This year has brought a whole new batch of international students into our High School.
Both our Exchange Program and our Visiting International Student Program are flourishing. Many of our students look forward to the opportunity of going on exchange in 10th grade. Every year we receive letters from schools around the world who would like to come here for 3-6 months. This past year we have received well over 40 requests. While most of the students are from Germany, just in the past two years we have gotten requests from Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Brazil, Peru and Israel. Some of the students who cannot find an even exchange decide to come here as part of our Visiting International Student Program. Their families pay tuition and housing costs. We do our best to find the right host family for them.
By the end of the school year we will have had two exchange students and five VIS students:
Fiona Schachl and Alina Utsch are German exchange students with Evalyn Way and Hannah Sicherman. Marie Meier and Aaron Schwartz came from Germany and stayed with the Hite and Haut families.
Adriana Andreazzi is a student from Brazil and is staying with the Flores family. Yet to come are Aya Merz, from Switzerland, Charlotte Feiler, from Germany and David Klemm, from Germany. They are being hosted by the Zegel, Haut, and Fiorito families.
Fiona, Alina and Marie were gracious enough to write down what this time has been like for them, and we hope to include other experiences in the future.
We are very grateful to all who host and to all who make these students feel welcome in our community. In turn we look forward to our students having exciting and happy times in the countries they will be visiting. Please contact me if you have any questions about our programs or if you are interested in hosting in the future. In the meantime if you are ever spending a day in Philadelphia, New York City or some other fun place to visit, and would like some company, know that there are students who might love that opportunity.
Hey, my name is Marie-Luise Meier and I’m from Freiburg, Germany. Before I came, I was really looking forward, going to America and getting to know the American way of life. Since I was twelve I had always wanted to go to America, especially to speak the language fluently.
I came here without an exchange. I was a little bit nervous, but also happy to have such an impressive experience.
It all started on Friday, August 5th 2011. At 3 p.m. my plane landed in Philadelphia. Maggie and Karen were already waiting for me at the airport. It was very exciting for me, seeing my new family, the Hite’s. On this day my adventure started. It didn’t take me long to appreciate how wonderful my family was. I fit in with them right away. The first few weeks I spent a lot of my time with the people from the Hite’s church.
After taking part in a Musical we went to Canada and had a wonderful vacation, near Toronto. I also got to see Niagara Falls.Once our four week vacation was over, school finally started. I was really excited to get to know all of the students and teachers.
During the first weeks I got to know my class. They were so friendly and welcomed me from the first day. It seemed like I knew them for my whole life. Since then there was no day where I wasn’t excited to go to school and meet all of my friends. Every day had something new, something to learn from or to show other people. I took part in so many things and went to many places. Together with my class I went to Virginia on the Odyssey trip, I also went to California, Maryland, New York City and North Carolina.
I also enjoyed being in America over Halloween and Thanksgiving. On Halloween everyone was dressed so fancy and had their own funny costume. I went trick-and-treating and experienced another typical American thing. Over Thanksgiving we went to North Carolina with my family and had a great, big dinner with turkey. I loved spending some great time with so many people and getting to know all of them.
One of my favorite things in school was the Craft Show. There was such a wonderful atmosphere, talking to everyone, eating some food at the Coffee House and being together with friends.
Every main lesson block that I took part in was amazing. It was so interesting and even though it was in English I understood most of it and had so much fun working on my main lesson book. I loved getting grades, which we don’t have in Waldorf Schools in Germany.
Kimberton Waldorf School is probably the best school where I have ever been. The students, the teacher, the classes and the high school is such a great gift that I could experience and appreciate over the last 4 months. And back in my school in Germany I realize how much I miss my normal “American-School-Day” and I am sad to be so far away from everyone. But since I got to know all these wonderful people I know, that I will come back as soon as possible. Because know Kimberton is my “New Second Home”.
My name is Alina Utsch and I come from Duisburg, Germany. I am going to the Waldorf School in Muelheim an der Ruhr. In the next six months I will stay with Hannah Sicherman who will be coming to Germany. My sister did an exchange two years ago and she told me a lot of her experience in the school and in her life in America and so I decided to do an exchange. I was really excited to come to America, because it was the first big trip that I did by myself.
When I arrived in Philadelphia, PA, my host family welcomed me with open arms. I could not believe that I was finally in America. My “new” family asked a lot of questions and wanted to know who I was. I thought it would be harder to speak the English language, but I was surprised that it was so easy to speak and understand it. The first few things I saw were really big and as the time went by I realized that everything is big in America.
My first weeks in America were really exciting, because everyone and everything was new to me. After around about a month I went with my family to Ohio to go to a wedding. It was really different from Germany. 300 people!!!
