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USA Exchange 2012 Online Diary

Fri 19 October 2012

Today was finally the day we had all been waiting for, we flew to the USA. We had to get up very early today, because we had to be at the airport at 7:15am, which is pretty early. After we had all passed the security checks, we finally could go on our plane at about 9. What now waited for us was the hard part of our journey, a 9-hour flight to Newark airport near New York City. On the flight we all tried not to be bored so we watched films, played games or tried to sleep. The flight also wasn’t just hard because it took so long but also because of the bad weather conditions, so we were shaking hard a few times. After we finally had finally arrived at Newark we were all welcomed warmly by our host families. After having said hello to each other we went home with our families to spend the rest of the day with them. We all hope now for three unforgettable weeks. 
(Mike Schauer)

 

Sat 20 October 2012

After waking up in a huge, comfortable bed, I had Blueberry Muffins and fruit for breakfast. My host parents are very friendly and they do everything to make me feel welcome. Enjoying the beautiful autumn weather, my exchange partner Sydney and I went on a walk through the neighborhood. It felt like being in an American movie! I saw a couple of squirrels running through the gardens of the houses. It seems they are quite common here,and they are so cute.
At 1 pm two of Sydney’s friends took us to a soccer match one of the American exchange students was playing in. There we met some of the other German and American exchange partners and we had much fun. After the exciting match we went to an amusement park called Six Flags. There we saw the world’s highest and fastest rollercoaster! When it got dark in the park it was quite scary because at the weekends before Halloween there is "Fright Fest". Many actors were costumed like monsters or vampires and tried to frighten us. Anyway, this park is the craziest I have ever seen. When we were back at 2 am I fell in my bed and dreamed of the adventures of this exciting first day in New Jersey. 
(Kim Späth)

 

Sun 21 October 2012

It was still strange on this second day of the first weekend to wake up in a house that is strange to you - in a completely different environment. But dealing with this makes us stronger!
After getting up I had breakfast with my host-family. The bagels are standard here and you really have to try them once with something typical American like peanut butter. Going to church on a Sunday is very common here and so I went to church with Jennifer and her parents. Unfortunately we didn't meet other students taking part in the exchange because North Brunswick is too big to only have one church. I was introduced to the priest, who is by the way a very nice man, and the whole service seemed much more interesting to me than the ones in Germany. They tell stories from our everyday life which is kind of different from home, but the rest is nearly the same.
After having lunch we went to visit the University of Princeton. I've never seen anything more gorgeous before, especially when you keep in mind that it's a college. The buildings are old and they look so beautiful. We took part in a tour and our tour guide was a student from Princeton University, so he could tell us many facts about this old College and about his own experiences there! When seeing all this I immediately thought about spending my university time in the USA. Let's see what will happen with all of us!
By now I haven’t spoken to anyone else from the exchange. So I don't know what they did on the weekend - but I'm sure you will hear from us soon!
(Melanie Gansel)

 

Mon 22 October 2012

After the flight to Newark and two days with our host families, the first school day at North Brunswick Township High School was about to come. From movies we sort of knew what a high school was going to be like, but the information was just a little piece of a huge puzzle. The way to school is done in one of the yellow school buses picking everybody up from each neighborhood. After meeting up in the homeroom, every class listens to the speech of the principal including the word of the week or other information that needs to be known for the following day. For a student from Germany, everything seemed to be quite weird, because not only the school is much larger than the ones we are familiar with, there are twice as many students on it as well. Another difference is that the teacher is not coming to the students’ room; the students have to go to the teachers’ rooms. School lasts until 2.15 pm and after that the students go home by bus or by car. After arriving at home, students just do their homework and prepare to do the same school day again tomorrow.
(Bastian Rade)

 

Tu 23 October 2012

Since Mr. Kohler told us, we’d go to the USA, I couldn’t wait to visit New York City. So today, finally the day arrived, when we visited one of the most famous cities in the world.
After we all had arrived at school, we (that means the Germans) went with Janella’s (my partner) and Sydney’s (Kim’s partner) German teacher to one of the yellow school buses. It took us to NYC. The ride took nearly an hour and while we drove, we looked out of the window. Mostly we saw many factories, and the air was full of smog.
When we arrived we all were impressed by the skyline. You always see it on pictures, but seeing it in reality is something completely different. Then we went to the house, where the ferry to Ellis Island and Liberty Island was leaving. After a security check we went on board. First it took us to Ellis Island. That’s the place where all the immigrants from Europe and other parts of the world had to go through. There Julia got a wheelchair. Her foot is broken and with that, she didn’t need to walk a lot. It was really interesting!
After a trip to the museum shop to buy some postcards we went to the boat again, that now took us to Liberty Island. There we saw the Statue of Liberty. Everybody took as many photos as possible. We also took a group picture. We walked around the statue, but after an hour we had to leave to go on the ferry again. We went back to the bus and drove back to the school. There we had to wait for our exchange partners. But we used the time to go to the school shop. Everybody wanted a sweatshirt, but there were none. So we bought some homemade cookies. After our exchange partners arrived, we went home.  
(Antonia Wiederrecht)

