Senior exchange student experiences American school, culture


Brenna Anderson

Moving from Germany, senior Marie Sow holds up a “Veil Glück” card, which translates to “Good Luck,” that she received before she left Thursday, March 27. Sow first arrived in Florida in August where she met her first of two total host families.

Ava Nelson, Staff Writer

Strolling through congested hallways whilst crowd-maneuvering to reach classes such as Algebra 2 and AP Lang, senior Marie Sow blends into the America school scene smoothly – even though her real home lies over 4,800 miles away in Hamburg, Germany. 

“I think in Germany many people do it,” Sow said. “We do it in our school years or afterwards — we go and explore the world.” 

Sow first arrived in America in June to visit her aunt in New York, and from there she traveled to Florida (a highly coveted state for exchange programs, as said by Sow) in August where she met her first of two total host families. 

“The first time I was at Freedom for one month, but I changed because it didn’t fit well,” Sow said. “I was a little bit scared, I was like oh if I didn’t fit with them I’d be like bye, and have to go back. 

Due to a felt misconnection with her first foster family, Sow only had one more chance to find the right fit before going back to Germany. Much to her relief, her second and current exchange family was a good match. With her exchange home predicament sorted out, Sow still had to face the adjustment between American and German society.  

“Food is different here, there’s a lot of fast food,” Sow said. “In Germany fast food is sausage and potatoes while here it’s like pizza and Chick-fil-A.” 

While stark differences between America and Germany are prevalent to Sow, such as the political climate and maturity of high school boys, she said her ability to make new friends with her lively personality made the transition much easier. 

“It was hard at first because I was the only person here who was an exchange student,” Sow said. “I think I just go up to people and talk to them. I’m a pretty loud person, so I just talk.” 

Apart from school, Marie can be found hanging out with her new-found friends, going to the beach or Busch Gardens and has even attended a concert since coming to America. A favorite pastime that stands out to Marie though is dance. 

“I like that in America you have sports like football and cheerleading, in Germany you don’t have thatit’s all afterschool stuff,” Sow said. “I’m even on the step team.” 

Along with school-centered sports, Sow has said she enjoys most aspects of her stay in America, such as the people she’s met, the pace of school and the plentiful fast-food restaurants. Sow has even made note of the flexible dress code.  

“I love that I can wear whatever I want here, like crocs,” Sow said. “You can’t do that in Germany.” 

As Sow’s stay in America comes to a close, she will wrap up her exchange experience by returning to New York June 5 for two weeks and then flying back to Germany June 18.   

“I’m going to miss my host family, my friends,” Sow said. “And I think the weather.” 

After being immersed in American culture for over nine months, Sow is looking forward to returning to her home life in Germany. 

“I think I’m looking forward to seeing my family and my friends,” Sow said. “And a little bit partying.”