Charlottes Schüleraustausch in Texas

Seit August ist unsere Austauschschülerin Charlotte in Texas. In diesem Text erzählt sie uns, wie das Leben in Coronazeiten ihren Austausch geprägt hat und wie eng dadurch die Verbindung zu ihrer Gastfamilie wurde.

The time you are an exchange student is the best of your life. You travel to a different country and live there for 10 months with people you have never met before. You get to know a new culture and make friends all around the world. But what if there is a pandemic in the world? I know that this year is a little bit different from other years and because of that I am especially glad and thankful to be here with my amazing hostfamily! My family is currently in quarantine. But let’s start from the beginning.

One year ago, in November, I started to prepare my exchange year, in December I had everything figured out with my German organization Partnership International (PI) and they send me the link to the online application. Every day I got more and more excited.

But then COVID happened. For a long time, it wasn’t even clear, if I could even come here and spend the year in the United States. Many German organizations cancelled the exchange for their students. I am very thankful for PI and ETC for giving me the opportunity to be here and make those amazing experiences possible.

In June I had my preparation meeting in Cologne with other exchange students. The year was coming so close but I still didn’t know where I would spend it. Summer break came and my family and I went on our yearly vacation to the Baltic sea. I can remember the moment still so clearly. August 7th, I was reading my book at the beach, I got an e-mail from PI. A Potential hostfamily. I was screaming so loud the whole town was probably able to hear me. And then, 8 days later, August 15th, I was on the plane, on my way to Texas.

Now I’m here, 4 months later. Time passes like nothing. I’ve experienced so much until now and we are having so much more planned. In a couple of days, it’s Christmas Day. Christmas, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come to the United States. We’ve started decorating in November, even before Thanksgiving (my hostmom and hostsister Salomé didn’t like it) and I love it! In Germany, all my family has is a Christmas tree, so I was really excited about all the decorations we have.

Overall I’m having a great time in the United States. I’m super thankful for my family, who gives me a home during that year, supports me and is just always there for me. I’ve been having a hard time with my family in Germany. My sister got sick and sometimes I have the feeling I should be there for her and my mom, in person. I was crying a lot but my hostparents were always there for me, listening and making me happy again.

Anyway. COVID, even if not a lot, changes the experience of an exchange year. We are stuck at home, doing homeschooling, now we are stuck in quarantine, and we can’t really do anything with our friends. However, I think that because of COVID the Family is getting closer together. We’ve had so much fun, watching weird and funny shows together, playing Trivia every Friday, cooking German recipes from my grandparents, baking cookies and or cakes and playing card and board games together.

Of course, I hope for a vaccine and COVID rates to go down so we can go to High school normally, make more friends and get another exchange experience. But until then we all should be happy and thankful to be here and make the best out of it!