AMERICAN VOICES 2001
EXCHANGE STUDENTS IN GERMANY
In the winter of 2001, the TAK facilitated and hosted a virtual exchange between American exchange students in Germany (mostly "Experiment"-Students of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program) and Bozeman High School German students.
Exchange students were invited to send letters of introduction to a bulletin board and students in Bozeman were given access to that board to post their questions. Replies from the exchange students were also posted there. Unfortunately, there weren't that many this time around. But it may still be interesting to read the questions of 14-15 year old American students.
Thank you, Chris Junghans, BHS teacher, "Experiment e.V.", and participating students!!!
If you'd like to visit our bulletin board online, please visit: http://www.tak.schule.de/board/get/exchange.html
I was stuck having/wanting to speak Englisch and for the first day or so, I just wanted to talk german, it was earier for me, after 4.5 months of almost constant german, with english breaks only 3 times aweek in English class... my English sucked... ideas came out half english, half german and my word order and grammar was a new language in it self, Ganglisch is what we named it in California, in german class, but this was somthing strange, and frustrating, I mean I was an Honors English Student and now I can hardly kick back an adherable sentence... and vocabulary, I miss using the BIG words. I have had to dumb down my english for the germans to understand and so here I am, afraid that when I have to back for 2 more years of high school, I am going to have to relearn my english so I dont flunk english with my horrid spelling and grammer, I mean look at this for a writing sample, not one of my best, glaub mir, oh and spoken english.
I don't like talking to my parents because german pops out and they
have no idea
reply to Mony (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)
I have the same problem except it is between Spanish and German. I took
reply to Mony (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)
How are you? Is Germany fun? What is there to do in Germany? How is it different to America? Are the clothes and food any different? What sports are there to play? The superbowl is on the 28th and it should be pretty exciting! Here in Bozeman we have a lot of snow! DO you get much snow where you live?
So what is the most unusual food, what is your favorite food? Are the German boys hot there? Is the culture and overall experiance better than America or can you not wait to get home?
Well i hope you are having fun and we will look for your next letter!
Have fun, talk to you later.
reply to Mony (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)
Hey Mony. This is Missy
and Katie. We live in Bozeman Montana and are both in German 1 classes.
I (Missy) have always wanted to go to Germany... What's it like?
It sounds cool from what I've heard. Don't feel bad about mixing
up the languages. I do it too, and this is only my first year speaking
reply from Mony (Fri, 9 Feb 2001)
People look at what you are adding to this board... I mean the weather...american politics.... heck we even know tom cruz and nicole kidman are divorced and the are planning to seperate the 2 adopted kids evenly.
Germany is not a third world country and considering we could call the United States the worlds leading focal point, we know a lot of what is going on there. some people just wrote stuff on here like your teacher made you. (well if he/she was anything like my old german teacher, that would sound just about right)
tip on germany- we wear the same stuff you do (except a few strange guys who wear fit to flares and thinks it looks good... and there is a funny hair style going around, but heck isnt there always) - the music is the same, only every 10-11 songs there is one in german. we have MTV, CNN, and NBC, I even watched the superbowl - the commercials last year were better.
all in all, Germany is not that HUGLY different for the States, its the little things that makes things so different. and that is why I fully believe in the ideas of exchanges, so people can learn first hand the true differences and how to cope with them. but then again everyone thinks there is one easy, simple answer to everything. well this is not one, but somthing to chew on: You as a normal 16-18 year-old american teenager have to deal with things like parents, peers, teachers, getting the car from the parents, girls actually caring about how they look for school (the worst is putting on make up for PE, come on people)
here is germany, it is totaly different. 1/2 of 16-17 year-olds are finished with school, they are working and only have to go to school for 3 hours once a week (some number like that) so no teachers, but then they do have to deal with a boss! at the age of 16 not only can you buy alcohol, under 20% but you have to be mature to handle it, parents don't come running after to clean up mistakes. teenagers here can't get a licence until they are 18, and than it is over 1,500 bucks just to get the classes.
except for work and the diskos, many girls just skip the whole time
wasting ritual of putting on make-up, shaving, and primping...(dont worry
I still shave my pits and legs) but basically at 16 you are an adult and
responsible for EVERYTHING you do. I went away from CA as a little girl
and I am definitly much more independent than I was, I just hope my parents
are ready for me in 6 months.
reply to Mony's reply from a student (Feb 14, 2001)
Our apologies to you. The information we received from our german teacher implied that you were somewhat behind in the motions of our country, and it was only his suggestion, not his command, that we share stuff about the US. He is asking us to create an information sharing exchange, rather than just us asking all the questions, and you people over there giving all the answers.
