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USA Exchange 2014 Online Diary

Fri 17 October 2014

6:15 am Pforzheim Messplatz, 2:20 pm (local time) Newark Liberty Airport. In the following three weeks twelve German exchange students are visiting their American friends from North Brunswick Township High School, New Jersey. Stay tuned and follow our adventures and experiences, hopefully this time without hurricanes or other major disasters!

Hello US! THG is back again.

 

Sat 18 October 2014

When I woke up this morning in my king size bed it really hit me: I am in the USA! After I figured out how the shower worked (even those work differently here), I had really nice pancakes with blueberry syrup for breakfast and waited for Alex, my exchange partner, to finish her PSATs, which she had to take at school. After she was finished, her mom and I went to pick her up and we went to a supermarket called BJ's, where everything is about twice the size compared to the stuff in Germany.

For lunch we ate grilled cheese with tomato soup and afterwards we went to a farm called 'Von Thuns', where we ate some awesome funnel cake and went through a funny corn maze, where we had to answer question about some baseball player I had never heard of! It was a lot of fun! Then we took a hayride to go pumpkin picking and Alex and I also shot corn and pumpkin cannons.

In the evening me, Alex, and some of the other exchange students went to a 'small' shopping mall in East Brunswick (which was actually the biggest mall I had ever seen) where we went shopping. It was a really nice first day!

(Anni Burkhardt)

 

Sun 19 October 2014

Hello everyone, it is our second day in the US and it still feels like a dream! The weather today was a bit cold but sunny, so Vikki and I also decided to go to the Von Thun farms after breakfast, obviously quite a popular place! Lots of her friends also went there. First we went apple picking - there are lots of apple trees and you can walk by them and pick some apples. After that we went to the corn maze and tried to find our way through it. It was really funny, because the Americans had no idea where to go but I read the map and showed them the way! In the evening we went to a restaurant and had dinner there, I ate the best cheesecake ever! When we finally arrived home, I went to bed early - looking forward to our first schoolday.

(Melanie Kurz)

 

Mon 20 October 2014

Today was our "first" school day and it felt like this: I was very excited, because everyone told me that it would be very different, and it really was. After a dark bus drive (the busses didn't have light) I stood in front of a big, big school. I have the feeling everything is bigger in America. Also the school and the classes are so different from ours. They are longer and the structure is so different compared to our lessons. After school we had a meeting, where we talked about the next few days at school. We came home at 3 o'clock and I didn't do much. Later I went with Kelly's mum and sister to a bookstore. I realised again that I am in America, because of the size of the store. It was an exciting day with new people and new experiences. I can't believe I am here, but I can't wait for the next schoolday.

(Jana Pohl)

 

Tue 21 October 2014

Today we made our first field trip here in the USA to 'Duke Farms' which is a property consisting of different mansions connected by paths right through the American nature. One of the famous yellow American school buses picked us Germans up and we turned it literally into a 'party bus'. On our request the bus driver turned up the music and we all sang together. Then, when we arrived we had to find the bikes to hire which was actually a little bit difficult in the beginning :D

The discovery of this beautiful area began! We rode through it all together ... and well: "safety first", so we all have had to wear neon yellow helmets which looked pretty funny! So on our 'adventurous' ride we saw some lakes, cute squirrels jumping around and trees in all colours and sizes. We had a picnic right next to a lake. The scenery was just awesome! Fortunately the weather was good throughout the day. Before returning the bikes some of us visited the 'Orchid Farm' where kinds of orchids grow I had never seen in my life.

On our way back to school we stopped in Somerville, a small town, where we ate pizza and walked down Main Street. Eventually we were all hanging around with Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts stuff talking and enjoying the sun. It was a nice day!

(Ellen Jahner)

 

Wed 22 October 2014

This day was supposed to be another school day with our American exchange partners. My partner Emily works in the school store of the NBTHS (= North Brunswick Township High School) and has to prepare the things in there for the rest of the day so that the store is tidy and the things can be sold. That's why we both went to the school store before the lessons started.

