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Exchange Students, Visiting International Students and
New Students from across the Globe
No matter where you are in the High School these days, chances are you will meet one of our international students. Some are here for just a few months, and others have embarked on their high school careers with us. Either way they bring us diversity of language and culture, and we are fortunate to have them.
At KWS we have always had a strong exchange program. Many of our students study abroad in 10th or the beginning of 11th grade. We have sent students to Germany, Switzerland, France, Peru, Ecuador and even as far away as New Zealand over many years. In most cases our students go on an even exchange, which means that they host someone from their chosen country. However, because we receive so many requests for exchange, we have an increasing number of Visiting International Students. These students stay with host families and pay both tuition and room/board. In the past year, in addition to the countries already mentioned, we have received requests from Italy, Israel, Austria and Brazil.
When you add to that the new international families that have come to us over the past several years, and the three young Chinese students who have joined us this year, it is no wonder that our hallways feel more global than ever before.
Joining our KWS family this fall were: 12th grade: Simon Bucher (France); 11th grade: Jamie Schmitt, Maximilian Bill, Gesina Dose (all from Germany); 10th grade: Robert Schuppe, Maximilian Schütte, Johannes Binder, Korbinian Kosmalla, Nico Schlag, Gregor Kress (all from Germany) and Zhiheng Du (China); 9th grade: Kuan Xue and Xing Yu Zhao (both from China).
Here with us this spring are: 11th grade: Luisa Halusa (Germany); 10th grade: Marei Beukman, Hannah Hillermann, Marlene Marissen, Lisa Spangenberg, Pia Vieweg (all from Germany); 9th grade: Marlene Lebermann (Germany)
The KWS students away are: Benedict Roemer (Switzerland), Kyle Kuzman, Benjamin Otto-Horan, Pio Mistretta and Benjamin Janisch (all to Germany).
Studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity for both our students and our visiting students. To experience a different country with everything that entails, not the least of which is a new family and a new school, will give these young people the opportunity to learn so much about the world and themselves. When they return home, be it to their countries or back to us, their experiences will continue to enrich their lives. And we, who remain here, get to enjoy the visitors and look forward to our friends coming back to us.
None of this would be possible without the generosity of our host families who have opened their homes and their hearts to these young adults. Thank you for caring for them, showing them around, treating them as your own.
If you are interested in learning more about the possibility of going on exchange or hosting one of our international students, please contact Elisabeth Burgess (email@example.com).
My name is Pia-Cathleen Vieweg and I'm 16 years old. I am a student from Germany. I’m from Moorrege, that is near Hamburg. In Germany I also went to a Waldorf school. I decided to participate in the Visiting International Student Program last year in September. Many students in my class did that. So my parents asked me if i want to do that too. First I was a little bit scared but then my father and I started to search for schools in England. I knew that I wanted to go to a Waldorf school but in England they do not really have many Waldorf high schools. So my father asked me if it is ok if he looks for schools in the USA. I don't know why but the first time I went on exchange America was too far away for me. But my Dad was still searching. Then he found the Kimberton Waldorf High School and he read to me the essays from the other german girls from last year. It was so exciting so my dad said that I can apply myself there. I did that and we sent the documents to the school. Then we waited. And one day my dad and I were in a bike shop. He said, "Oh I have an email from Mrs. Burgess and you have a place." In this moment i couldn't believe that but I was really happy. So I called my mum and she was so happy too. And now I'm here. I think it is the best time in my life and I’m glad that Idid that. I arrived on February 15th, 2013 and stay until June 17th. I live with the Davis family. That is the best host family you can ever have. Juliana, the daughter, is my age and now after three months she is my sister, I love her and she is really nice, and so is her mother. She does, and has done, a lot for me.
In school my first main lesson block was Human Physiology with Mr Dill. That was really nice. That block ended in March and then we had two weeks spring break. The first week Juliana, Tammy and I visited Juliana’s aunt in Massachusetts. It was still wintery there, so we had snow. The next week we traveled to Virginia with Juliana's grandmother. It was nice and warm the whole vacation. The next block was History with Mrs. Zay. All the blocks are really nice. The last one was Kinematics with Mr. Haut.
