Features

From East Lyme to Germany

GEORGIA THOMS

A different high school experience

Full of rolling green hills and bountiful rivers, Germany is a perfect place to vacation. But for sophomore John Vorih, Germany became more than just a vacation spot; it became a temporary home.
After his father told him of living in Italy, Vorih decided to replicate that “amazing high school” experience and visit a friend in Germany who wanted to learn English. Later on, he decided to study German and experience a different culture while attending the Albertus Magnus Gymnasium of Bensburg from August 2018 until January of 2019. While in Germany, he is staying with a family in a town outside of Cologne, Germany, and speaks the language everyday, even during club soccer.
“Germany is great. I have met many wonderful people and have been staying in such a nice area. The Donner Kebabs are amazing!” said Vorih over an email  conversation.
The German foreign language teacher, Laura Hanley, is very proud that a student of hers is on such an excursion. As traveling goes, Ms. Hanley is a passionate proponent; she herself lived in Germany for some time.
“I think one of the most valuable things you can do whether you are a student of a language or not is to travel because you get the opportunity to see what the rest of the world is actually like. From your classes or from your house you only see certain pieces of the rest of the world from the internet or TV, so to go there and take the knowledge you learned, and expand upon it is so incredibly valuable,” said Ms. Hanley.
The students in his class even got to say “guten Morgen” when they Skyped Vorih a few weeks ago. His peers got to question him on his school, life, and the family that he is staying with while abroad. When Vorih gets back to East Lyme, he will rejoin his German II class and reminisce with them about the wondrous tales of his expedition in a foreign  country.
“I think he is going to have a very unique perspective on how teenage life works in Germany, which is very difficult for us to get because it changes so often just like life here does. Things are changing everyday: the language is changing, the culture is changing, and he’ll be able to bring that life [to us ] from what his experience has been,” said Ms. Hanley.
Ms. Hanley also describes Vorih as an attentive, conscientious, and outgoing student who is very interested in the subject matter. With his experience and travel as a whole, it develops a vital cultural context that exposes global significance and brings more awareness to other equally important cultures.
“Germany is very unique. The people are not as open and easy going as some in America but I have already gotten used to it,” said Vorih.

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