. Talking to them and expressing oneself was no problem, but sometimes I was missing a special term, so I would paraphrase it and they’d try to help me saying it.
In the evening we met with Cedric and his host family as well as with David and went to a Mexican restaurant together. There we ate a nice quesadilla with steak and black beans in it. Although the portions were enormous we managed to eat all of it and had a great time together playing „Taboo“. This is a game where you have to explain an expression without using particular words that would describe it and the others have to guess it.
Afterwards we went to the home of Cedric’s host family and as their son is staying in Florida till Wednesday, Cade taught us how to drive their golf cart. It was a lot of fun driving through the streets and we even were able to drive on our own, experiencing how it must be being allowed to drive a car with 16. Then we played some video games together and went back home and to bed.
Overall I would say that all Americans I met so far were very hospitable and interested in our life in Germany. They enjoyed talking with us and were very courteous. Moreover, they are really relaxed and not as strict as some Germans are.
Immediately after getting up, Victoria drove me to the house where Cedric is staying, because she and her husband both had to work. They are real estate brokers selling houses and properties in the area.
Cedric‘s host mother Paige prepared a delicious typical breakfast with biscuits, pancakes and bacon as well as banana bread. While eating we talked to her and the grandmother of Cedric’s exchange student Caled, called Grandjudi, about the stores where we were about to head to. They were very kind and hospitable just as my host family is and Grandjudi told us that she has been a teacher at a nearby school.
First off we drove to the house of David’s host family and picked him up. The family invited us all to have dinner with them in the evening and said we could go in their pool. In general Americans are very flexible and like to make spontaneous plans for the day. They also enjoy spending time with other families and doing something together.
We drove about 45 minutes to the outlet stores and saw prisoners doing community service on our way through the streets. We passed a huge man-made lake and the Zeilers told us that it is often used for recreation and they have a motorboat themselves with which they like to drive on it. They said that they want to take us there and use the boat next weekend if possible.
Arriving at the stores we were surprised that the outlet is a complex consisting of rows of stores and
has outdoor areas you have to use in order to get to another store.
First we went to Nike and already saw some clothing and even shoes that we did like. However we did not buy anything yet as we were quite uncertain and wanted to see the other shops first.
So we made our way to Puma and were a little disappointed by their few non-sports clothing.
As Cedric was asked by his sister to get some things for her, we went to a shop with all kinds of fragrances and needed some time as well as the help of the staff to find what we were looking for.
We had to call Paige and Grandjudi to say that we needed more time and headed to the Converse store. David and I got two t-shirts with nice prints on them and we went to Adidas, but just as at Puma we didn’t find anything. In the end we were a little bit in a hurry getting the things we saw from the Nike store, but we just made it on time, having bought pullovers and a pair of shoes.
We went to „Chick-fil-A“ which the Americans love and Paige and Grandjudi consulted us about what we could eat and gave us tips about what tastes good.
Eventually, I ate a very delicious chicken burger with special dips and a self-made lemonade.
We enjoyed the meal and we were told that the first diner was opened in Atlanta and
that they have closed on Sundays as many people in the South as well as the owner are religious.
Furthermore they offer students who are working there to help them paying for university.
Afterwards we went to a huge Walmart to get some basic stuff and finally arrived at the national park. We parked close to a waterfall and made some pictures in front of it, then we walked up a lot of stairs till we were on the top of the hill where you really had a great view.
After we had driven back home, we got the golf cart from the Zeilers‘ home and drove around the neighborhood. We all got our swimming trunks and a towel and drove to the host family of David.
They have a large house with a cinema and pool as well as a hot tube and their own basketball pitch.
David’s exchange student Thomas DeGoey had two friends visiting him and we all played Fifa together.
After the match we went into the pool and played basketball in it until it got pretty cold and we went into the hot tub. His mother had prepared some food and we all ate together talking about sports, travelling and a lot of other things.
We also tried to teach them some German which was funny as no one except from Cade could speak a little bit and they struggled with the pronunciation.
It became late and so we headed back home, having to drive quite a while.
Hey guys 🙂 ,
I want to tell you about this day, it is October 8th 2019. I and Callie woke up at 10:30 am. First we had breakfast together and we ate toast with strawberry jelly and some yoghurt. After that we took the car and rode it to the Cherokee Bluff Park and went into the woods. We wanted to go into the cabin but it was locked. The park is named by the Bluffs and by the Indian tribe they called “Cherokee”. We made some pictures in the woods and at the rocks together. After this we took the car to the Flowery Branch High school and I was learning that Cherokee Bluff high school is a very new school and the Flowery Branch high school was a middle school before and they split the school and built a new school which is called “Cherokee Bluff High school” and made the old Flowery Branch High School to a new high school. So after we visited Flowery Branch High School we drove to the Cherokee Bluff high school, which Callie, my exchange student goes to. I really like the school because they have big American football fields, tennis fields. I wasn’t in the school this day but on the welcoming day when our hostbparents picked us up I saw the gym and the gym is really huge and awesome.