I also went on a couple of trips. I was in Baltimore with Lisa. We slept there one night, and the next day we went to Washington which was awesome. We did a bus tour where you can see all important things. Washington is really nice and we were lucky because the sun was shining the whole day and it was pretty warm. Also I was in New York one day with Hannah, Marlene, Lisa and Mrs. Burgess. We saw a lot of things and it was so nice. I like New York a lot! Now my time is nearly over but I can say my time was amazing! I think I will come back next year to visit my family.
Marlene Marissen, Hannah Hillermann, Lisa Spangenberg, Pia Vieweg
NYC at the 9/11 memorial
My name is Lisa Spangenberg, I am a German student from the Waldorf School in Lüneburg. I came on March 16th and will stay until June 29th. The Kimberton Waldorf School is very different to my German Waldorf School. To do so many creative projects is a new experience for me! Also the work in the Main Lesson Book, which seems to be the most important thing in the block is very different, but all the nice and open teachers make it very easy to get used to all these new things. As soon as you enter the school everyone gives you the feeling that you are a member of the big Waldorf family. I think this dominating open friendliness in this school and the whole country was what made me fall in love so fast with the school and with the American people. The relationship between the American teachers and students is based on respect and friendship. That makes it so much more fun to study. The teacher isn’t just a teacher anymore like I know it from many teachers in Germany. I know that all this is something I will really miss when I am back in Germany! I hope I can take some of this American friendliness with me!
When I came, the Lacrosse season had just started so I decided to join the team. I don’t play any team sports in Germany so it was a totally new experience for me. We had practice 4 times a week and I think we had about 5 home and 5 away games. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the bus when we were driving to one of our games. I wasn’t able to play very often, but it doesn’t matter, I just enjoyed the time.
During my time in America I have been staying with Annie Jones’ family. I can say that I have the perfect family. I am very thankful for everything they did for me. I really feel like I have two families now! My whole time in America is just amazing and the fact that I have only 6 more weeks makes me really sad!
Hi, my name is Hannah Hillermann and I'm from Tübingen, Southern Germany. I want to tell you about our great time at Kimberton Waldorf School. My dream was to go to the USA and have a great time and a lot of experiences.
My adventure began on February 17th, 2013 at 08:15 am at the London Airport, where I met the other German girl, Marlene, who would live in the same host family as me. In the beginning it was strange to speak English to each other, because I knew that she also speaks German. But after an 8-hour flight we understood each other very well and had a lot of fun. One hour before we landed, I started to get really excited.
When we landed our host mom was already waiting for us. During the 45-minute car drive I could see the beautiful landscape and I realized that everything is bigger in America. At the house our host sister welcomed us. After I got my own room I settled in. The first few days were so exciting, because everything was new and different.
On my first school day I was little bit nervous. When I came to school all our classmates were friendly and helpful. I noticed that I don't have to be afraid that I'm not accepted by my classmates. The next school weeks were a lot of fun and exciting. Also I began to play on the Lacrosse team from the school.It was a lot of fun.
After a few weeks I became better in school and I understood more and more.
One of my great experiences was to be a part of the stage crew at the Musical Brigadoon.I had a great time. In my Spring break I went to Boston with the family to Boston to visit the uncle and his family. I saw a lot of Boston and liked it very much. We also had a fun time going to Philadelphia.The week after Spring break I had an internship. It was a great experience and we worked with a married couple, who have a Soap workshop.
On the weekend after the break it was my birthday. We had a birthday brunch and later a few girls of my class came by and we ate cake and played games.
A few weeks later Marlene end I went alone to Washington D.C. We drove with the Megabus to D.C. and from Union Station we went to the US Capitol and down to the Lincoln Memorial. We saw all the different memorials. From the Lincoln Memorial we went back a different way and saw different parts of the city. Later we also saw the Supreme Court. In the evening we drove back with the Megabus. When we got back we were tired, but we were so glad to do this day trip.
