Judah Bachmann

Germany

Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
School: Gainesville High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of Gainesville, Florida
Host District: 18421
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Wasserburg


My Bio


Hallo! My name is Judah Bachmann. I live in Gainesville, Florida and attend Gainesville High School. I will be going on exchange to Germany next year! I live with my two sisters ages 13 and 7, my dog, Goose, and my mom and dad. I love playing tennis, drawing, photography, art, sewing, and listening to and playing music. I’ve been playing piano since I was 7! I love travel, and I’ve always wanted to go abroad to learn another language. I’m drawn to Germany for the industrial design, and can’t wait to learn more about Germany and the culture. Every summer I go to a camp in Wisconsin where I meet people from all over the world. There I have learned how to sail, barefoot waterski, hike, and canoe, as well as many other sports and activities. I have also learned how important it is to know people from around the world. Some of my best friends from camp are from Mexico and France. I take great value in this opportunity that has been offered to me by Rotary, and anticipate my next year with excitement and eagerness. I’ve made new friends already through this amazing program, and I can’t wait to make even more and see where RYE takes me in my life. Danke schön!

First day of school

First day of school

My city

My city

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

My journal

My journal

Me and my host sister

Me and my host sister

Journals: Judah-Germany Blog 2018-19

  • Judah, Outbound to Germany

    Well, I’m more than halfway through. This journal is very overdue, but better late than never amirite?

    In my time here since my first journal I have done countless amazing things and experienced several completely new things. I go to Munich typically weekly, I have gone skiing, and my friends from school and from exchange are all fantastic. It will truly be hard to leave this country. It’s sort of a crazy concept, this whole building a life in a foreign country and then leaving it all after a year. But at the same time it’s an amazing gift to ourselves to experience such an amazing thing. I wouldn’t swap my experiences, friends, new language, and skills for anything.

    I have journaled every day of my exchange. I have collected papers and photos and wristbands from around Germany and filled the pages of my journal with them. This book alone is one of my proudest accomplishments. At this point I’ve already booked my return flight. That was sort of a surreal moment, looking at the calendar and picking the day I want to leave this life. It was even more surreal when I opened the email from my travel agent and learned the exact minute I leave this wonderful place. I’m certainly not looking forward to it but it is after all nice to know that I have so much back in the US that I get to go back to.

    I recently switched host families. It was a little bit strange at first since I was moving in with the girl I sit next to in class (who will be going on exchange next year), but now it’s all good. My first day after moving in with them we went skiing for the whole day in Austria. That was a super fun way to start out my time with them. They live directly in the city, which is a huge change from where I lived before, about 20 minutes away in the countryside by car. I have already been enjoying the location, especially on school days since it only takes about 6 minutes walking to get to school as opposed to 30 with the bus. Plus I can wake up at 6:45 instead of 6. That’s lovely.

    I’m not sure what lays ahead of me exactly, but I know it’s going to be great. This second half of my exchange is already totally different than the first. I can speak the language very well, I have a good group of friends, I can work the public transportation system perfectly, and I know a bunch of cool spots not just in my hometown here but also in Munich. It’s always funny when people mistake me for a local. Just last week I went to buy a pen at the store, and after conversing with the salesman for a while he asked me why my debit card was in English when I payed. After explaining that I was an exchange student he laughed in surprise. We then proceeded to talk about one of my crazy teachers in school here. It’s always fun to surprise people with the whole “being an American” thing.

    Hopefully I’ll write at least one more journal in my time here. As I tell other people, I journal for me, and that’s why it’s so hard to sit down and write a post for everyone else. But I’ll certainly try. Thanks for reading.

    Click HERE to read more about Judah and all his blogs

  • Judah, Outbound to Germany

    Well, it’s been about two and a half months. What a crazy time it’s been.

    This time last year I can remember myself thinking, “I wonder what my life will look like in a year.” I can specifically remember sitting at my lunch table at GHS the day after I sent in my application thinking that. It’s insane to me that it’s already been a year.

    I’ve been journaling every day of my exchange. Every night before bed I sit down and write about my day. This is one of my practices that I’m most proud of. It’s a fantastic way to take a second to look back at my day and my exchange and see how much me and my life has changed. I haven’t missed a day of journaling yet. So now actually being forced to sit down and write about EVERYTHING is proving difficult. It’s been one crazy ride. So I’ll try and start at the beginning.

    My first month was a whirlwind. My first week I spent getting accustomed to the time change and all the little things that had to change immediately. Like having to push a switch to summon the hot water from the water heater for my showers. And eating a big meal together at lunch instead of dinner. And eating bread all the time. And putting my laundry down a chute as soon as I’m done wearing it. (I still haven’t been able to quite get the hang of that). The next two weeks were my language course in Dachau with the other exchange students. That was a blast, and I made some great friends. Then I had a week before school started, and before I knew it my first month was gone. My second month was mainly just getting used to school and trying to make friends, something that proved difficult. I ended up basically just making friends with girls because none of the boys wanted to talk to me. But that’s improving now too. I had a weekend in the German alps as well as a school field trip to an opera in Austria. We had another field trip to the Dachau concentration camp, something that was both fascinating and horrible but equally important to see.

    School is very interesting here. The curriculum is practically impossible for me given that it’s in German and that its entirely new to me. But I think I learn more by merely observing the way of life and the minuscule differences between American and German students. Now I have a much greater perspective on the way we educate ourselves, and I personally find that much more valuable than what is in the lessons. Of course I say that now knowing that I will most likely have to repeat my sophomore year of high school and that none of my grades count, so we’ll see how I feel about it in a year when I’m in a grade surrounded by people two years younger than me.

    Back on the topic of learning things that you can’t get from school, my German is coming along very well. From the very beginning I have only spoken German, and coming over with a strong base in the language set me up for instant success. I am so happy that I did that in the first place. It paid off. Now when the exchange students are together I can switch back and forth between English and German without a second thought. To all future outbounds, even though they haven’t been chosen yet, I’d say to begin with a language learning program as soon as you know your country. I started in the car ride back from the big reveal. You won’t regret it.

    So back to my breakdown of my time here so far. After my first few weeks of school, before I knew it it was time for my first tour. My awesome host club paid for the trip, which was a week long tour in Berlin with the other exchange students. We saw the Bundestag, a couple of castles, the wall, the city, the Stasi museum, Checkpoint Charlie, and a bunch of other cool things. It was a blast. And now I’m back to my normal school life. Crazy that it’s almost been three months. Time flies. What an an amazing life it is.

    Click HERE to read more about Judah and all his blogs

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