My classmates and I found your response to our efforts rather
cruel and unecassarily focused on putting down Herr Junghans. Herr Junghans
is definately one of the better teachers at this school and did nothing
to deserve the rude comments you made of him. If you are dissapointed in
the way we converse, or write, please express it to us in a way that offends
no-one, because otherwise I
Thank you for your time.
reply from Mony to Jans' letter (Thu, 15 Feb 2001)
I have upper and for most respect for your teacher as well as anyother teacher at your high school or mine... "the Frau" (Frau J. or just Frau Jackson) is an awsome teacher and I would not possiblily be as far along now in my german without her guidence. But nevertheless some of her assignment (making a rap in german about when your parents get mad at you...) are "creative" to the point of a little strange, but that is what makes her a great teacher.
it is just that almost everyone wrote the same thing, some things I have no idea what they mean, I remember reading one short entry and just thinking, "what did I just read?" All I wanted to say with the last entry was to try to pay attention the the quality of messages people leave on this board. and one of the things I dont like about the written language is how the tone of voice in which I mean it, can be misinterpreted when someone else a 1/2 a world away reads it.
I would like to make this my appology for anything I wrote that was
in someway offensive. And I truly hope that at least some of my observations
about the differences between our two cultures were also see, and that
you can learn too, like I have about the German culture and what it means
to be an Exchange Student... let me tell you it is hard work, it's hard
enough not getting people angry at you in your own language, I have been
working really hard so Germans don't get mad at me either.
reply to Mony's letter from Chris Junghans, teacher (24. Feb.2001)
Wollte nur sagen, dass Dein Brief mich ueberhaupt nicht geaergert hat. Der Jans hat das alles Nett gemeint, und ich freute mich dass er wieder geschrieben hatte. Nur, was ist mit den anderen Austauschschuelern beim Programm? Koenntest Du mal an die schreiben und bitten dass sie mitmachen wuerden? (Wenn Du ueberhaupt im Kontakt mit denen bist).
Ich fand Deinen ersten Brief hochinteressant und habe den Brief sogar auf der Wand im Klassenzimmer gehaengt (wo der noch immer steht). Ich haette das selbst nicht besser sagen koennen (wenn Du das nicht als eine Beleidigung nimmst!). Du hast einen grossen und wichtigen Unterschied zwischen Ami und Deutsche Schueler damit getroffen. Schoen geschrieben.
My name is Anika Tadlock and I am with the Congress Bundestag Exchange Program. I am 18 years old and already graduated from High School. This time last year I was waiting for my response from the program, I never thought I would actually be here though. I received your letter at our meeting in Bonn and then again in my mail box, so taking a short break from a report due next week in Kunst on Vincet van Gogh, I thought that I would give you a quick response.
I come from Central California, Visalia. I am currently living in a little village in Northern Germany, called Königslutter. The largest city nearby is Braunschweig, about 30km away. Königslutter is a nice village with one of the odest standing churches, left from the Roman times and remained untouched during the Second World War. Königslutter also sits at the edge of a forest, the Elm Forest. I like to go biking through the Elm on nice days, or sometimes on Sunday afternoons my host family and I will go for a walk in the Elm, you know get some fresh air ..though we have not been able to do that recently.
My host family is really nice. My
host dad is an Englisch teacher at a private school in Wolfsburg.
My host mom is an Englisch teacher at a Volkshochschule.
School was very difficult at the beginning.
I go to a Gymnasium in another little village 30km in the other direction
through the Elm, about a half hour bus ride every morning. I had
had four years of German in school before I came here, but I realized that
in my six months here I have learned more than in my four years sitting
in the class room. Experiencing the culture and language is really
the only true way to learn and understand. I have a tough schedule
Now that might not look like anything too hard but look closely. I have 8 hours of Deutsch Unterricht. I have German with the 9th grade students...one of my favorite classes. I am 4 years older than most of them but they are really neat kids. I also have German with the 12th grade students. I am in the 12th grade so all of my other classes are up to that standard. Remember that all of these are in German!...well except Englisch but even then it sometimes goes back and forth.
And of course there is the social life
here. I kind of had it easy because Anne and I are the same age and
in the same grade so I just slipped in with her friends. That worked
out well. I have also met friends on my own from the different activies
that I am involved with. I joined a local swim club here and have
met many new people that I share a lot of the same interests with.
I also have made a few friends
Homesickness has been an inssue since about Thanksgiving but I think that I am finally pulling out of it. Christmas was really nice here. It was hard not to get into the spirit of things. Christmas is just as commercialized here in Germany as it is in America but hey you have to know it is the season.
The Weihnachtsmarkt in Braunschweig was
so neat. The different boothes with people selling different things,
Weihnachtsmusik, Weihnachtsmann, lots and lots
Over New Years, we took a little ski vacation
in the Austrian Alps. Now that was cool. The Austrians definately
have their own ways... when two Austrains
When school started up again last Monday I noticed that they like to
start with a bang. My homework load was
raised from 3 hours a day to about 4 or 5 hours a
Another strange insight. You have no idea what a strange feeling it is when you realize that you are thinking, at least partially, in German... or any language for that matter. Dreaming in German was also strange and that started in Oktober before I had a really good grip on the whole communication thing.
