Jan - Essen, Germany
Entered on May 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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This I believe

I believe that my Exchange Year 2008/2009 made me more mature, understanding and more independent. Before I came to the United States I thought about how it is going to be being one year abroad. I imagined a year loaded of experiences such as participating in sport teams, attending the High school and learn a lot about the foreign culture. But I did not only learn about those things. I actually learned a lot about myself. I saw other people in a lot of situations where I saw perpendicular reactions but it showed me that those are not always the right reactions. I learned to understand other people better. Not alone in their thoughts but also in the needs. I helped a lot in the household. And I think that this made me more mature. At home I was enjoying life and most of the time I did things I was told to do and didn’t help voluntarily. This changed during this year because I had to take care of my own laundry and of my chores I got during the week. I also offered my help as much as I could. I also took care of getting rides, when I wanted to go somewhere. I did this more to help my host family that they don’t have to drive everywhere. Those things also made me more understanding. I now know how my mother felt sometimes, when I reacted a specific way. And I actually feel sorry for it. Most of the time my mother took care of the household and then I reacted annoyed when she asked me to do something. I now think if it was necessary to react so stupid, when she asked me to spend an hour to clean the kitchen or to vacuum the floors. I now understand that it is too much work for one person to take care of everything. I know that when I go back to Germany, that I’m going to help her more then I did before. I also understand that not everybody has the chance of doing an Exchange year and that it is something special and I should enjoy it as much as possible. In this case I’m really sure that I did. I enjoyed playing on the soccer team of the High school and of the Club called Westside Stars. I enjoyed going to school every morning because the difference to the German school is tremendous. Nearly all the teachers are very friendly to the students and try to give them a good time in school. During the lessons they have time for some personal experiences and they love to tell stories. Most of my teachers in Germany only see their teaching content they have to get through during the school year. I enjoyed every second I could spend with my friends. Most of them had to work, so it was even more enjoyable when they had time.

Being one year away wasn’t as tough as I thought it is going to be. I had a great time with friends and family. Never less defies I’m looking forward to see my family and friends again and enjoy the delicious German food.

I still believe that the experiences I witnessed are going to help me in my life and that the friendships I made will hold forever