German exchange student packs a lot into short stay at SFHS

by Verla Peichl Falls News Corresponden

“I have to learn fast!” exclaimed Caroline Timm, AFS student from Germany. “The other students will get a full year, but I only have six months.

“I have to learn everything I can in a half a year,” Timm said.

This 16-year-old exchange student is currently a senior at Sheboygan Falls High School and wants to learn as much as she can and still return to her classmates in Germany and continue on as a part of that group, and she’s energetic and enthusiastic enough to do it.

“When I go back to Germany, in January, I have to go to school for two and a half more years,” Timm said. “It would be complicated to stay the entire year because I want good grades when I go back and not have to repeat a year and be away from my classmates.

“I wanted to do both,” Timm continued. “I want the experience to be here, and I would love to be here for a year, but I need to look at my education and that’s the more important thing.”

Timm is here through the AFS program and is staying with Glenn and Lynn Kohlhagen. She says things are “really good and she likes it. They are a sweet family, and it’s a good blend.

“My village in Germany is Wandlitz,” Timm said. “The population is about 21,000 and it’s close to Berlin in the Province of Brandenburg.

“My homeland is in the flat part with lots of lakes, forests and some farming,” Timm explained. “Not too much but it’s close to the city, but we’re still in the country.

“My mom, Cornelia, is an event manager,” Timm said. “She works for the company called Public and plans concerts, festivals and has the ideas for commercials for other businesses and others do the computer designs. She has the ideas and someone else gets them in the computer.

“My dad, Wolfram, is an engineer,” Timm continued. “He has his own business and repairs huge machines. Often they fill the room.

“I also have an older brother, Justus, who is 19,” Timm said.

“It was my idea to come to America, but I didn’t plan to do it until February or March,” Timm recalled. “The applications were due last October, but then I decided. It was a fast decision.

“I made the decision because it was important for me to have the experience of seeing another country and learn English better. I wanted to really get into the language and have a good experience, and we can only do the exchange in our junior year.

“I thought about coming in the summer, but then I couldn’t get the high school experience,” Timm pointed out.

“The only ideas I had about America is what is in the movies,” Timm said. “That is, big houses, everything is huge.

“I do like the high school sports and the activities because everybody knows everybody,” Timm related. “In Germany you have to find your own sport club, and here you can get together after school for sports and other extracurricular activities.

“I’m doing swimming for the first time on a swim team,” Timm said. “I knew how to swim, but never was on a team.

“Now I’m on the dance team,” Timm continued, “and I never did that before.

“I have done dancing, but not on a dance team that competes,” Timm added. “I danced, but not serious.

This is very different from that.

“My mom and dad think this is good for me,” Timm said. “They think it’s a good experience and are glad that my English is better. My English is better and I have better grades and this will be a good experience for my entire life to see a different part of the world. Another culture.

“I think they will be glad when I come back. My brother said it’s good for me, and bad for him.

“America is pretty much what I thought it would be,” Timm commented, “but I can’t believe everybody over 16 has their own car.

“I knew some things because my mom has been to New York and Texas, on business, and my dad has been to Chicago,” Timm said. “I didn’t know about Wisconsin, but I knew where it was and there was a lot of farmland.

“I thought Americans only ate fast food, but that’s not true,” Timm related, “and I thought Americans were friendly and they are. They really like to help other people and they really care for other people.

“There isn’t anything special I would like to see or do,” Timm said. “I want to spend a lot of time with family and friends. I think I will miss them after I leave in January.

“I don’t think I have to see something to have a good experience. I have a sweet like right now the way it is.

“I know about the snow and cold,” Timm said, “and I think it will be colder here than in Germany.

“Christmas will be a little different because in Germany, after Christmas during the break, we go skiing and snow boating to Sweden or Austria or Switzerland every year,” Timm explained. “We do that over the Christmas break over New Year’s and after the Christmas festivities.

“Here, for the holidays, to celebrate Christmas will be different, but fun,” Timm said. “It will be a nice experience to have Christmas and New Year’s here.

“Thanksgiving will be sweet because I have only heard about it in Germany,” Timm added.

“Everybody in Germany knows about American football, but not the Green Bay Packers,” Timm stated. “I don’t know the rules and I’m not so into it, but it was sweet to go to school football games. I’m not really a person to watch sports on TV, but it’s still sweet.

“When I get back, I will tell people about Wisconsin,” Timm said. “I will tell them it’s very pretty in Door County, it’s cold in the winter; there are a lot of little cities, farmland and a lot of nice people.”

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