By: Michael Lee, Contributing Writer
Centralia High School has two foreign exchange students visiting and studying at the school this year. Sophia Tramnitz is a sophomore from Germany and is staying with Rick, Julie and Gabi Exendine for one semester. Yena Kang is a sophomore from South Korea and is staying with Nicole and Josh Harvey for the whole school year.
Tramnitz had her reasons for wanting to study in the United States. “English is a world language. German is only [spoken] in a few countries so it’s just logical to learn more about it. But besides this, of course, I want to learn more about [the] people, culture and country,” she said.
Schooling in Germany was different for Tramnitz. She said, “It is a lot more strict there so I was surprised how friendly and kind the teacher[s] are here. But one of the biggest changes is the amount of technology Germany uses in their schools versus what is used in US schools. “We have over 2,000 students and do a lot of our work electronically,” said Tramnitz. She mentioned that there is more paper/pencil work here in the United States. She also said that she is getting amazing support from the teachers in her classes. When asked about her favorite class or subject so far here in Centralia, Tramnitz said, “We don’t have Art in school, but I love to be creative so [I] would choose Art or Psychology. It is really interesting.”
Time outside of school has been very enjoyable for Tramnitz. When asked what she likes about Centralia so far, she said, “It’s pretty small here, but I love the shops like Moser’s or Casey’s.” She enjoys her time with her host family. She said, “They show me the American way of life, and they really help [me] to have a[n] amazing time here, so I just love them!” She also has fun traveling and shopping with her host family.
Many exchange students have their own expectations of what America will be like when they arrive here. Tramnitz is no different. “I think I didn’t expect this town [to be] so small. I live in a big city in Germany without all of these fields of corn, so I was a little bit shocked,” she said.She also has noticed cultural differences. “First, the food and the portion sizes are so big. In Walmart, I couldn’t believe how huge everything was! But there’s more little things like everyone is so kind [here] and the air conditioning is different. And I really like the soda refill option in restaurants,” Tramnitz said.
Kang also has her specific reasons for wanting to study here in the United States. She said, “I don’t like Korea[’s] education [system]. But [in the] USA, [you] can choose the subject and have a lot of [activities], so I decided to study in [the] USA.” School in Korea is very different from schooling here is the US. She said, “We only study with the same age and always at the same time (like lunch). We don’t have A/B days and we don’t get to choose our subjects.
So far her favorite classes at CHS are PE and Chemistry. Kang said her favorite teacher is Mr. Aaron Williams, her history instructor. She said Williams is “very nice and kind.”