Three foreign exchange students get a taste of RB

Three foreign exchange students get a taste of RB

Pape, left, with host student Katie Maxwell; inset, exchange students Fey, left, and Meurer

Rebecca Rusiecki, Staff Reporter

In the past, RB has hosted many exchange students from around the world. This quarter, RB is happy to welcome three new students from Germany. Paulina Pape, Rebecca Fey and Fabian Meurer are all from different parts of Hessen, a central state in Germany. They arrived in the US on Monday, March 19th. Through an exchange program called the Friendship Connection, Inc. these students will have the opportunity to learn more about life in the United States and improve their English by spending a month studying at RB before returning to Germany on April 16th.

The educational system in Germany differs from that in the US. After primary school, students enter into one of three different types of secondary schools, based on both their academic ability and plans for the future. In addition to this, while classes at RB meet every day, students in Germany have different classes each day that meet only a few times per week. Also, in their last year of school, students take an important test, called Arbitur, and immediately go to a very focused graduate or vocational school. The students also say that the overall culture of the schools differ slightly. “The relationship between the students and their teachers is different, which I really like,” said Pape.

Pape, Fey and Meurer have each been studying English for several years. Because European students are usually taught British English, the transition to American English can be a challenge, yet it greatly improves their speaking and listening abilities. “At the beginning, it was a bit hard to understand, but now it is much easier,” said Fey. “Understanding is very easy most of the time,” said Meurer.

Yet despite any language barriers, there are many things the students enjoy about life at RB. “I really love the USA. My everyday life here is really different from my life in Germany. I get a lot of new experiences from simple things, like going to school or to a grocery store. It’s very interesting. I also like the sports and other activities you can do after school,” said Pape.

Fey, Pape and Meurer all have different interests and goals for their stay. For example, Meurer has been playing soccer since he was four years old. During his time at RB, he has begun playing baseball and football, as well. In the past, Meurer has also studied French on a foreign exchange trip to Madagascar.

“I get a lot of new experiences from simple things.”
-Paulina Pape

Fey, who also studies French, Hungarian and Chinese, has been participating in dance competitions for over ten years. She has traveled across Europe for international competitions. During her stay in the US, Fey says she has enjoyed the peacefulness and greenery of the community.

Pape, who has been studying English for eight years, has many goals for her time at RB. “My goals are to get to know a lot of new people, see what life is like in another country, another continent, and learn more about the language and culture. My plans are to see a lot of Chicago, and maybe go to a baseball game, since we don’t have baseball in Germany at all,” said Pape.