 

Wed 24 October 2012

Today we went to school with our exchange partners for the second time which was still interesting because it was just like in the films. When school finished at 2.15pm like every day, all of the Germans went to the cafeteria, where the German Club of NBTHS had an 'Oktoberfest Party'. It was meant to be German, but except black, red and yellow balloons, there was actually nothing German. All in all we just talked and ate American food like cookies and the brownies, my exchange partner Brianna and I had made the day before. After a while, some of us went to the theater at school and the Americans showed us around. Later, we were in the band room for some time and tried out all the instruments.
In the evening some of us met to make a campfire and we made s'mores, which is a typical American snack. For this you have to roast a marshmallow and put it (together with some chocolate) between two 'grahm crackers' (cookies). All that tasted really, really sweet! It was a nice evening and we all enjoyed it!:)
(Nadine Oser)

 

Thu 25 October 2012

Our day started at 7.40 when we met in the High School to discuss some things and to wait for our bus which took us to Duke Farms. Duke Farms is one of the largest natural reserves in New Jersey. It was created by James Duke long ago and today serves as a habitat for native plants and animals. When we arrived at Duke Farms everyone of us got a bike and then we started our trip through the wonderful landscape. Everyone could ride wherever we wanted to. On our trip we saw squirrels and water falls and just enjoyed to see all the trees in a wonderful autumnal mood.
After the ride we went back to our bus and we drove to a nice, little town named Somerville. There we ate our lunch and not all were happy about the food. Mike, Fabian, Bastian, Benny, Patricia and I went to a Chinese restaurant and we all were sure that we had never had such bad food before! Luckily, the others had delicious pizza in a nice Italian restaurant. At 1.30 we went back to school where our exchange partners picked us up. All in all we really had a great day!
(Alina Buk)

 

Fri 26 / Sat 27 October 2012

On Friday morning, some of the German students met with Mr. Kohler in front of the High school to visit the students at Linwood Middle School. The kids (from 6th to 8th grade) had prepared questions to ask us, we talked to them and sang German and American songs together.
In the evening, Jenelle took me to a football game of the High school team, the North Brunswick Raiders. During halftime, the cheerleaders did a cheer. The band played a song and the color guard did a dance. There were many people there and about 30 Raider football players. Even if I didn't get all the rules and the Raiders lost the game, it was so much fun!
After having pancakes for breakfast I went with Jenelle and her mum to a farm for picking pumpkins for Halloween. I liked the farm a lot, we went on a hayride, chose our pumpkins, got lost in a corn maze and tried Halloween sweets. Jenelle tells me that later tonight we will go to a haunted walk in Milltown. The theme of it is a haunted carnival. We will walk along a lake and through a forest. Every few minuets we will stop by a station where students from the Milltown High School will put on a short play. I am already excited to go there, I think it will be a little bit scary but a lot of fun though.
(Hannah Schempf)
 

 

Sun 28 October 2012

Today the whole group went to New York City to see the Musical Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway. Because everybody had to get there with their own cars, we left home at 10 o’clock, although the Musical started at 1 pm. Therefore we had some time there and my host family showed me around New York. I took hundreds of picture at Times Square. It was just amazing! The entire square was crowded with people and everything was shining and blinking. There were also lots of people who were dressed up as Disney figures waiting for you to take pictures with them.
Later we met the others in front of the theater. The Musical is about the upper class family Banks, whose children scare all their nannies away. But then Mary Poppins arrives with her umbrella and starts taking care of the kids. She shows them that housework can be fun and needn’t be done by the domestic staff and tries to make the children understand that helping poorer people makes you feel happy. They also get to know Mary’s friend Bert who is a chimney sweeper. In the end she even manages to bring the family closer together and makes Mr. Banks, who never used to have time for his family, realize that his job isn’t the most important thing in his life. They used a lot of effects for the show, so I really felt like I was in their house with them and Mary Poppins’ flying over the audience in the end was very impressive. All in all it was a really great day and I still can’t believe that I was really in New York! =)
(Kim Rolle)

 

Mon 29 October 2012

Owing to Hurricane Sandy we even made it to the front page of Pforzheimer Zeitung:
Click to open link.

We would like to thank all at home who have constantly been supporting and thinking of us.
 

