Maya Hack, from the small-town city Erding, in the southern part of Germany near Munich, is the only exchange student at Woodmore High School this year.
Hack became an exchange student through a long process, by submitting an application and then being accepted into the program, Youth For Understanding.
She chose the country she wanted to live in for ten months, and then the organization sent the application to families in America. Her host family got to pick which exchange student they wanted. She was chosen by one of Woodmore’s English teachers, Whitney Flick’s family.
The Flicks were in Europe this summer, and they met Hack and her family in her garden, which typically doesn’t happen before an exchange. Hack chose America for many reasons.
“I was interested in America,” she said. “I felt like my life had been almost the same for years, and my family and friends were always somehow taking care of me, so I never had to stand on my own. America seemed like a good opportunity to change that. It’s also just an awesome adventure in a fascinating country.”
In America, things are different, like the food. American popcorn is more salty and comes with cheese, where as in Germany the popcorn is sugary. Another thing that is different is the television shows. How I Met Your Mother and New Girl are shown in German, but they are about a half year behind our seasons. Germany doesn’t have reality television like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Sister Wives.
Additionally, we have Dora to teach children Spanish; Germany has Dora to teach children English.
Hack says the people in America are different. Americans are much more open and friendly. People give each other compliments so much more, which according to Hack, is amazing.
“The hardest thing to adjust to is air conditioning everywhere, it’s freezing here,” Hack said.
School is also different. In Germany students have breaks every two hours and students stay in the same room all day while the teachers travel to classes. Hack said American teachers are more like students’ friends. One similarity, though, is both have statewide tests.
Not only is Hack in love with America and the people, but those who meet her love Hack.
“I love having Maya live with me. We love having kids in the house,” said Mrs. Flick. “Maya is always smiling, and my daughter Kiersten has a new sister.”
“Maya is so cool. I can tell her anything, and she gives great advice,” said junior Kanna Sasscer. “She just loves people, and she knows a ton of cool German songs.”
(Woodmore High School studens Hannah Gardner wrote this story for Window To Woodmore, a student publication, and it is reprinted here with permission.)