For German exchange student Maxi Petzold, high school in the states is a bit of a breeze. While the studies at Milford High School are lax compared to her education in Germany, Petzold said she has had the opportunity to try extracurricular activities, like cheerleading and the swim team, that she would not have had time for at home. Petzold has also had the chance to share traditions, like “Kaffeetrinken,” a Sunday-afternoon get together with cake and coffee, and hopes to bring Thanksgiving back to her family.
Q: What’s been the most exciting part about your stay in the U.S. so far?
A: I think the best part was the very beginning, when the school had a pep rally. It was my second day here and it wasn’t a normal day. Everyone was so excited about football and it was really neat.
Q: What’s been the hardest part about being in the U.S.?
A: Finding a community. It’s hard to find real friends. As an exchange student you’re really interesting, but after three or four months, you’re a normal student. My government class is also really hard. Miss Evans gives me a lot of help, but it’s hard for me to understand what they say and then understand what they mean.
Q: What’s the biggest difference in education between Milford High School and school in Germany?
A: What you learn here in 12th grade, we learned in seventh grade. We learn everything, but here in America, you have more practice. School in Germany is really hard. Coming here was a break for me before finishing secondary school. It’s a good break for my personality. We’re really adults when we turn 18 … this way I can say I lived one year by myself.
Q: With the holidays coming, what are the biggest differences?
A: It’s crazy here that a lot of American people have really big lights, big snowmen out in the garden. It’s very different. What I miss at home is the Christmas mart, with little houses and a big tree in the middle, hot wine and hot knots with sugar and other really good food. It’s like the Oktoberfest for Christmas time. Our Christmas in Germany is more important for family.