Next we drove to a big beautiful lake and made some pictures too. In the lake there was a small island. The weather was perfect and it was 69°F, which equals 21°C. It was not too hot. My host family showed me Gainesville downtown and Flowery Branch downtown. So in Flowery Branch I saw a new police station. It was a very large building. Then we went to Frozen Yoghurt and met Garrett, Max and Mathias. Callie ate a frozen yogurt with cake butter and sugar cookie. I ate frozen yoghurt too with pineapple and snow vanilla. Afterwards we went to a store and we bought some stuff for the pool party. The pool party started at 6:30 pm at the Wayne‘s house where Max and Mathias stay as exchange students. We met every host family and everybody got to know each other. We had a cook out and a party and ate lots of food and dessert.
My host family is really neat, polite and nice to me and we really got along fast. They told me that they understand everything I say and I am understanding them well too.
Larissa Fiona Senkel
Mr. Riemer and I had an interesting afternoon at Georgia Tech today. The School of Modern Languages hosted a German Day to which several speakers (students, teachers and advisors) were invited to share their experience of learning and teaching German at GT. The university‘s LBAT program is all about German studies and the cooperation with German universities and companies where GT students spend a semester abroad and do internships.
We were also able to listen to Ferdinand Seefried, Austrian consul in Atlanta and we met Nicolette Gahleitner, who is the German language advisor for many southeastern states in the USA. She provided us with valuable contacts in the Atlanta area. What a great day for networking!
My fifth day in America started with the sound of my alarm at 7:30am. After standing up and packing my backpack I went down the stairs. At 8:00 am I had my morning coffee and I talked with Mrs. Paige, my host mother, about what we are going to do in the following days and how a normal school day looks like in America.
When my coffee was empty Noel knocked on the front door of the house where I am staying, because on this day we and all the other students of the 10th grade from Germany planned to visit “The world of Coca Cola”. The world of Coca Cola is a museum about the history of Coca Cola in downtown Atlanta, but before we went to the museum we ate breakfast at a local junk food restaurant called Chick-Fil-A.
After we finished breakfast we drove to CBHS, it’s the short form for the school‘s name. When we realized that everybody was at the school, we started driving to downtown Atlanta. The drive took about 45 minutes. The museum was divided into different sections, the first one was about the ads of Coca Cola, but the ads were from all over the world. For example, another section was about the taste of Coca Cola products from all over the world. They tasted all different, but some tastes were just disgusting.
I can’t remember the exact time when the visit in the museum was over, but after all this interesting stuff we learned about Coca Cola we were very hungry so we went to “The Varsity “. It is a typical American diner where you can get burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings and more food. I decided to take a cheeseburger and fries.
I drove home with Noel and then we decided to get a snack and after the snack we went playing tennis at the neighborhood‘s tennis field. In the evening Noel went home and then I went to bed early, because the next day is my first school day in America.
My first school day in America was on Thursday, I was excited to see if the school and the subjects are like in our school in Germany. I had to be ready for school at 7:50am, because the school started at 8:20am or 8:25am. The first subject was about the law, police stuff and criminal things. After the first period we had Language class, it’s like the German lessons in Germany. Third period was about science and chemistry. The next lesson was math that was the most interesting lesson of the day, because math is my favorite subject. After math, in the fifth period, we had a lunch break of 30 minutes. After eating our food we had to go to social studies, which is kind of a history lesson in Germany. My two last lessons were marketing and weight training. Weight training was the most boring subject of the day, because I didn’t bring sport clothes to America and so I just sat in the gym and waited for the end of the school day.
As a conclusion I would say that the CBHS is way bigger than THG and more modern, but the classes in THG are more interesting and in Germany we have more breaks than in CBHS.
But all in all my first school day in America was very cool, interesting and funny.
Let me tell you about my second school day at Cherokee Bluff High School.
After settling in for a few days at my host home it was time to experience the life of an American high school student. The first bell rings at 8:25 a.m., so we left our home at eight o’clock and drove to school. Comparatively, American and German high school is vastly different. For example the schedules. Here they have the same schedule every day, unlike Germany where it’s always different. I participated in all of my exchange student‘s classes, which were junior year level classes. For the majority of the time I could participate in her classes, but in some I wasn’t able to participate because of the activities. For example essays they had to do.
In first period we had American literature. They took a quiz over a movie which they had recently watched. Second period was German, therefore it was very entertaining and easy. They presented their presentations about the Oktoberfest.
Following that we had AP Literature. In fourth period my exchange student and I had Physics. They received a previously written test, and the teacher taught us about velocity and acceleration. Following that we had Pre-Calc., which is also a difference between Germany and America because they have different classes for different math content.
