One of the things that led me to this exchange program was my love of foreign languages. So when I switched host families, I was excited to find out that my new school has a heavy emphasis on foreign language learning! They offer regular lessons in English, Latin, and French, and clubs to learn Italian and Chinese. French is offered at a beginner level in the 11th grade, which means that I am allowed to take it too.
Not only does the school offer the opportunity to learn a language in the classroom, but to get out and experience it! Students can participate in short-term exchanges to France, China, The Netherlands, England, and America. I would have loved to participate in one of them (although probably not the American one..), but because I came in time for the second half of the school year, it was too late for me to sign up. My school also takes part in Erasmus+, an EU program where schools form partnerships with schools in other countries. One project lasts multiple years, and in that time, students prepare presentations and do research (the majority of the work is done in English, as it is a common language between the schools), before travelling to the countries with which they have a partner school! My older host sister was a member for a few years and visited Italy and Sweden- now she helps out the younger students.
While the school doesn’t offer any long-term exchanges, they encourage students to take part in one if they’re able! There are posters all around the school advertising for different exchange programs and organizations- I’ve even spotted a few for CBYX! Spending a year abroad seems to be much more familiar to German students than Americans. Lots of students in my class have expressed interest in doing an exchange, or working as an au pair for a year when they finish school.
My school does, however, host long-term exchange students! There are currently eight exchange students at my school. A few classes of mine overlap with theirs, and while I’m still trying to make friends with the other Germans in my classes, exchange students always understand that it can be difficult, and I feel comfortable knowing that I have some familiar faces I can turn too while I’m here (besides my host siblings, of course).
I’m still adjusting to new classes, teachers, and students, but I’m learning quickly, and am grateful for all of the help I’ve gotten so far! I’m looking forward to seeing what other opportunities present themselves during the rest of my time here.