I can only say to everyone: Go on exchange. That is such a great experience and you learn alot about yourself and other people. In addition you get better in the language every day. I'm looking forward to more highlights before I go. But I'm a little bit sad that I have to go in a few weeks. I had a great time.
On my first weekend in America, my school had a high school musical named Brigadoon. They had a lot of rehearsals and I helped with costumes. I played in the orchestra, which was a little bit difficult because I only had three rehearsals before the first performance.
Two weeks after the musical, the spring sport season began, and I decided to play lacrosse. It was really difficult for me, because we don’t have a similar sport in Germany. On our team were a lot of German students so that we all learned lacrosse from the beginning. We were all able to play in some real games. Our team got into the semi-finals.
During Spring Break my host family and I went to North Carolina to visit “my sister’s” brother. After we spent two days with him we went to Virginia to go into a cavern. The next day we went to Washington D.C. and went to an Art Museum and the White House. During the second week we went to New York City for a day. We went with a friend and another exchange student. We went to the Rockefeller Center and Times Square.
After Spring Break my class went on a camping trip to the Grand Canyon of PA. It was a lot of fun, although we had a lot of rain.
The day before Mother’s Day we went to Ocean City, NJ. We ate really good pizza and stuck our feet into the ocean. I really liked it. We came home very late and went straight to bed, because the next day we went to Philadelphia with three other international students from China and Italy. We took the train to Philly and saw the house of Betsy Ross, who sewed the first American Flag. Then we went to the Eastern State Penitentiary, which is an old prison.
We only have three weeks of school left and then I stay for five weeks of summer vacation. I am very excited to visit the country a little bit more.
I like my class very much and hope I can come back at some point. And I am kind of sad that I have to leave my “new class” and “new family”. But, on the other hand, I am really excited to see all my friends and family again after five incredible months.
This was the best experience of my life until now. I went through a lot. It made me much stronger than I was when I first came here.
After one year of applying, planning and organization I was ready to leave Germany. On February 17th, I took the plane at 7:20 am from Hamburg airport. When I arrived in London Heathrow, I had a stay of four hours. At the gates I met Hannah. She's also a German girl. We are both living with the same host family. During the long flight of 8 hours we spent the time talking in English to each other, watching movies and having fun.
Then we arrived in Philadelphia. I was more and more excited. The security check went more or less well, but the main thing: I ENTERED AMERICA FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. My host mum Elisabeth picked us up at the airport. After a car ride we arrived in Kimberton, my home for the next 5 months. At home I got to know my host sister Robin and our dog Maddy. After I unpacked my suitcase and having a typical American dinner: burger, I went to bed tired and exhausted. The next day I got up at 5:30 am. I was out of rhythm because of the jetlag. It was a beautiful and sunny day. The afternoon I met the first American people and also some of the other German exchange students. Elisabeth took the German students to the Amish country close to the school.
In the next weeks I got to know my older host sister and my older host brother, but they both don't live at home anymore. On Wednesday, February 20th, I went to school for the first time. The students and teachers were all kind. I felt directly comfortable and welcomed by the whole school. Here the classes are much smaller than in Germany. And everyone is friendlier to each other. The connections between boys and girls, different grades and between students and teachers are much better. No teacher is yelling at a student and during the lessons everyone is quiet.
We didn't have a main lesson block so I had time to get to know the 10th grade. The next day we had a whole school day. Every morning we have 20 minutes high school singing, followed by main lesson. Until Easter break we had Human Physiology. I understood more than I expected and it wasn't difficult to follow the lessons. Of course there were words and other obstacles that I didn't understand but overall it was no problem. After main lesson we always have 15 minutes snack break before we have two other lessons until 12:20 pm. Then is lunch break. I mostly eat the food from school, the other days I bring my own lunch.
From 1 pm to 2:25pm we have two lessons and until 3:15 pm reading period, followed by dismissal. In reading we have time to do our homework in the library or with permission in the computer room.
