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Saying Auf Wiedersehen to the German Girls

Until we meet again.

From+left%3A+Emma+Denninghoff%2C+Lara+Fittinghoff%2C+Teresa+Schmitz%2C+Sophie+Schurmann%2C+and+Malena+Weber+class+of+%2718+on+the+Oishei+house+couch
From left: Emma Denninghoff, Lara Fittinghoff, Teresa Schmitz, Sophie Schurmann, and Malena Weber class of '18 on the Oishei house couch

From left: Emma Denninghoff, Lara Fittinghoff, Teresa Schmitz, Sophie Schurmann, and Malena Weber class of '18 on the Oishei house couch

From left: Emma Denninghoff, Lara Fittinghoff, Teresa Schmitz, Sophie Schurmann, and Malena Weber class of '18 on the Oishei house couch

Emma Brentjens, Contributor

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The morning of Friday, December 9, the five German exchange students returned home in tears.  Several students also experienced an array of emotions as they watched the five girls that had become their good friends haul their over-sized bags on the red SEM bus. Before leaving, Emma, Lara, Teresa, Sophie, and Malena reflected on their experience as 10th graders in America.

We gathered around the kitchen table at Oishei house after dinner on Wednesday night to talk.  “This is so sad,” Teresa said as the group sat down and prepared for a lengthy session of reminiscing.

The students arrived before school began in the summer and stayed in Buffalo for four months.  These students come from Dortmund, Buffalo’s sister city in Germany except Teresa who lives in Düsseldorf.

First Impressions

The girls all had similar expectations of their first time in America.  “Lots of things we don’t have in Germany,” immediately came to mind for Emma.  This group nodded their heads in unanimous agreement.  “I thought everyone is friendlier,” Lara added.

“It’s big and friendly.  Huge,” Malena stated of her first impression of America.  Teresa noticed that “here it is more relaxed.  Like, if you’re not on time, it’s okay.”

SEM and Community

When it came to their favorite part about SEM, everyone agreed.  “The community,” Malena said without hesitation.  Lara said “at SEM, you’re never alone.  There’s always someone.”  Emma particularly enjoyed meeting many new people.

Differences

“In Germany, you have a few close friends.  Here, everyone is your friend,” said Teresa.  The others agreed.  The system of schooling at SEM also came as a shock.  The girls explained that in Germany, there are only two or three long tests per term.  Using laptops at school was also a new concept.  “In class, you can do much more [with a computer],” Malena said.

Trying Something New

Many aspects of their lives in Buffalo were new to the girls.  Emma, Lara, Teresa, and Sophie played field hockey for the first time.  Additionally, they had never before lived with roommates, one of their favorite aspects of the exchange.  “Sometimes it is annoying, but mostly fun.  There is always something to laugh about,” said Malena.  Lara responded “you could ask your roommate something about their culture or home country.  That is nice.”  “It is never boring,” Sophie concluded.

A Good Experience

“I want to say to my younger friends ‘you should do this’.  We are sad that we are leaving here, but so happy to see our family and friends.”  Malena said.

Lara happily said “if I could go back in time, I would do it again.”

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SEM news written by students for students, faculty, parents & alumnae
Saying Auf Wiedersehen to the German Girls