Say Hello to Julia
Say hello to Julia.
Julia is one of our exchange students from Germany this year. She is 16 years old, has long brown hair, and is usually found in a perky, talkative mood. She describes herself as “open.” Her host parents, Geno and Peggy Miller, were surprised to find her so talkative and said they had never had an exchange student who talked so much (in a good way!). Julia says that she would also describe herself as not afraid to try new things.
Julia’s first impression of America was much different than what she sees now. She said that when she was in her exchange student program, the people running her group told them all kinds of crazy stories about America. For example, they told her that in America you can only take showers 3 times a week! This, being obviously not true, is what surprised Julia the most. One of the other things that surprised Julia about America and Michigan is our student-teacher relationship, which, she says, you would never find in a German school system. Yet another thing that struck Julia as odd about America was that everything was so big. For example, she was extremely surprised when she went out to eat, and all the food portions and drinks were so large. She says that in Germany, the portions are much smaller compared to America’s. Trucks, Julia says, are another thing she finds odd about America – big trucks. She says that no one in Germany has big trucks, or any kind of pickup truck for that matter.
Julia says that she didn’t really ever have the urge to be an exchange student. She was actually inspired to become an exchange student by three of her older friends that were in the program. At first she thought it was a bad idea, but after hearing all of her friends’ great stories, she decided she wanted to have the experience herself. So, after convincing her reluctant parents to let her go, she ended up here in Leland.
If she could take two things back with her to Germany Julia would take our school system, and the lake. She would take back the school system because here in Leland the teachers are so nice, and she loves that there is a strong teacher-student relationship. And the lake? She says that she would take the lake back because in Germany she lives in the city, and all day she sees only buildings. She loves being able to wake up and see a vast lake sprawling outside her window.
There are a lot of things Julia has learned from being an exchange student, but there is one thing that really stands out. She says she learned that it isn’t very easy being yourself around all new people. “You have to play around with different versions of yourself to get to know the people you are going to be around for the next year before actually opening yourself up,” she says. Another thing Julia learned was having to deal with the ups and downs of being in a new place with all new friends. However, she realized that when you look at all the people in the world they are not much different from each other. They just have different ways of doing things.
We are thrilled to have Julia with us for the year. When you see her in the hall, say hello and get ready for a big smile. And did I mention that her favorite movie is Juno?