Our school day started with two lessons of German with the American exchange teacher Mr. Schmoll in two different classes. In the first lesson I joined Emily in her German class together with some other Germans and their partners. During class we formed groups each consisting of one German student and three American students. They had to interview us about what we liked, how we liked the US and what we had done up to now and other questions they were interested to know about us. And after that they had to introduce us to the rest of the class. In the second lesson where some of us Germans went to another German class of Mr. Schmoll we did the same thing. It was really nice getting to know other Americans and seeing how their German skills are.

In the following two lessons I went to Health class and a lesson of statistics which is a kind of a Maths class. After the lunch break that lasted 40 minutes I stayed one lesson with Emily in the school store and then we went to "Computers" which is similar to the Computer lessons we have in Germany. Our school day ended at 2.15 pm.

In the afternoon my host family and I went to the confirmation of Emily's cousin. We first went to church and then to a restaurant where we all celebrated his confirmation. It was very interesting seeing all the similarities and differences between a German and American confirmation. The main difference is that it isn't on a Sunday but on a normal working day. The ceremony is very similar to the one in Germany except that the people in the choir are called Gospel singers. At the restaurant we celebrated the confirmation and I got to know Emily's family. It was really nice to meet them all and we were having a lot of fun.
In the evening we arrived late at home and I went to bed happily because of this exciting day.

(Jennifer Merling)

 

Thu 23 October 2014

Today we went to the fascinating Statue of Liberty. The day started as usual: I woke up at six in the morning, had some delicious breakfast, and headed to school. We reached school around 7:20 and attended homeroom. Homeroom finished 7:40, and it was finally time for us to meet in the Commons (an assembly or lunch hall) so we could leave to Liberty Island.

When we arrived in Liberty State Park, the view of the Manhattan skyline was breathtaking. During our walk to the ferry, which would take us to Ellis Island, the skyline was all we looked at. As it is my first time coming to New York, seeing this beautiful skyline was an incredible feeling. On Ellis Island, we visited and audio-toured the museum, which was amazing. It gave us very interesting information about immigration to America in the past.

After the museum, we took the ferry to Liberty Island. Our excitement grew as we approached Lady Liberty. When we reached the island, we started to walk around the statue and took some pictures as a group, like the one attached. We then walked to the pedestal to see the awesome view of New York City. This was one of the most fascinating experiences of my life, and I hope I can visit America again someday!

(Moritz Blencke)

 

Fri 24 October 2014

Starting with school as usual, this Friday was going to be another great experience in our exchange. The different classes were still very exciting and I even took an English vocabulary test, although I had no idea what most of the words meant. After school we then had a more or less traditional “Oktoberfest”. For that we were in the decorated German classroom and listened to some German music. There, we had pizza, Sauerkraut, some biscuits and a very good time.In the evening I, Moritz and our exchange partners Tejas and Shreyas met friends and went with them to Buffalo Wild Wings which is a restaurant known for its chicken wings. We ordered three large baskets and potato wedges. It all tasted phenomenal! The chicken wings were the best I have ever had. There were also a lot of screens which showed different sports like American Football and Baseball. Being very full afterwards we all walked home. And so another great day ended.

(Yannick Kolein)

 

Sat 25 October 2014

Today was the first real weekend here in the USA. Instead of going to school, I spent the day with my exchange partner, Lester. We woke up at 7:00am and went to a Cross Country (running) competition at Thompson Park. The atmosphere with more than twenty schools competing was amazing. The competitors had to run 5,000 meters. I also got to play soccer while they were running.

We went home at around 1:30pm, ate Chinese food and left for New York.We drove to the Secaucus train station right outside New York, and took a train that went through a tunnel to the city. The train took us to Penn Station. When I walked out of the station, I was shocked at the mere size of the city. I had never visited a city nearly as big as New York in my life. The city was full of yellow taxis and skyscrapers. While I cannot imagine getting lost in Pforzheim, I could easily imagine getting lost here. We walked to the Empire State Building, across Times Square and Broadway. Times Square looked just like how the films portrayed it.When we got to the Empire State Building, we had to buy tickets to go to the 87th floor. The kind employees included a visit to the New York Skyride along with the deal. The New York Skyride is a virtual tour of the greatest attractions of New York. I found it very interesting. After that, we waited in line for about two hours. Nevertheless, the view on the 87th floor of the Empire State Building was worth the wait. The view was incredible. I could see the whole metropolis from where I stood. All the skyscrapers, all the streets, all the people of New York were there below me and I was right there, not looking at them on a movie screen, but looking at them right there. Since the sun had set, the whole city was lit with the beautiful lights of New York.