Every Tuesday I take the typical yellow school bus to school. That is awesome if you first see them and then ride with them to school. After 2 weeks of school the sports season began. Most of the students who are doing sports are playing lacrosse. Boys and girls are separated. Lacrosse is a ball game. Everyone has his own stick with a net at the top. You have to wear goggles and a mouth guard for your own security. Every team has a goal and a goalie. With throwing, catching and running you score goals. I got the stick and mouth guard from school. Every school day, except Wednesdays we practice from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. The first weeks we only caught and threw the ball and did Indian runs in lacrosse.
On Wednesdays we have electives the two last periods from 1:45 pm to 3:15 pm. In electives you choose one of the offered subjects. Every trimester it changes. After 2 weeks I chose chamber music in electives. I play the violin and I borrowed a violin so I can practice here.
Also during this time the high school performed the musical "Brigadoon". Other German and American students and I were in the crew. We moved the set between the scenes on the stage. After four and a half weeks of school we had spring break.
Now a lot of the American boys left for their exchange in Germany. Only four boys and about 20 girls were left, including the five German girls. I also went to Robin's chorus concert and her high school musical "Legally Blonde". Both were pretty awesome.
Then I went with my host family for a few days to Boston. We had a 6-hour car ride to my host family's relatives' house, where we lived. Boston is a beautiful city. The days were awesome. The last 1.5 weeks of the spring break I went to the YMCA nearly every day. That is a really huge fitness center, with a pool and running path etc. I also met friends and went to the movies.
On the second break weekend I went with my host family to the musical " Jesus Christ Superstar" in Philly. The next day was Easter. We looked for Easter eggs outside and had a really big and particularly delicious brunch with the whole family. The other days I met friends, went shopping in the malls or outlet mall or went to the movies. On the last weekend of break we went for 2 days to Philadelphia. It was awesome weather and really warm.
The week after break the 10th grade had a one-week artisan internship. Hannah and I went to Stonefield's Soaps. I learned how to wrap the soaps in paper and tie a ribbon around it. The other days I mixed the oils for the soap and made soap. I also smoothed the soaps so that they can be wrapped in paper and I got a look into the business part of this job. I got so many soaps and they smell so good. The soaps are organic and for every skin type. The week passed by so fast. Now everything began to get green and colorful outside; and the first really warm days were coming.
In school we had a new main lesson block: ancient history. The first lacrosse games began. In the beginning I had no idea how a real game is played, but after a few games I understood the rules and strategies and began to play. After break I also started to go to gymnastics with one of my classmates every Wednesday. I didn't think that I would have the chance to do it here.
Now we really had warm or hot weather and my skin became tan.
In school there were quite a lot of events, where we had to come in festive dress. We had a school assembly, school meeting on the 1st of May and Open Mic hosted by the 9th grade. There, some students performed a song or played their instruments.
One week later was the prom. Everyone was dressed up and most of the girls in my class met at one girl's house to take the typical American prom pictures. The prom was awesome. The prom was in a barn but really romantic.
Two weeks later the school students performed the spring concert. Some grades played as an orchestra and there were several chorus songs.
The day after the concert I went with Hannah to Washington D.C. We took a bus from Philly to Washington at 7:15 am. It was a 3 hour and 20 minute bus ride. The day was pretty fabulous. It was really warm, but the weather changed between sunny, cloudy and pouring rain. We saw all the important buildings. The US Capitol, the White House and the famous monuments and memorials, like the Lincoln memorial or the Washington monument. I loved this day. At 7:20 pm we had to leave the city and arrived at 11:20 pm, 40 minutes too late in Philly. I'm looking forward to June when we'll go to Washington D.C. again.
Now we only have four weeks left of school, and the weekends are filled with events and exciting activities. In two weeks I'll go to New York the first time, I'm so excited. Only two lacrosse games are left before the season ends. Then at the end of May I'll go to a Phillies baseball game with my host family. And on the first weekend of summer break we are going whale watching. After school is over, I'll stay at Camphill Kimberton Hills for five weeks before I leave after five months in America on July 15th.
