Monday, October 24, 2011
Am I really in Florida? Am I really there for a whole school year? Did I
really go? That were my thoughts the morning I woke up here the first time.
I actually can't believe that I've been here now for two months. I
remember the day I left Germany and came all the way over the Atlantic Ocean
to America. It was really hard to say goodbye to my family and friends and
it was a long flight, but when I got off the airport in Orlando I actually
felt really good.
The first few days here were awesome. I went ocean kayaking with my host
brother and I had an amazing weekend at the Inbound Orientation with all the
exchange students. It was really cool to meet all the different students
from all the different countries and we all had a very good time there.
My first day in my new High School was crazy. There are more than 3,000
students at my school and I only knew my host brother. Compared to my school
in Germany this is a really big school and it was hard to find the different
classrooms the first days. During my second class I noticed that I've been
in wrong classes so far. It took me a while to get used to the different
buildings, but now I'm used to it and it's easy to find my classes. At the
beginning school wasn't that easy because I didn't know anybody. People
don't go to you and ask you “Hey are you new?” the point is to go to them
and tell them that you are new because in my school there are hundreds of
new kids every year. So I first wasn't actually recognized as an exchange
students. But I started to talk to everybody and I told them that I'm an
exchange student from Germany and suddenly I know a lot of people here. When
I walk down the hall way now I talk to a lot of people and I see a lot of
students I got to know.
A very difficult part was to find a sports club here. When I arrived here
I wanted to continue playing soccer and I joined a soccer club but the
practice was far away and they have games every weekend and I decided that I
want to see other things of Florida than only the soccer fields. Than I
decided to join the High School swim team. I did that for two weeks and I
really had fun there but than the coach told me that my Physical Form was
missing and that the deadline for getting it was already over. But now the
soccer season starts at the school and I already practiced a couple of times
with the team and I really had fun.
I already did great things here in Florida. My host family is amazing and
I already did great things with them. We went out with a catamaran, went to
Tampa and saw a Greek Town. We always have great fun. I also went to my
first American Football game in Jacksonville and I went to the Universal
Studios in Orlando. At the weekends I often meet other exchange students. It
is so much fun to meet with them and it's always funny.
All the Rotary people I met so far are really, really nice and I'm so
happy that I'm here with the Rotary Club.
Of course I miss my family and my friends in Germany. We talk sometimes to
each other about things that are going on in Germany and I tell them about
America. I also have friends that are exchange students somewhere else and
it's fun to compare the different places. I also miss things that I have
never thought I would miss. For example I miss public transportation and
town centers. When I thought about public transportation in Germany I've
never thought about it as an amazing thing but when I think about it now I
think it is a really good thing because here I'm very dependent on my host
family or rotarians if I want to go somewhere.
The meetings with the Rotary Club and the exchange students are always a
big highlight for us and we are all looking forward to our trips to Disney
World and to the Florida Keys.
In the end of my first report I want to say thank you again to the Rotary
Club, my parents and my host parents for giving me this great opportunity .
Crazy how the time flies! It is already February and I've been in America
for six months now!!!
A lot of things changed since my last report and I also experienced so many
incredible awesome things that it is actually hard to believe that all this
here is real.
One of the best things I did so far was a Cruise trip with my friends
Martin and Bill. We left Port Canaveral on a Disney Cruise and stopped at
some beautiful places, for example St. Martin, St. Thomas and on one island
of the Bahamas. It was truly an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Also really amazing were the trips I did with Rotary so far. In December we
all went to Disney World together. It was a crazy and very funny weekend
that I'll also keep in memory. We got to see all of the four theme parks and
we did almost every single ride. Not only the parks were amazing, but the
feeling of being surrounded by all your new, amazing international friends.
It is so funny and exciting to walk in a group of 15 people and each of them
is from a different country. We also had a weekend down in the Florida Keys
at a place called sea camp. This weekend was also really interesting. It was
a mix of fun and education about our oceans. We learned a lot of interesting
and scary facts about climate change, our rising sea level, sharks and a lot
of more interesting topics.
Also a lot of things changed ! I changed my host family for the first and
last time this exchange year. After living with them for 4 months I really
have to say I'm more than lucky!!! They are so nice and they're treating me
very well. It's like I am a part of their family. They come to every of my
games and support me, we watch movies together, talk and in general just
have an awesome time. I played soccer for the varsity team of my High
School. For me as a big soccer player it was a great opportunity to see how
soccer is practiced and played in America. I've been playing soccer since
ten years and I practiced a lot in Germany but what I really liked about
High School soccer was that we had practice every single day! Before I came
to America I never thought that soccer can be such big deal here in America.
It all started with the Try Outs. After School I walked back to the soccer
fields and saw a huge crowed of kids warming up. I first thought something e
lse is going on there but than I saw the coach and I wasn't at the wrong
place. There were just so many students trying out for the soccer team. Over
90 people tried out for the team and at the end of three try out days the
coaches told us who made varsity and who made the JV team. The season was
pretty good for us. We started well and in the end of the regular season we
had a record of 13-0-2. The team and my coaches were just awesome. It was
probably one of the best experiences I made here so far. Before our games we
would always meet up for your team dinner. We ate together and talked about
the game. Sometimes we watched a soccer game on TV. Now the season is over
and I have to say I miss it! But now I'm playing for a club team which is
coached by my High School coach.
School is also going well. Compared to Germany it is a little bit easier
here. I have less different classes and less homework which isn't always a
bad thing. After school I often spend time with my friends. It is crazy how
fast I got used to my American life! In the beginning everything seemed so
new and different but I think it is completely normal that you can get your
money or medicine at a drive thru. Now I also listen to a couple of new
American music artists who I didn't know before and I prefer watching movies
in English. I can also hear the difference between the American and the
British accent now. Before I came here I never really heard it.
There are still times in which I miss my family and my friends but I have to
say I'm actually used to not seeing them now and more than half of my
exchange year is already over so I always tell myself to enjoy it and not to
worry about things like that. It was also strange to celebrate Christmas
without my family. For the first time I was away for Christmas and my
Birthday! But my host family made it a really good day for me and for the
first time in my life I went swimming in the ocean on Christmas Day. New
Years Eve was great fun, too! I went to Jacksonville with a couple of other
exchange students and we all had a great time together.
The Rotary Club is a truly amazing organization. I luckily had the chance to
go to 100 years Rotary Club Jacksonville celebration and to meet the
president of Rotary International. It was an amazing day and it showed me
again how amazing all the Rotary people are.
I'm really looking forward to the next few months since my host family is
taking me to some quite amazing places. Soon I will be seeing New York and
Dallas!!! It is going to be so much fun.
Hopefully my exchange year keeps on being that awesome!