After this event my grade and I went to Virginia for the Odyssey trip, which was really good. I learned how to live without electricity and just to live in the wilderness.
In classes I got better and better and I could understand much more than 3 months ago. The single blocks were a lot of fun and I learned a lot of new words and also a lot of new knowledge.
To stay with the Sicherman/Schaper family is great. For me it was not new to stay in a different family, because I did a two weeks exchange with my French friends. Nevertheless, it was different to stay more than two weeks with another family.
Kimberton Waldorf School is different to my School. We have two separate groups ( called A + B) for English, French, P.E., Math and so on. We do not have school everyday until 3:10 p.m.; our school ends every single day different and the different grades do not end at the same time.
Finally we ( Fiona, Marie, Hannah, Maggie H., Evie, Aye, Logan,Sam, Aaron) went to NEW YORK CITY. I knew New York City when I watched movies, but I have never been there before. It was amazing to see NYC. I was impressed how tall the buildings were and how many people walked at Times Square. We took the ferry to get to Manhattan. I saw a lot of singers and they were really good. The people in NYC were so nice and really funny and I did not want to go home. Now it is Christmas time and I am really excited for Christmas Eve, because it’s going to be different to Germany. I am glad that I will have three more months to stay with my host family and friends, to improve my English and to experience a lot.
I came to America on August 15th and I have had a very good time. My name is Fiona Schachl, I am from Lueneburg, Germany and I want to tell you more about my great time here. I don’t remember when I found out that I could go to America for 4 month to make an exchange, but I was really excited. Since I have been here, everyone asks me if I like it and I answer “yes I like it- I love it!”
It is not always easy to be in a foreign country. The first few weeks were especially difficult: I was almost always tired because of jet-lag and I couldn’t understand very much. In the first week I went with my exchange family on a vacation to Chincoteague Island, which was great because I had the chance to learn more about my new family. After we came back, the field hockey season started. Besides a few classes in P.E. in Germany I had never played before, so I was nervous. But soon I started to really like it- and the people on the team. The weekend before school started, we went to Pittsburgh, and that was a great experience because it was the first big American city I visited. It was a weekend I enjoyed a lot even if I was a bit nervous for my first day at school… and then that day came! I was nervous, but excited about the teachers and the people in my grade-What would they be like? But they all were so nice and even if I couldn’t understand everything, I felt comfortable very soon. Every day it became easier to understand and to feel like I was at home. I met the two other Germans in my class and now they are also kind of like my “family”. We talked about the differences between Germany and America and between our schools. First of all, this school is much smaller than mine in Germany and I like that a lot. Here everyone has their own locker, and you have study hall, bagels and pretzels during morning break, P.E. with other grades together and, you can ride the nice yellow school buses after school, which are all things I will miss. Other differences are the relationships between teachers and students, high school singing every morning, not every grade has their own classroom, the dress code, including nice dresses on some days, cleaning every Friday, and that everyone has to do one “after-school-thing” during the year, like a sport or the musical. So the weeks passed by. After school we had hockey practice and sometimes games which I liked a lot. On the weekends, I spent time with my family or friends. We went to Washington DC and Philadelphia. I think both cities were awesome but Philadelphia was wonderful… I loved it! And in October, we had our Odyssey trip in Virginia with our class. I enjoyed this trip a lot, even if it was hard and the weather wasn’t the best. It was especially great because our grade is so small. After that trip I noticed that I was already here for 2 months. I didn’t feel like a visitor any longer. At the end of October there was Halloween and I was excited because Americans celebrate it more than Germans. On the weekend we wanted to go with exchange students and their partners to New York City but it began to snow like crazy and so we decided not to go. So instead of New York we spent the weekend at home- without power because a tree hit the electric wire. And to make it worse- I got lice. It wasn’t so bad for me but I felt sorry for my family because we had to do all this washing and stuff. And then there was a day at school I really enjoyed: Pajama day! On the weekend after, part of my family and I went to Ithaca, NY and it was another awesome experience. One week later, we had an early thanksgiving with friends. We don’t have thanksgiving in Germany so I was curious, and now I can say that I will miss that- to sit together with family and friends and to have this delicious dinner! And on Sunday we went to New York City, which made this weekend even better. We went with all the exchanges, their partners and Mrs. Burgess, the German teacher. It was such a great day-we saw a lot of things and I don’t think I will ever be able to forget it!
I had a great time up to now and I’m sad when I think about how I have to leave soon. My American family is the perfect exchange family for me and I’m thankful to know them and for everything they did for me. There are a few things I know I will miss for certain: first of all my family, friends, American houses, peanut butter (almost everything here has it, it seems), and pancakes and bacon for breakfast.
So now at the end of my exchange, I just want to say that I’m glad that I came. I just wish that everyone could have an experience like this, too.