It is and will be one of the best parts of my life. I'm really excited and looking forward for the next and last weeks. When I'll have to leave I’m really going to miss everything. All I can say is: THE REALITY OF A DREAM.
Hey, my name is Marie-Luise Meier and I’m from Freiburg, Germany. Before I came, I was really looking forward, going to America and getting to know the American way of life. Since I was twelve I had always wanted to go to America, especially to speak the language fluently.
I came here without an exchange. I was a little bit nervous, but also happy to have such an impressive experience.
It all started on Friday, August 5th 2011. At 3 p.m. my plane landed in Philadelphia. Maggie and Karen were already waiting for me at the airport. It was very exciting for me, seeing my new family, the Hite’s. On this day my adventure started. It didn’t take me long to appreciate how wonderful my family was. I fit in with them right away. The first few weeks I spent a lot of my time with the people from the Hite’s church.
After taking part in a Musical we went to Canada and had a wonderful vacation, near Toronto. I also got to see Niagara Falls.Once our four week vacation was over, school finally started. I was really excited to get to know all of the students and teachers.
During the first weeks I got to know my class. They were so friendly and welcomed me from the first day. It seemed like I knew them for my whole life. Since then there was no day where I wasn’t excited to go to school and meet all of my friends. Every day had something new, something to learn from or to show other people. I took part in so many things and went to many places. Together with my class I went to Virginia on the Odyssey trip, I also went to California, Maryland, New York City and North Carolina.
I also enjoyed being in America over Halloween and Thanksgiving. On Halloween everyone was dressed so fancy and had their own funny costume. I went trick-and-treating and experienced another typical American thing. Over Thanksgiving we went to North Carolina with my family and had a great, big dinner with turkey. I loved spending some great time with so many people and getting to know all of them.
One of my favorite things in school was the Craft Show. There was such a wonderful atmosphere, talking to everyone, eating some food at the Coffee House and being together with friends.
Every main lesson block that I took part in was amazing. It was so interesting and even though it was in English I understood most of it and had so much fun working on my main lesson book. I loved getting grades, which we don’t have in Waldorf Schools in Germany.
Kimberton Waldorf School is probably the best school where I have ever been. The students, the teacher, the classes and the high school is such a great gift that I could experience and appreciate over the last 4 months. And back in my school in Germany I realize how much I miss my normal “American-School-Day” and I am sad to be so far away from everyone. But since I got to know all these wonderful people I know, that I will come back as soon as possible. Because know Kimberton is my “New Second Home”.
My name is Alina Utsch and I come from Duisburg, Germany. I am going to the Waldorf School in Muelheim an der Ruhr. In the next six months I will stay with Hannah Sicherman who will be coming to Germany. My sister did an exchange two years ago and she told me a lot of her experience in the school and in her life in America and so I decided to do an exchange. I was really excited to come to America, because it was the first big trip that I did by myself.
When I arrived in Philadelphia, PA, my host family welcomed me with open arms. I could not believe that I was finally in America. My “new” family asked a lot of questions and wanted to know who I was. I thought it would be harder to speak the English language, but I was surprised that it was so easy to speak and understand it. The first few things I saw were really big and as the time went by I realized that everything is big in America.
My first weeks in America were really exciting, because everyone and everything was new to me. After around about a month I went with my family to Ohio to go to a wedding. It was really different from Germany. 300 people!!!
After this event my grade and I went to Virginia for the Odyssey trip, which was really good. I learned how to live without electricity and just to live in the wilderness.
In classes I got better and better and I could understand much more than 3 months ago. The single blocks were a lot of fun and I learned a lot of new words and also a lot of new knowledge.
To stay with the Sicherman/Schaper family is great. For me it was not new to stay in a different family, because I did a two weeks exchange with my French friends. Nevertheless, it was different to stay more than two weeks with another family.
Kimberton Waldorf School is different to my School. We have two separate groups ( called A + B) for English, French, P.E., Math and so on. We do not have school everyday until 3:10 p.m.; our school ends every single day different and the different grades do not end at the same time.
