Ladenburger exchanges memories, experiences while in Minnesota

Ladenburger+and+ninth+grader+Julia+Scott+buckle+up+before+they+head+out+to+an+Alpine+race.+%E2%80%9CI+like+painting+class%2C+which+isn%E2%80%99t+really+an+academic+class+but+I+think+it%E2%80%99s+fun.+I+also+do+skiing%2C+and+I+like+doing+that+through+the+school+here%2C%E2%80%9D+Ladenburger+said.

Jenny Sogin

Ladenburger and ninth grader Julia Scott buckle up before they head out to an Alpine race. “I like painting class, which isn’t really an academic class but I think it’s fun. I also do skiing, and I like doing that through the school here,” Ladenburger said.

International high school student exchanges offer an opportunity for students from all over the world to experience life in a different culture. St. Paul Academy and Summit School has a history of hosting exchange students. Sophomore Vera Ladenburger is this year’s exchange student, but she is no stranger to student exchange trips to America.

“My father did an exchange when he was a student, and he made friends here. Then my brother did an exchange to this school last year,” Ladenburger said.

Ladenburger is from Birkenfeld, a small town in the South of Germany near the French border.

Unlike the American high school system, which has a standard four year curriculum, the German high school system has three different levels of school that begin in grade 5. Each style of school prepares students for different lives, focusing on trades, jobs, or college.

“I’m in grade ten in Germany, and I go to Gymnasium, which is the highest level of schooling in Germany,” Ladenburger said.

I started learning English in third grade, so communicating is easy, but some classes are difficult”

— Vera Ladenburger

This is Ladenburger’s first time living in America and attending an American high school. While she had visited America with her family before, there were still some things that surprised her.

“There are a lot of movies describing high school in America, and I knew it wouldn’t be exactly like that, but we don’t have lockers in Germany, and we do here,” Ladenburger said. “We [also] don’t have sports through school, so after school [in Germany] I usually just do homework and study, because we don’t have any free periods,” Ladenburger said.

But now, Ladenburger has been able to experience a few different aspects unique to American students.

“I like painting class, which isn’t really an academic class but I think it’s fun. I also do skiing, and I like doing that through the school here,” Ladenburger said.

Ladenburger has found her transition to American life fairly easy.

“It hasn’t been as difficult as I expected it to be,” Ladenburger said. “I started learning English in third grade, so communicating is easy, but some classes are difficult. History is difficult because we talk a lot and read a lot, as well as biology and pre-Calculus because we are doing complicated things in those classes,” Ladenburger said.

At the end of her exchange, Ladenburger hopes to “improve my language, and also [gain] an openness to experiencing new things,” Ladenburger said.

This story is reprinted from The Rubicon Print edition: Feb. 6, 2018