Sunday, June 24, 2018
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A heckuva summer for Rotary exhange student

Bavarian teen puts on traveling shoes

Taking in a Rick Springfield concert in Denver, CO. Touring Austin and experiencing the Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. Visiting Mt. Rushmore, SD, and seeing the faces of presidents etched in stone.

Flying to New Orleans for a Lutheran youth gathering and traveling to various tourist spots in Nebraska.

Eight weeks with Carlin Daharsh and her family of Gothenburg meant little time at their home but that was okay for German exchange student Sarah Weichlein of Thümgfeld, Bavaria.

“It was a great summer, the best so far,” said Weichlein last week after experiencing five days of classes at Gothenburg High School. “I really enjoyed traveling.”

On Friday, the Rotary exchange student boarded a Germany-bound plane in Denver after visiting the States July 2-Aug. 24.

“I’m now ready to see my family and friends but I’m struggling a little because I’d like to stay longer,” she said.

The 15-year-old arrived in Gothenburg with Daharsh, who had spent eight weeks in Germany and other countries as a short-term Rotary exchange student in May and June.

Although there were many highlights during Weichlein’s time in the States, she said standing and singing with 35,000 other young people in the Superdome in New Orleans was amazing.

Weichlein and other teens from the local American Lutheran Church joined an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gathering in July.

“It was a feeling like we’re more like a big community with everyone together,” she said. “I want to take that back to my church community.”

Staying with the Daharsh family also rated high on Weichlein’s list as was experiencing s’mores for the first time at the Jim and Connie Dalrymple farm. The Dalrymple’s are Carlin’s grandparents.

“I also really got into Mexican food and now I love it,” Weichlein said, bemoaning the fact that Germany doesn’t have many restaurants of that kind.

In retrospect, she said she thinks people in the States are more spontaneous.

“Here is more relaxed than in Germany,” Weichlein said. “And the students here do so many activities. I’m impressed with how they all go home and then do homework.”

Family life, school and work are the same, she said when comparing Germany and the United States, but how people get to school and work is much different.

“I’m so used to the environment here, it will be hard to drop back into my daily life in Germany,” Weichlein said.

Interestingly, she said she signed up for the exchange to improve her English language skills but came away with much more.

“It’s about meeting different kinds of people and arranging myself in different situations,” Weichlein said. “It’s learning how people here deal with each other and to see different lifestyles.”

Weichlein wants to revisit the Daharshes in Gothenburg and other friends she met next year as well as more of the States.

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