 

Tu 30 October 2012

Normally my diary entry would have been about our first day in Washington D.C., but in reaction to the hurricane "Sandy" we had to cancel our trip to Washington D.C. So now I'm writing about the first time I've ever been in a hurricane.
The governor of New Jersey has declared a "State of Emergency". The Jersey shore has been prepared for flooding and public traffic has completely been shut down. They evacuated parts of the shore and downtown Manhattan! The hurricane arrived at North Brunswick at ca. 2pm on Monday starting with rainfall which was getting heavier in the evening. Huge waves flooded parts of the coastal area and rivers were flooding over their banks. At about 6pm we lost power so we had to stay in the dark only having flashlights. We had to make sure that we had charged a mobile phone at any time in case we had to call in an emergency. On Monday morning, we (Family Ikuss and I) had gone to the supermarket getting candies, some food for the next few days. Afterwards when the weather got worse we chilled out in the living room watching several movies and in the evening we played Monopoly for about four hours before we went to bed. The day itself was not that interesting but it might be one of these days you remember your whole life. I was watching TV and on nearly every channel they showed news about this gigantic hurricane coming towards us and I was sitting there waiting, not being able to do anything against this storm.
(Fabian Burkhardt)

And thanks to Bastian we are in the newspaper once again:
Click to open link.
 

 

Wed 31 October 2012

All over the east coast people are still busy clearing up the disaster hurricane Sandy has left behind. New Jersey governor Chris Christie cancelled Halloween and postponed it to the weekend. So all scary wraiths and monsters and kids wanting to go trick or treating have to wait...

 

Thu 1 November 2012

Today was our first day in Washington D.C. After all the troubles with hurricane "Sandy" we all were glad, that our trip could take place. First it seemed that Washington would also be hit by the storm and that we couldn't realize our trip. But right now everything is so far so good and here we are.
So our day started with waiting for our train. The train was late and it was really, really cold outside, so everybody was happy when the train finally arrived and everybody could have a seat in the warmth. The train ride was about 3 hours so we arrived in Washington at about half past 11. After getting our tickets we took the subway to Dupont Circle and walked then another 10 minutes to our hotel named "The District Hotel". Everybody went into the rooms, to park the luggage. Then we all met in the lobby to start our little sightseeing tour.
First we walked down the street and we stood directly behind the White House. It was amazing, seeing this popular and so often filmed house in real life. We walked around it so that we could see the front of the White House. I think I took 30 photos of the same house, but it was so cool to see the house of the President. Afterwards we walked trough a little park to the Washington Monument, that is a huge tower. From there we went along the Memorial of World War 2 and along the Vietnam Vets Memorial. These are all impressive monuments which inspire to think about them. At the end we arrived at the huge Lincoln Memorial. There were a lot of other tourists from all over the world, which showed us that this history is really important. That was the end of our little tour of the first day so we all went together back in town to find something to eat. And after a little free time for everybody we met again and went back to our hotel. When we went to bed we were full of new, great impressions.
(Patricia Schäfenacker)

 

Fri 2 November 2012

After we got up we had waffles for breakfast. During breakfast Mr. Kohler told us the program for the day. After that we walked to the Capitol. In front of it there were some police officers with huge guns. That was very strange, because there was no important person in it. We wanted to go in, but before we had to go through a security check. After the check we waited for our guide. The guide showed us the important rooms and halls of the Capitol. The rooms are very impressive, because of the beautiful architecture and the huge statues of the Presidents.
Then we went to a bus stop and waited for the bus to Georgetown. Georgetown is a little part of Washington. In the main street (called M Street) are just shops and bars. There we had some “free” time. So all of us looked for some new clothes. At 8pm we met at the bus stop again and went back to our hotel. This was an very nice second day in Washington D.C.
(Benedikt Risch)

 

 

Sat 3 November 2012

After having breakfast at Starbucks, Kim, Bastian, Antonia and I went to the supermarket across the road. OMG! I never saw so many different kinds of apples or fruit in general! There we bought some fruit because the Americans do not care that much about vitamins like the Germans. At 11:30 am we had to go back to our hotel to pick up our luggage and to go to the Metro station. At about 11:50 we arrived at the Metro station and we took the train to the Amtrak station, that is where the trains to New Brunswick leave. There was such a chaos in that station, so we lost Patricia and Mike. They came with the next train. Then all of us went into the Amtrak train and our trip back to our 'home city' started. Nearly 4 hours later we arrived at the station, where our Americans waited for us. After that I went shopping with my host family till 7 pm.
The highlight of the day was the place where we had dinner! It was a Chinese restaurant. Not such a restaurant you know from Germany. They cooked in front of us. The chinese waiter made a little "fire" there with oil and water. He also did some acrobatic things, like throwing vegetables into our mouth and he was also juggling the utensils before he started to cook. It was soo nice! I've never seen such a restaurant before, where you get your food directly from the grill, which was right in front of our table! AWESOME! After that day I went very tired into my huge bed! :)
(Julia Kühn)

 

 