After math it was time for lunch. Every other grade except for seniors can’t leave school for lunch, so the students have to eat at the cafeteria. Lunch lasts for about 30 minutes and they offer quite a diversity in their food. For example vegetarian, vegan and “regular “ food. We chose rice with chicken, which was quite good especially for school food.
Following lunch my exchange student Ruthie and I went to AP U.S. History. We learned about the “area of the good feelings “ which was a time period from 1812-1825. The last period was math again, but this time statistics. The teacher just introduced this new topic to the students and they talked about preparing presentations for it. School ends at 3:35 so we got home at around 3:50.
In general you can say that everybody here is very polite, open-minded and friendly. Especially the teachers. Most of them try their best to include us and help us with problems like the language barrier.
As I previously mentioned the American school system is very different to the German one.
The biggest difference is the grading system. They use different numbers to grade because they grade out of hundred. A certain letter is assigned to a group of numbers, which shows you how good of a grade you got. For example 90 and up is an A, which is the highest. 70 or lower is an F, which is an failing grade.
Another difference is that the teachers don’t include participation as part of the grade. You are not required to pay attention, which can lead to people failing a class. Therefore the atmosphere in the classes is more laid back than in Germany, which can lead to people for example napping during class or going on their phones a lot.
Another thing that caught my eye was the school spirit! The school offers a huge selection of merchandise and many people love to wear that to support the school. For example on game days the cheerleaders wear their uniforms and the football players wear matching shirts.
After we arrived at home my host family and I enjoyed our free time together. We talked a lot about the differences between our two countries especially focusing on the different lifestyles. I also tried to teach them some German, which was really funny because they struggled with the pronunciation.
Later that night we went to the movies. We watched the movie “Joker”, which is about how the Joker became who he is today.
The movie theaters are quite similar to the ones in Germany, the only differences are the snacks. For example the popcorn in Germany is usually sweet, while here it’s normally salty.
My host family is very kind and friendly and I felt very welcomed from the moment I met them. They really try their best to give me an amazing time here and I am really happy to be here. Ruthie and I get along really well and we always have a great time together.
I am really glad that I am participating in this exchange, because it gives you the opportunity to meet new great people and it’s really interesting to get to know the differences between Germany and the USA.
Hey guys (whoever is reading this blog :D),
this is a review of the 8th day, 12th October, of our stay in Georgia but this is a special edition of this travel blog on our school websitee because a huge part of this day did not take place in Flowery Branch, the place where my hostfamily is living and where the ´Cherokee Bluff High School´ is located, not in Atlanta and not even in Georgia. We spent a few hours of this Saturday in Birmingham in Alabama.
Let´s start at the beginning of this day:
I stood up at… no wait I´m not going to start like this.
A few days ago the father of our host family told Max and me to ask our parents if we would be allowed to join him and his son Garret on their flight to Birmingham. He wanted to go there with his own small plane to bring his son to his soccer match. Max and my parents accepted and so we went to Gainesville ´´airport´´, got everything ready for the flight and started at 11 o´clock and arrived in Birmingham at 11:25 but the flight did not just take 25 minutes. The local time is just different in Alabama, Alabama is one hour behind Georgia and in total 7 hours behind central European time.
When we arrived at Birmingham airport we rented a car to get to the soccer pitch. After we had to wait around an hour for the game to start it began at 1 p.m. but Garret‘s team was off by 2 goals at halftime (0:2). As the second half started his team got better and better and managed to score 2 goals to equalise (2:2). Alabama FC, the opponent team, scored again but Garret‘s team worked hard on the pitch to start another comeback and to score again. So the final score was 3:3.
After the game we went back to the airport and flew home and I was even allowed to fly the plane for a couple of minutes.
When we arrived back at Gainesville airport we drove the plane into the hangar and drove to the grandparents of the family for a typical southern dinner.
We had chicken, fried vegetables, squash and a lot of non fried vegetables like beans and carrots. The most of this dinner was really delicious like the chicken and the fried vegetables which had a special nameI fogot and which was really hard to pronounce but there were still things I really disliked, I really hated the squash and the desert, a blueberry mixture with vanilla ice cream which was kind of too sweet like many things in the USA, for example the sweet tea which is also typical for southern states.
This evening was supposed to be hard because we were told that the grandparents are speaking a thick southern accent but even that was actually no problem to understand them. It was a bit harder than understanding our hostfamily who are speaking a very clear English without any accent. Speaking and understanding English has been absolutely no problem yet and everybody tells us how good our English is and that they are really suprised that the kids in Germany start to learn English so early and so long.
I am really glad and happy that I have the chance to take part in this exchange because it gives me the opportunity to meet new people, a new culture and to get many new impressions which I will remember for all my life.