Well, I ought to get back to my work... work on a Saturday? There should be laws against that sort of thing. Hehe. Hope this was helpful... I really could say a lot more but I do not want to bore you too much.
Sincerely, Anika N. Tadlock
reply to Anika (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)
hello anika. our names are kara and eric, and we're german students at bozeman high school in montana. and no, montana is not in canada, just for the record. anyway, it sounds like germany is cool. i (eric) am a big skier, so i was quite jealous to hear that you got to spend that much time in the alps. i would kill for just one run on any of those mountains, i hope you realize how lucky you are.
I ( kara) want to know more about the food. I am a big food fan. What's
your favorite German food? do they have such a thing as REAL german chocalate
cake, because I love German chocolate cake here! Do they drink regular
soda pop or do
kara und eric
reply to Anika (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)
Dear Anika Todlock,
What is it like in Germany? how are things different there than from here? What interesting experiences have you encounterd? And lastly how was skiing in the Alps? (i love to ski)
That's probably enough questions for you now I'm sure you get a lot of e-mails. I'd apreciate your response.
reply to Anika (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)
HI my name is Clair and my pal Linsey and I are wondering about your
time in germany? Was it fun?
Clair & Linsey
hallo. i am andrea wagner, i come from pretty close to you guys. i live in idaho falls idaho. my family and i go four or fife times a year to bozman. now i am in germany on the congress bundestag program.
andiy wagner, 49328 melle- riemsloh
this email is my families, but it is checked more than my email. when
you have questions please ask. i am very open about me and my life here
servus ;) andiy
reply to Andrea (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)
reply to Andrea (Mon, 22 Jan 2001)
Hey Andrea! This is Jeff and Jans from Mr. Junghans's 8th period German class. We are very glad to meet someone who lives in Germany but has experience in the US of A who can answer questions. We know a little bit about the German culture from our studies, but it's not the same as firsthand experience.
How does a school day over there compare to one here in America? Do
you find it hard to keep up in class? Okay, enough of German stuff. What
kind of music do you listen to? Do you have a favorite song? What about
movies? I hear that the movies over there are delayed about two months.
Is that true? I couldn't handle having to wait a couple extra months for
MI:2 or Meet the parents. Anyway, we must go.
Ok, so I'm a little late responding to the nice letter that Mr. Junghans sent all of us about participating in this forum, but I still wanted to introduce myself and mention a few things about my life here in Germany. I'm in favor of exchanging cross-cultural perspectives, and I think bulletin boards like this one are a good idea. So here goes....
My name is Margaret and I'm originally from Chicago. These days I'm
living on a Congress-Bundestag scholarship in a smalish town (pop. 65,000)
called Herford in Ostwestfalen (the eastern part of Nordrhein-Westfalen,
for those of you looking in atlases), about 10km north of Bielefeld. Things
here are good and I have a really nice host family and some cool friends.
I had been an exchange student before I came here this year, but only for
short periods and usually during the
A few comments to the subject of differences between
Germans and Americans: I think I'd be misrepresenting truth (i.e.
lying) if I said there were no differences, but I think they're not as
big as many people would imagine. Also, (and this may not surprise you)
a lot of the stereotypes of German existence are simply not true. Bier,
Lederhosen? I know Germans who don't even like beer, nevermind consuming
large quantities of it on a regular basis. And I have yet to see anyone
I think one of the difficulties in comparing German and American lifestyles is that all of the Americans here come from different backgrounds in America, and there are fairly significant regional differences throughout all of Germany. So the same way a German student coming home from LA would have a different perspective on Americans than one who had lived in small town Arkansas, an American student living in Hamburg or Bremen has a different notion of Germany than someone in a Dorf in Oberfranken.
I would also like this opportunity to share one of the most bizarre intercultural misunderstandings I have encountered during my stay here: tunafish pizza. They sell it fresh at stands, they sell it frozen in boxes and somehow, they even label it AMERICAN. Now, maybe we just don't eat normal pizza in Chicago, but have any of you kids ever even _heard_ of tunafish pizza in the United States? I can't say I've ever encountered or eaten it back home, and it baffles me that this weird and reeking creation so foreign to me could be identified as 'typically American'. (Apologies to all tunafish lovers out there, but this really strikes me as a misuse of good protein.) Does this perhaps come from Italy? I don't know. I any case, it was a big shock to me to see my first box of frozen 'America' pizza smothered in tunafish and onions. Zoiks.
Well, I hope that gives you some initial impressions of Germany, from my limited perspective, anyway. Happy Spring and I hope that if the weather isn't already warm where you live, that it's on its way there.
P.S. Please post questions or responses to this. As you can say, I'm