Sun 4 November 2012

Today when I woke up and looked outside I couldn't believe that we finally had a blue sky and sunshine. This was the first time after five days without power, which was a result of hurricane Sandy, where we could start the day in a warm house, with warm water and light.
After breakfast with my whole host family (my partner is Nehi Patel), we got ready to pick up Laura, and then drove to Philadelphia. Laura and I were very excited about this and happy that we could go there because unfortunately the trip to Philadelphia for the whole group was cancelled. After only a one hour drive, we saw the skyline of Philadelphia and our first stop was at the Museum of Art, which is very famous and has collections of more than 227,000 objects that include "world-class holdings of European and American paintings, prints, drawings and decorative arts". It was a lot of fun there and we took a lot of pictures. After that her family showed us the main attractions of Philadelphia so that Laura and I got a small overview of the city. It didn't rain, so it was the best weather to walk through downtown "Philly" and enjoy the atmosphere there.
We spent a very good time there and on our way back home, we decided to make a stop at a big mall which was, for Laura especially, the next big highlight of the day.:) If you think that German malls are big, you've never seen American malls. They are at least twice as big. So it's no problem to stay there for at least two hours. :) All in all it was a very nice day and I'm excited to see what the next days will bring.
(Julia Freymark)

 

 

Mon 5 November 2012

Because school was canceled again like last week, on Sunday Kim, Fabian, Nadine and I went with our partners to the twins' house, were Mike and Larissa are staying to sleep over there. We watched movies, played ping pong and talked about the past two weeks and we all enjoyed it so much. We were all tired in the morning and because the Philadelphia trip that was actually planned for today was cancelled as well, we slept long and Larissa, Fabian, Mike and I decided to go to one of these big beautiful shopping malls to get some gifts for friends and families at home.
After we had had a great time at the mall and ended up with full shopping bags, we went to the council to meet the mayor. Again we got a very friendly welcome and talked to some members of the council and to the mayor himself. When the council members saw pictures from Pforzheim, they liked it so much that they almost decieded to plan a tour there. Even though Halloween was cancelled and nobody could go trick or treating either Jessica invited some people over to her house and we had a party with our Halloween costumes. Many of the girls were cats but some others were superwomen, sailors or dragons.
(Laura Schuster)

 

 

Tu 6 November 2012

Today we went to New York again with only a some German students and Mr. Kohler. When we had arrived in New York we first walked through Central Park. There you have a beautiful view over the skyline of New York. After that we had a little bit of time to explore the city on our own or to go shopping. Then we visited Chinatown where we saw a lot of Chinese people, Chinese restaurants and shops. Afterwards we walked on a bridge from which we had an amazing view. We could see Brooklyn, the Statue of Liberty, Downtown, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge. At the end of the trip we went on the observation deck of the Empire State Building (86th floor). We saw New York at night. It was stunning. For me this was the highlight of the day because I had never seen such an unbelievable view. And I think we will never forget this awesome day.
Today it was also Election Day. This is the day on which the people elect the President of the United States of America. My host family went to the polls to cast their votes and in the evening we followed the news of the election results on TV. At 11:15pm Barack Obama was reelected as President of the United States of America.
(Larissa Burkhardt)

 

 

Wed 7 November 2012

Only two more days in North Brunswick and today was only our fourth day at school. Due to the devastation hurricane Sandy left behind school was off for more than a week. But the New Jersey weather has even more to offer: today it started to snow...

 

 

Thu 8 November 2012

Today was our last whole day in the United States. On the one hand we are looking forward to seeing our families and friends again, but on the other hand we spent so much time with the Americans during the last three weeks, that the fact that we will probably never see them again is hard to accept.
The Americans organized a farewell party tonight, like we had prepared one for them in Germany. The party took place in ‘The Breakfast Club’. There was a little buffet and a bar where we could order some soft drinks. The club also provided us a DJ to play various music. At first nobody was dancing, but when the first people started more and more joined in until everyone was on the dance floor. There was a bright mood and everybody forgot about the flight home the next day, until the DJ played the last song ‘Time of my life’ by the Black Eyed Peas. At this point we started to realize that we would only have little time left with the person we woke up, ate, went to school with and made some trips during the last 21 days. The mood changed and some tears came up in the eyes of nearly everyone. The last pictures were taken, before the club finally opened for the public. So we had to drive back, to spent the last night in our host family’s home.
(Sarah Alber)

 

 

Fri 9 November 2012

Time to say goodbye. With all the souvenirs and clothes we have bought the problem of the day for all of us will be packing our suitcases without exceeding the weight limit of 50.7 lbs (23kg)!
Our flight's at 6pm and we should be in Stuttgart on Saturday at 8 in the morning.

 

 

Sat 10 November 2012

We are back! We landed in Stuttgart at 8am, we are all safe and sound and have plenty of stories to tell.
Thank you for more than 1,800 (!) visits to our website. See you again in two years for the THG USA Exchange 2014.