Exchanging perspectives: German student gains new experiences far from home

The first day at high school can be nerve-wracking, even if your home is just down the street. But what if your home and everyone you knew were over five thousand miles away? For foreign exchange students like Jonathan Kedaj, this is reality.

Jonathan arrived in Bryan to spend the first semester of his junior year of high school in Texas.

“I’ve been here since August 20th and I will leave December 29th,” Jonathan said.

He chose to spend his time here instead of a different city in the United States because of his past history with First Baptist Church, in Bryan.

“My church in Germany has a partnership with a church in America called the FBC Bryan so they came for mission trips for the last five years to Germany, so I knew a lot of people and a lot of students, so I decided to come to Bryan.”

When asked about the main differences between the United States and Germany, he says it’s the approach to education.

“A teacher offered to text us on Sunday to remind us of a test on Monday, so we can practice for that,” Jonathan said. “We would never do that in Germany.”
Jonathan has been taking advantage of the differences between the American and German sports programs.

“I like the sport system and how it works in school because in Germany we don’t have sports in school and we have to go to clubs maybe two times a week.” Jonathan said. “I’m in AV productions, and wrestling.”

This isn’t Jonathan’s first exchange program, though.

“I went to France for one week and in two weeks in Guadeloupe which is an island in the Caribbean, but they also speak French.”

Despite what he loves about the US, he says he stills misses a lot of German things.

“I really miss the German food especially German bread and ice cream. I miss how everything looks in Germany; so pretty and I love the German transportation system. In Germany i could just take the bus and go to wherever I want. I would be able to go everywhere in a couple of hours.”

But one of the things he enjoys most about Texas may surprise some Texas.

“I really like how hot it is here because the German summer is like the Texan winter.”