Finally we ( Fiona, Marie, Hannah, Maggie H., Evie, Aye, Logan,Sam, Aaron) went to NEW YORK CITY. I knew New York City when I watched movies, but I have never been there before. It was amazing to see NYC. I was impressed how tall the buildings were and how many people walked at Times Square. We took the ferry to get to Manhattan. I saw a lot of singers and they were really good. The people in NYC were so nice and really funny and I did not want to go home. Now it is Christmas time and I am really excited for Christmas Eve, because it’s going to be different to Germany. I am glad that I will have three more months to stay with my host family and friends, to improve my English and to experience a lot.
I came to America on August 15th and I have had a very good time. My name is Fiona Schachl, I am from Lueneburg, Germany and I want to tell you more about my great time here. I don’t remember when I found out that I could go to America for 4 month to make an exchange, but I was really excited. Since I have been here, everyone asks me if I like it and I answer “yes I like it- I love it!”
It is not always easy to be in a foreign country. The first few weeks were especially difficult: I was almost always tired because of jet-lag and I couldn’t understand very much. In the first week I went with my exchange family on a vacation to Chincoteague Island, which was great because I had the chance to learn more about my new family. After we came back, the field hockey season started. Besides a few classes in P.E. in Germany I had never played before, so I was nervous. But soon I started to really like it- and the people on the team. The weekend before school started, we went to Pittsburgh, and that was a great experience because it was the first big American city I visited. It was a weekend I enjoyed a lot even if I was a bit nervous for my first day at school… and then that day came! I was nervous, but excited about the teachers and the people in my grade-What would they be like? But they all were so nice and even if I couldn’t understand everything, I felt comfortable very soon. Every day it became easier to understand and to feel like I was at home. I met the two other Germans in my class and now they are also kind of like my “family”. We talked about the differences between Germany and America and between our schools. First of all, this school is much smaller than mine in Germany and I like that a lot. Here everyone has their own locker, and you have study hall, bagels and pretzels during morning break, P.E. with other grades together and, you can ride the nice yellow school buses after school, which are all things I will miss. Other differences are the relationships between teachers and students, high school singing every morning, not every grade has their own classroom, the dress code, including nice dresses on some days, cleaning every Friday, and that everyone has to do one “after-school-thing” during the year, like a sport or the musical. So the weeks passed by. After school we had hockey practice and sometimes games which I liked a lot. On the weekends, I spent time with my family or friends. We went to Washington DC and Philadelphia. I think both cities were awesome but Philadelphia was wonderful… I loved it! And in October, we had our Odyssey trip in Virginia with our class. I enjoyed this trip a lot, even if it was hard and the weather wasn’t the best. It was especially great because our grade is so small. After that trip I noticed that I was already here for 2 months. I didn’t feel like a visitor any longer. At the end of October there was Halloween and I was excited because Americans celebrate it more than Germans. On the weekend we wanted to go with exchange students and their partners to New York City but it began to snow like crazy and so we decided not to go. So instead of New York we spent the weekend at home- without power because a tree hit the electric wire. And to make it worse- I got lice. It wasn’t so bad for me but I felt sorry for my family because we had to do all this washing and stuff. And then there was a day at school I really enjoyed: Pajama day! On the weekend after, part of my family and I went to Ithaca, NY and it was another awesome experience. One week later, we had an early thanksgiving with friends. We don’t have thanksgiving in Germany so I was curious, and now I can say that I will miss that- to sit together with family and friends and to have this delicious dinner! And on Sunday we went to New York City, which made this weekend even better. We went with all the exchanges, their partners and Mrs. Burgess, the German teacher. It was such a great day-we saw a lot of things and I don’t think I will ever be able to forget it!
I had a great time up to now and I’m sad when I think about how I have to leave soon. My American family is the perfect exchange family for me and I’m thankful to know them and for everything they did for me. There are a few things I know I will miss for certain: first of all my family, friends, American houses, peanut butter (almost everything here has it, it seems), and pancakes and bacon for breakfast.
So now at the end of my exchange, I just want to say that I’m glad that I came. I just wish that everyone could have an experience like this, too.