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High school in USA

Martin - North Dakota, Williston

My exchange year was just amazing! It all started on August 30, 2007. My journey there went very quickly and I couldn't wait to get to know my new family. I flew from Frankfurt to Denver, which took about 10 hours, and then from Denver to Dickenson. From Dickenson I had to fly another 2 hours to my new home.

When I arrived in Williston at 12 o'clock in the morning, my host father Bruce welcomed me with a beaming face and we got along great immediately. When I arrived at the house, Shelley, my host mother, greeted me and then I went to bed because I was dead tired from the long journey.

The next morning I was introduced to my two host brothers, Jacob and Derek, and my host sister, Sable. Of course also to my host dog Nash. We all got along well straight away and I really felt at home. It's unbelievable how I was received, with what openness and warmth, just unbelievable.

The first day we went with the family to see our grandparents at a lake, where we could go swimming, play basketball, tennis and baseball games.

Then, the next day, we went to school! I got up at 4 a.m. because I just couldn't cope with the time change. But that wasn't so bad either, because I was way too excited anyway. After breakfast together, we went to school together and my host father introduced me to the headmaster and a few friends.

I was also assigned my Locker, number 17. My new class, which seemed very small to me with only 10 people, but was really really cool, welcomed me very nicely and then it started. My schedule was pretty tough, with math, English, chemistry, and history in a row. But it turned out that American schools are easier than German schools.

Because of a lot of inquiries, I joined the football team, which was very good because I was able to make even more new friends there. Even though football was really tough, I really enjoyed it!

My English was rather poor in the beginning, but I could feel how it got better every day. After only a month my first English dream came. It was amazing to see how my head changed from German to English and I didn't have to think long to answer questions, really awesome!

In America you felt like a star because everyone wants to talk to you and want to see if you are really from Germany. Everyone just wanted to be a part of your daily routine, and I had a lot of friends who I always had to do with after school. When the football season was over, the basketball season continued, which was really awesome. The training was pretty tough and you really try to do your best and push yourself to your limits.

I and my family went to church every Sunday, which is really different than in Germany. You see everything much more loosely and simply differently than I could have ever imagined.

At Christmas I had to stay with a good friend because my family was going on a boat trip that I couldn't go on because they had planned it before they wanted to take me in as a guest student. There is a lot going on with the family at Christmas in America and it was a very nice experience, but during the Christmas break we had 2 hours of basketball practice every day.

I also got the chance to watch an NBA game with my host family. A dream came true for me, as I dreamed of watching a game like this even as a small child. I was in Minnesota and saw the Phoenix Suns against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Because we had thought about going on a family trip, my family went to Canada for a weekend. Canada was really nice, I was in Regina, which was a very nice time with my host family. My English was getting better every day and I became more and more independent and made more and more friends.

At the end of my year we took a trip to South Dakota to Mount Rushmore, then to Minnesota to the Mall of America. We also watched a Twins Diamondbacks Baseball Game, which brought us to Chicago. It was really nice as long as I was with my family and it never got boring, despite the long drives.

When I got home, I felt like a real American, having been to Chicago. Before returning to Germany, I had 5 days left in Williton, most of which I spent with friends. On July 4th I was able to see the fireworks in America, which were really cool to watch.

On July 5th I finally went back to Germany. My year has really changed me, I've grown up a lot and my English is very, very good. I made new friends and I will never forget my life this year. It was amazing!