Exchange student notes differences


Grace Nelson

Foreign exchange student Robin Samtlebe works on an assignment using his Chromebook. He is from Germany.

Sara Kyle, Features Spread Editor

Culture changes, new memories and a second family are a few of the things that come along with foreign exchange.

In the middle of July, a new addition joined the district and the community.  Sixteen-year-old Robin Samtlebe is a foreign exchange student from Germany.

“Foreign exchange was just something I was interested in,” Samtlebe said. “I wanted to study different cultures and at my school in Germany there is a study abroad credit.”

According to Samtlebe, studying abroad can have its struggle, but overall it is a good experience.

“Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the ‘Texas accents’ and had money problems at first, but I’m really happy I came,” Samtlebe said.

Samtlebe said German schools and American schools are different in almost every way.

“The school I was at finished at 1:00 instead of 3:30,” Samtlebe said. “We had different clubs. We had 11 different subjects each week due to more teachers switching in and out.”

He said studying abroad can come with disadvantages: missing family, expenses and possibly falling behind on his studies.

I miss my friends and family at times, but I’m happy to have a second family and new friends. ”

— Junior Robin Samtlebe

“I miss my friends and family at times, but I’m happy to have a second family and new friends,” Samtlebe said.

Usually foreign exchange students come for  a year or so and leave, going back to their home country. However, some continue to want to seek new cultures.

“I went to Spain for one month last December,” He said. “It was extremely fun but since my high school only needs a one-year credit, I don’t plan on doing it again.”

Learning to speak a foreign language can have its pros and cons. Samtlebe said two languages are better than one since it increased employment options and social circle expansion come with learning; however, so does weaker verbal skills, spelling mistakes and finding someone to help can be expensive.

“I know German, Spanish and English,” Samtlebe said. ”The good thing about learning a language like English is that I could go to Australia, England or Canada and know what they are possibly saying. It was a difficult language to learn, but I think it was worth it.”

Overall, he said foreign exchange is a great way to learn a new culture, make new friends and create new memories in another country.

“I’m definitely going to tell my friends in Germany all the crazy stories and I’m going to come back to America again,” Samtlebe said. ”You can count on that.”