Peter Humbarger
2009-10 Outbound to Germany

Hometown: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
School: Nease HS
Sponsor: Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset Rotary Club, District 6970, Florida
Host: Hildesheim Rotary Club, District 1800, Germany

Peter's Bio

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” -Alan Cohen

Hallo! I am Peter Humbarger, and I am a gregarious sophomore at Allen D. Nease High School. I have two sisters that are both in college, so I live at home with my parents, my bearded dragon and my cat. When my sisters come home, I always enjoy hanging out with them at the beach, movies, or wherever. My whole family is very inspirational to me, and helps me through difficult times. They are definitely one of the biggest things that I will miss when I am abroad.

Swimming is a major part of my life, being that I spend about two and a half hours at the pool every day. Hopefully they have a swim team in Germany. I also have an affinity for music, which I find very relaxing. I played violin for 10 years, and my love for music will always be with me.

When I found out that I was going to be studying abroad for a whole year, it was somewhat surreal. The reality of living in a foreign country away from friends and family for a whole year still has not sunk in, but I am very excited for something different. Although there may be difficult times, this process will be an amazing experience, one that I will never forget. The wisdom, independence, and knowledge that I will gain from this will be unparalleled. It is a life changing experience, and I am so grateful to have been chosen to take part in this program. I would like to thank everyone that is making my exchange possible.

Peter's Journals

October 24 Journal

After “untying the piano from my bum” (Daphne Cameron), I decided to write my first journal. It has been a little more than 11 weeks since I stepped off that plane in Hannover, and I have loved every minute of it. From the different language, to the people’s attitudes, I have had an amazing experience so far.

In the first month that I was here, I realized that no one back in Florida could have ever prepared me for what I felt in my new home. The feeling of normality, the feeling that Germany really isn’t that much different as I thought, and that my life isn’t drastically changing to the circumstances. It’s interesting to think that before I left, we did so much preparation and work to come to a country, but in my opinion, I like learning from my mistakes in the language, I like realizing subtle changes in my lifestyle without me knowing of them taking place, but most of all, I love the people. In Germany, and the rest of Europe I assume, people are not judgmental, and very open-minded about things. For example, I went into a German sauna for the first time last week in Berlin in a hotel, and was blown away when I saw both naked men and women in the same room. People here are not prudes like they are in America, and it is quite fascinating.

Family: When I first met my family at the airport, they seemed like a nice family that would be very welcoming, and they turned out to be that exactly. They have been very hospitable, and have made my experience here all the better. I will not say that they are perfect, as no family is, but I really lucked out.

School: School in Germany is quite peculiar, and much different than school in Florida. I go to a Gymnasium, which is the highest level of school, and am in the class 10Music. I am taking a total of 12 classes, and have 24 hours of school a week. One thing that I am not a big fan of is that the teachers move from class to class, not the students. Therefore, I will have all the same classes with all the same students for the whole year. The even crazier thing is that these people have been in the Music class since 5th grade, meaning that they have had the same 20 people in their class for 5 years!

Language: The German language is actually extremely difficult. Much more difficult than I had expected when I started doing Live Mocha. I had no idea that the 3 ways to say “the” and all of the adjectives would change, according to if you were talking about where you were, who, whom or what. It is sehr schwer. And I am yet to have a dream in German.

Food: One word: Delicious! The food here is truly magnificent. From the schnitzel to the goulash, I love it all. And, I haven’t even had to try very many weird things, which is nice.

Things that are different from America:

People greet each other with hugs and kisses to the cheeks.

Bread is eaten at every meal

Buses are the main means of transportation for teenagers.

Walk in closets are a luxury.

Houses are much smaller due to the lack of space.

It costs thousands of euros to get a license, and you have to be 18.

People aren’t fat.

Soccer = Life