(Mert Sahbaz)

 

Sun 26 October 2014

It was our first whole week in the United States and it has been amazing. I started my day by sleeping until 11 o'clock, because going to field trips and school is pretty exhausting.

My exchange partner and I wanted to go to a Diabetes Walk to raise money and awareness for diabetes, but he had to work and we couldn't go. Luckily, he returned after a few hours and we visited a close friend of his who suffers from Diabetes. I got to know many new people and all of them are unbelievably friendly und funny!

After we had eaten some pumpkin pie, we went to Alex, Another american exchange student. Almost everyone attended and we had a great time! Again, we had a lot to eat and talk. We played pantomime and many other games. One of the Americans accidentally crashed a chandelier! Everyone was laughing!

Eventually, we all went home, because tomorrow we are going to Washington DC for 3 days! I'm going to bed now, tired, but happy and awaiting another great adventure in the United States of America!

(Sarah Zaman)

 

Mon 27 October 2014

Today we started our trip to Washington, DC. We met at 6:35 am at the train station New Brunswick and rode with an American Amtrak train about 3 hours to Washington. After that we used the metro to our hotel. Leaving our suitcases and bags in the District Hotel Washington we started our first sightseeing walk through the city.

Our first stop was the White House which is smaller than we thought but still really nice. Everybody took some pictures and we walked on to the gift shop of the White House where we took some really funny group pictures in front of a copy of Obama's desk and lectern. Then most of us were hungry, so we stopped at a food hall for lunch.

The next stop was the Washington Monument, which is just incredible. From the Washington Monument we were able to see the White House again, the Capitol, which is masked at the moment because of refurbish works, and the Second World War Memorial as well as the Lincoln Memorial. The next stop was the Second World War Memorial. This is made just awesome. We walked along this Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial. After climbing a few stairs we had a wonderful view back to the Second World War Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol. Many pictures later und after visiting Lincoln we walked to the Korean War Memorial and the Martin Luther King Memorial.

Having to deal with the long distances in DC we also finished our sightseeing tour there and walked to the next metro station, for our check-in at the hotel. Three persons got together in one room. We all had some free time which we used for relaxing and visiting the rooms of the others. At 6:30 pm we started our last walk of the day, direction "Downtown". We ended up in the German-Italian restaurant "Vapiano" for dinner. After everybody was satisfied we walked back to the hotel and stopped at a supermarket. Before we finally felt asleep we recognized that we were not able to lock our door - so we had to change our room at midnight.

(Felix Laubheimer)

 

Tue 28 October 2014

Today was the second day in Washington. We all met at 9:30 in the lobby of the hotel and went to the National Mall, where we could decide which museums we wanted to visit. There were a lot of different museums, like the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. Especially the Air and Space Museum was very interesting. After we had visited the museums we walked back to the hotel, from where we went to Georgetown by bus. There we had four hours time for eating and shopping in stores like Nike and Levi's before we met again and took the bus back to the hotel.

(Philipp Weisser)

 

Wed 29 October 2014

The main activity of the last day of our wonderful Washington trip was a visit of the United States Capitol.

After everybody had finished the individual breakfast, we walked to a close-by bus station from where we took a bus to the U.S. Capitol building. When we arrived there at 11am, we first of all had to pass the security. Inside, we got a short film introduction to the history and importance of the U.S. Congress, followed by a guided tour through a few rooms of the building. In addition to the Capitol dome, we saw many statues of important people during the history of the United States as well as the old Chamber of the Senate. In the end we were allowed to see the Chamber of the Senate and the Houe of Representatives.

