GISSV Report 2019
Arriving at the airport we were totally jetlagged and not prepared for the warm welcome scene awaiting us outside. On the way to our host homes the first impression of America was huge, loud and crowded. This changed a lot while being there for three months after which it was really hard to enter the plane again towards Germany. Franz, Theresa and I were really lucky with our host families as they not only taught us how to properly speak English, but also took us to a lot of great places like San Francisco or Lake Tahoe. As well they tried their best to be like a real family for us. Don’t get a wrong impression now, we had to do household work for example doing the laundry or joining them for grocery shopping but there were a lot of weekend trips and fun evenings we spend together.
At school it was pretty easy to get into the class as there are only around 15 students in one class. First it was weird to everyone speaking English to me as I was from Germany but we figured that out in no time. The greatest advantage of those small classes was that you were able to make new friends quickly and you had great contact to the upper classes because the whole school including pre-school, elementary school and gymnasium had about 400 students only. Also, the school is nothing like the MCG. There is no second floor anywhere and besides being very digitalized you have to walk from one tiny building to another when changing the room. In addition, the relationship to the teachers is a lot different than in Germany. It is in fact a lot more personal.
So, enough facts here. The exchange was an awesome experience as the pictures might have shown you but you have to be very open for knew things and very sociable. Otherwise, it could turn out as a very hard time for you.
All in all, there is a lot of fun stuff to experience like going to the beach, surfing, hiking and just having a culture crash. The bush fires were not that amazing though you are like two hours away of them the smoke occurs to you as well.
In conclusion it is very exciting, surprising and challenging but definitely worth it! ?