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Whitney Leisten

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Chiara Loehrig, from north Germany near Bremen, is one of the seven lucky foreign exchange students here at Oconomowoc High School with us.  

“My family hosted two exchange students. My one sister was in Argentina last year and my other sister is now in Ecuador. I love to travel, see different things and I hear from guest sisters about all the other opinions, lifestyles, and other cultures,” Loehrig said while talking about why she was interested in becoming a foreign exchange student.

One reason Loehrig decided she wanted to come to America is because “everything is possible,” she says. “For me, it is really important to see the world and learn from different countries. Through AFS you can only choose the country you want to go to, and in America, you can come to a big city, a really cold or warm state, a state with green hills or to a dry state,”

“AFS has been in the High School/Community since 1985,” says Stephanie Freedman, head coordinator of AFS. Since then, we have had over 120 students from the AFS program come to OHS, and this year we have another seven.

When it comes to culture comparison, there are some big differences and some similarities.

Schooling in Germany is different than our schooling system here in America. Instead of having a set schedule all year like we do, in Germany, their classes and schedule change by the day. “Math, German, and English are twice a week and subjects like art, biology, history, geography, chemistry, gym, and physics are once a week, And we have different types of schools. We don’t have one big one like the high school,” explained Loehrig.

Chiara said that most things like how we dress and the food are not much different. The only thing about food that is different is that they have more breakfast foods, whereas we have a lot of fast food.

“I think one stereotype for me was that Americans eat so many unhealthy things, and because of that many of them are overweight. But I think it is false, America has a lot of fast food but the students and other people do a ton of sports,” said Loehrig.

Overall Loehrig hopes to improve herself.

“It will change how I look at the world and the experiences I collect will be shared with my friends in Germany and in America,” said Loehrig when talking about what she wants to gain from her experience here this year.

 

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