At 2pm we went to the food hall to get lunch. Afterwards we already had to get our bags and head for the Union Station where the Amtrak 196 train took us back to New Brunswick. My day then ended with watching the final game of the baseball world series.

(Philipp Hofheinz)

 

Thu 30 October 2014

Today was another school day, so Alex and I went to school by bus, where Alex had to take a Chemistry test in the first and second period. I tried to read through the test, but as I had never heard about most of the stuff before, I didn't want to take it; not even that I knew some of the multiple choice questions could change my mind. Afterwards we had a lot of other subjects, it was fine, I especially liked the subject "Lifeguarding". After school, Alex and I went to Mr. Schmoll's room, because a reporter wanted to interview some of the exchange people. When we were finished Melanie and I had to wait for Alex and Victoria to finish practice, so we watched the girls varsity team playing volleyball, they are really good! I would love to have teams like that at our school! Then I went home, where Alex had to do homework, so I was really happy when Kevin and Philipp wanted to go get some ice cream with me. So we went to the shops, had ice cream and got Alex, who was at home doing homework, something from Starbucks. It was a nice day!

(Anni Burkhardt)

 

Fri 31 October 2014

Halloween started like a usual day. Yannick, Shreyas, Tejas and I woke up, had breakfast and went to school. This day was particularly special because the German exchange students went to the Middle School, where we talked to the students about our experiences in America and our experiences with our American exchange students. With one of the classes we played a game of "Ninja", where we had a lot of fun. After this we came back to the High School and it was time to go home.

When we reached home, we ate some lunch, got ready and went trick or treating with Tejas and Shreyas's friends. We got some candy from a few houses and then we went to the football game. This was the first time I saw a live football game. It was a fun experience, even if the school team wasn't that great. At the game, we spent time with the marching band, who are all very nice and friendly. I really liked hanging out with them and listening to them play. After the game was over it was quite late and time to go home. So Yannick, Shreyas, Tejas and I went home. The fantastic night had to come to an end and we went to bed.

(Moritz Blencke)

 

Sat 01 November 2014

Today was the first day of our last weekend in the USA. In the morning, Vikki had a volleyball game and I watched it. It was really exciting and luckily the North Brunswick Township Highschool won the game. Because we all were hungry, we went to Panera's and had breakfast. At 2 pm we all met in front of the Lyric Theatre in New York and watched a broadway show called 'On The Town'. It was amazing! After that we had very delicious pizza and walked around Times Square. Before we got home, we went to a place to look at the skyline at night, which is really beautiful. It was very late when we finally came home, and Vikki's sister and I watched a typical American movie, 'Mean Girls', before I went to bed.

(Melanie Kurz)

 

Sun 02 November 2014

This was my last weekend here in the USA. We ate delicious burgers at Five Guys for lunch, and then we visited the large Menlo Park Mall in Edison, New Jersey. The shopping center contained many clothes stores such as Hollister. Afterwards, I played soccer on the school field. My friends and I had a penalty shootout. My team won the match. I had a lot of fun playing soccer with Americans. At the end of the day, I went to a party for all the exchange students. The party was at Shreyas's and Tejas's house. We ate a lot of Indian food and ice cream. There was also great music. I had a lot of fun and it was a fantastic night.

(Mert Sahbaz)

 

Mon 03 November 2014

Our last week in America started with a trip to Philadelphia. Everyone, even the Americans, joined in. We rode one of the legendary yellow school buses, which took us about 1 1/2 hours.

When we arrived in Philly, a tour guide welcomed us and showed us many interesting buildings. One of which housed Thomas Jefferson once, the man who wrote most of the Declaration of Independence. After that the tour guide sent us all on a scavenger hunt to test our knowledge about American history. We split into two groups - boys vs. girls - and the girls won!

Being hungry, we decided to grab some food and most of us ordered the famous Cheesesteak! Then we went sightseeing and saw some amazing skyscrapers! At 2.30 p.m. we took the school bus back to North Brunswick, where some of us had planned on going to the mall to buy souvenirs for friends and family.

