Visiting from Germany: Leonie Graus
Q. Where are you from?
A. “Germany, in Merzig, Saarland. It’s southwest, near Luxembourg and France.”
Q. Why did you decide to become an exchange student?
A. “I love to travel. I love to travel to the West Coast and stuff, so I thought high school could be nice, and I could improve my English better.”
Q. What do you miss most about Germany?
A. “I am missing my family and my friends a lot and some of the stuff, kind of like sports, they do in Germany compared to here.”
Q. What’s been the biggest challenge coming here?
A. “The language. In the beginning I had so much problems, like speaking to people and conversations. I was not that good.”
Q. What’s been the easiest thing to adapt to here?
A. “Doing what I already did in Germany, like running. I did that here so that was probably one of the easier things.”
Q. What is the weirdest thing you’ve found here that Americans do?
A. “How they eat sometimes.”
Q. What do you love or hate most about Virginia?
A. “What I hate is that it’s a small country. You have to travel a long way to a different city. We don’t have that were I’m from. What I love is the people because they are nicer than Germany.”
Q. If you could choose to stay here or go back to Germany, which would you choose?
A. “I would choose to go back to Germany. I have been living there since I was little, so I have my life there, so I couldn’t stay here.”
Q. What’s one thing you expected to see/learn when you came here? Did you see it?
A. “I wanted a high school life, like as a typical high school girl. And I didn’t get it all because of COVID, but the last few months I’ve had a good experience.”
Q. Has it been difficult doing exchange during COVID?
A. “Kind of. It was hard doing online because it was hard to meet friends, but since everything has opened it’s been easier.”
Q. Would you ever be an exchange student again?
A. “Yeah, but maybe for another language. But still you make so much experience for your life later, so I would do it again.”
Q. What has been your favorite part about this whole experience?
A. “Being in a high school. It’s been really fun and also trying new sports. Like I did track and field and I did field hockey. I’d never played field hockey before. Tennis, now I’m doing tennis.”
Q. What’s been your least favorite part?
A. “The online was pretty hard.”
Q. What is the biggest cultural difference between here and Germany?
A. “Everything is bigger here. When you go to the store and want to buy cookies or something, everything, like the packages, are bigger.”