Holst is enjoying her time at VVHS saying, “It’s a much easier course of study and the days are much shorter than my school days in Germany.” Holst explained that there are many differences in U.S. and German schools. One of the major differences is, of course, the school day which is half the length of time as German schools. Other differences include their history studies which cover world history from the time they begin; they do not focus on German history the way the U.S. focuses on American history. Holst said, “We have a much broader range of history studies and always learn world history, not just German history. Here we study American history only and it is challenging.”
Holst also explained that the students remain static in the same classroom all day and the teachers rotate in her country. In American schools the students rotate and the teachers remain in their own classes. The only class the students change classrooms for in Germany is their science lab.
The schedules are much more complex in Germany. Also they do not maintain the same schedule every day the way American schools do. Holst has some of the less academic classes such as music and art only two hours a week and their class schedule is different every day of the week.
In Germany they are required to learn English from a very young age as most of the jobs in Germany require their employees to speak English. They are also required to learn a third language of their choice; Holst has elected to take both Spanish and French. French was chosen by Holst because she often visits family members who live in France.
Holst is not new to exchange programs and has participated in several short programs that have taken her to countries such as England, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Turkey and Italy, her favorite being France because as she said, “It’s beautiful and I have my family to visit.”
Sports are not on the agenda in German schools but Holst does enjoy playing badminton and horseback riding in Germany. Here at VVHS she has had the opportunity to participate on the girls basketball team and is looking forward to trying out for the swim team when the time comes. She also plays the clarinet both here and in Germany.
Holst looks forward to spending the rest of the school year at VVHS where she is enjoying the new culture, new friends and new experiences.