Deutsch-amerikanischer Schüleraustausch 2023 - RHS meets RHS
Unsere Partnerschule Roncalli High School hat derzeit mehr Schülerinnen und Schüler als gewohnt: die deutsche GAPP- Gruppe befindet sich in Indianapolis zum Schüleraustausch und ist nach herzlichem Empfang für die nächsten Tage Teil der Schulgemeinschaft.
For the students, life in the United States has been filled with many new things – both big and small.
Here are some of our students’ American “firsts” from their time in the US so far:
Klara and Johannes
On our first day in New York we started exploring the city. In the hall of the One World Trade Center station there was a colorfully graffitied piano. We sat down at the piano and played. Klara played Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi and Johannes played the Prelude in C major by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was a nice experience to play in front of so many people at the new station.
The Homecoming Dance was way less formal than I had expected - we had a lot of fun just jumping and dancing around to 90’s and 2000’s songs and everyone looked stunning. There was ice cream called ‘snow cones’ which is just shredded ice with different syrup flavors. When your feet started hurting from high heels you could just get a pair of flip flops! I made some friends and had an amazing night at the ‘Hoco dance’.
I was chauffeured by 16-year-olds in the USA, which felt peculiar due to the difference in regulations compared to Germany. It was an interesting experience, with a mix of excitement and apprehension, given their age. Navigating American roads with these young drivers offered a unique perspective on driving practices. Overall, it was a memorable adventure.
Americans love to decorate their homes and gardens for fall. Therefore, off to Pleasant View Orchard - an orchard in Indiana where you can pick apples and big pumpkins! The huge pumpkins were waiting for us and we bought six of them. At the end of the day, we carved our pumpkins and put faces on them so they were ready for the fall season and especially Halloween!
Trying all the different fast-food chains in the US has been a very enjoyable experience. In comparison to the monotony of German McDonalds and Burger King, all the different choices between Chick fil A and Taco Bell, Wendys and Chipotle as well as White Castle and Five Guys, you can only be overwhelmed. And while I found Chick fil A and Taco Bell to be the most enjoyable, the American world of fast-food surely has something for everyone.
Hashbrowns are a specialty in the USA. They are grated potatoes that are grilled until crispy brown. I didn't know that you can make something so delicious out of potatoes. I'll try it out at home.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
On my last day in Indianapolis, my exchange partner and her family took me to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There we first took a tour around the track which included seeing the famous line of bricks that the winners always kiss. Afterwards we went to the museum. In there it was possible to play a game where you could pretend to drive a racing car on the speedway through an animation. It was much fun! Of course, you could also see lots of older or newer racing cars in there and learn something about the famous Speedway. For example, the stadium holds 300,000 people making it the largest sports stadium in the United States.
The first time we went to Kroger and Target was fascinating to me. We do have large convenience stores in Germany, but here there are so many options for everything in such big sizes, for example about 100 different ice cream flavors in 2kg containers. They also had massive aisles just for decorations and original clothing brands. It was very obvious how much effort and passion are put into marketing in order to make customers buy items.
I was really surprised by the way classrooms are set up at Roncalli. Each one of them is filled with things related to the subject being taught. The German room is especially impressive. It has flags from different states and our national flag on the walls, along with maps and souvenirs.
The reason the teachers can decorate the rooms this way is because they usually stay in one classroom throughout the day and the students move around after each lesson.
Last weekend we were at the Ovarian Cancer Walk* with some friends. It was the first time I did something like this. It may sound boring, but it was pretty cool in the end. You did see a lot and had time to get to know your partners and their friends. I definitely will go to some walks now in Germany if I have the chance to.
In the USA there are subjects that do not exist in this form in Germany. These classes are often very creative and active. For example, there is a special class called 'Yearbook'. In this class you learn how to write high-quality articles, take professional photos and design the layout for the yearbook. I was really impressed by the passion and creativity that goes into this subject. Our teacher even showed us the best angle to take photos of volleyball players. At every sporting event, there are students from this class who take photos that later appear in the yearbook.
A first for me was trying HOTCAKES with banana, nuts, butter, syrup and hot chocolate. Hotcakes are a kind of pancakes. They are a mix of eggs, water, flour and corn starch. It was a lot and delicious.
High schools offer a huge variety of classes. Because of this the students can follow their interests and things they are passionate about. I have experienced that the students have a better idea what to do after graduating high school because they have the chance to try many specific subjects in school.
This was my first ever school theater experience. I enjoyed learning the mechanics of several different parts of the Roncalli Auditorium and exploring behind the scenes. I was also able to help in the restocking concession stands. In Germany that’s not a normal class to take, so it was very exciting to me.
Tom & Johannes
This past Friday, I experienced the electrifying atmosphere of the student section at a football match. I didn't realize that it could be this tremendously thrilling. The connection between the students and their passionate cheers added to the overall exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
Last Friday I went to my first high school football game. The students’ cheering for their football team was amazing. I really like the school spirit and the fact that everybody loves their school. That gives the school a great atmosphere.
I never expected to experience my first Oktoberfest in America, but it turned out that I got to. The music taste is very different from Germany, but they wear “Lederhosen“ like in Bavaria. Everyone was expecting us to know the German songs but we didn’t. The food was nothing like in Germany, it tasted very different. But in the end it was a very enjoyable experience.
Bigger is better! Americans like things big. I ordered two scoops of ice cream. That’s what I got.
THE MARCHING BAND
One of my American firsts is that I was able to experience marching band practice. Right now, they are in the process of perfecting their halftime show for Friday‘s Homecoming game. The theme for this show is the music of "Queen", I even got a band T-shirt with the Queen logo on it! But what I found most impressive was how the students are able to play their instruments and march along with the choreography.
A “first“ for me in America was scoring a TOUCHDOWN! We had the awesome opportunity to play football with a class during PE this week. We learned the rules beforehand and, through this, I could gain an insight into the vast world of football. It was a great time!