Evan Rios reflects on time in Germany

My exchange at Birklehof School in Germany was an exciting one. I got to meet new people, experience a new culture, and visit a new country. When I first left for exchange I thought of it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to study abroad in another country and I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.

One of my highlights from exchange was meeting all the fantastic people. When I got there, everyone was super friendly and nice to me. I was able to make a lot of friends. I still keep in touch with them even after my time on exchange. Meeting all of the wonderful people made my exchange a lot better, and I hope that I will be able to see them again. Another highlight would be all of the amazing food I got to eat. There was a variety of food that I have either had or hadn’t tried before. The food in Germany was very delicious.

I didn’t have many challenges on the trip except perhaps some classes that were in German. For the first week I had no idea what was going on in the classes, so I asked my friends about what they were learning and asked the teacher to summarize the lesson for me after class. I also had difficulty with the weather because it kept changing from super cold to hot. I also did not bring many shorts believing it would stay a little cooler, but I was definitely wrong.

From what I have learned about the school, it was very similar to Athenian, having fun events and student-led meetings. The campus also reminded me of Athenian, so I felt right at home. The only things that I would say were different would be the students’ schedules and that they mainly spoke German. I was definitely nervous living in another country for several weeks, but I learned that I adapt quickly and was able to fit right in with everyone else. I never felt out of place or as confused as I thought I would be because it felt like I was still in California.

For any 9th graders thinking about going on exchange, remember to pack for everything. I did not have an enough clothes to keep me cool or warm. Always prepare for the worst because you are in a different country and have no idea what to expect–don’t be too worried because it probably won’t happen–but always think about the wonderful things that can happen to you.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to go on exchange and I would be glad to do it again.