(Sarah Zaman)

 

Tue 04 November 2014

Today some of us Germans went to New York City! It was awesome! We saw almost the whole city in one day! So we started at Highline Park which is kind of an old railway line on the height of some house's roofs with many plants on it. It was really nice! Afterwards we walked through the urban streets of Greenwich Village and SoHo and ended up in Chinatown where we saw tons of different kinds of fish, ducks and pig ears! Crossing the Manhattan Bridge gave us one of the most amazing views over the Brooklyn Bridge and the impressive Downtown skyscrapers (and of course a lot of nice pictures too!).

Next stop: One World Trade Center (which is actually the fourth-tallest building in the world) and Ground Zero. It's such a beautiful and sad memorial with waterfalls and stones carrying the names of the victims of 9/11 in the places where the Twin Towers used to be.From there we went by subway to Central Park which is definitely one of my favourite places in NY! After we walked a bit through it we sat on a big rock enjoying the last sun rays and watched people ice skating. Finally when the sun went down and the lights went on we headed to Times Square. On the way there the girls took some pictures with a 'hot Abercrombie male model' which was really funny! But also the boys got their chance to take pics of almost naked girls at Time Square! To put it in a nutshell, it was an awesome day we spent in NYC with a lot of great impressions! Thank you Mr. Kohler!

(Ellen Jahner)

 

Wed 05 November 2014

Today we had our last school day and also the last German exchange students were able to join a German class, today conducted by Mister Kohler. He was today the sub of Herr Schmoll, who was not in school because he and his family were sick. After the 6th period, our last few moments at North Brunswick Township High School started. Saying goodbye to many new friends was the most difficult part then. But we made it... In the evening many of the exchange students met at somebody's house for talking, eating, playing games and so on. Afterwards we had a nice bonfire with many other people.

(Felix Laubheimer)

 

Thu 06 November 2014

My partner and I had spent the previous night at a friend's house. In the morning we walked to a Bagel place in the rain to get breakfast. After that I enjoyed some free time at home - which actually didn't happen very often during the exchange.

At 6pm all exchange participants and their families met at the Athletic Club for the farewell party. We had a good time, which means we ate a lot of food, listened to music, saw some pictures of what we had done in the last three weeks and finally told everyone how much we're going to miss them. At this point we have to say thank you to the families we lived in for their great hospitality, and to Herr Schmoll and Herr Kohler (who unfortunately could not be there today because of illness), for their time they spent on the whole exchange making sure that it would be as successful as it really was.After the goodbye party had finished, some friends came together again to hang out and enjoy the last night in North Brunswick.

(Philipp Hofheinz)

 

Fri 07 November 2014

So our last day in America had arrived. It was time to say gradually good-bye. But luckily our plane was scheduled to leave at 7:30 pm so we had some time left. Additionally our American exchange students didn't have school this day and we could do whatever we wanted to do. After getting up later than usual my partner Emily, her mom and I visited Emily's grandmother. Together the four of us went to a nice diner where we had a delicious breakfast. It was very nice getting to know Emily's grandmother. We talked a lot about the exchange and I told her what I had seen in the past three weeks. Afterwards we brought her home and went back to my host family's house. There I packed my luggage and more and more realized that I was going to leave and this exchange was about to end soon, which made me really sad.

At 3:00 pm we left the house that used to be my home for the last three weeks and I went together with Emily, her boyfriend and her mother to the airport. There we met all the other exchange students together with their family. After we had checked in our luggage it finally was time to say good-bye. Now we couldn't hold ourselves back anymore. A lot of us started crying. Sure, we were all looking forward to see our families and friends in Germany again but during our stay we got really close to our host families which made our farewell even harder. We promised that we'd see us again and went with a heavy heart through the security check and to our gate. During our flight we all did different things but I guess everybody thought about the exchange and all their experiences at some time.

This might be the end of our exchange but it isn't the end of everything. We made very good friends with people living over the Atlantic Ocean and know that there will always be somebody we can rely on.

(Jennifer Merling)

 

Sat 08 November 2014

Happy but tired arrival in Frankfurt 10:00 am, in Pforzheim at noon. Also time to say goodbye from our blog. Thank you so much for following us on our three weeks in the USA. See you again in 2016!