Laura Nowak, 17, is a native of Cologne, Germany, who is now attending Warner High School. She will return to Germany on June 1.
Q. What are your parents' names and what do they do for a living?
A. My host parents are Julie and Greg Fischbach from Warner. And I have two host sisters, Keeley and Ashley Fischbach. They go to Warner School.
Q. When did you arrive in the U.S.?
A. I arrived in the U.S. at the 9th of August and stayed three days on a college campus near Manhattan. We visited New York City and had some workshops for our exchange year. I arrived in Aberdeen at the 12th of August where my host family was waiting for me.
Q. What has been your biggest surprise about life in the U.S.?
A. The biggest surprise for me was all the sports within the school. The team's ambition and motivation at volleyball and basketball practice and games are really awesome and positive. In Germany all sport teams have a setting outside of school and it is just for fun. This has been a very good experience for me. I am also on the Warner dance team.
Q. How do you compare the education you receive in your home country to your school here?
A. For me, the start in the junior year was a little difficult because of the language barriers. Now it has gotten a lot better. I think the German schools are harder than the schools in America. And I think the schools are so different that you cannot really compare them.
Q. How is the food different here?
A. I think the people here in America eat a lot of fast food. In my home country we always cook at home when everyone comes back from school or work. At my host family everyone is always coming and going and we are not all home very often at the same time. We probably eat at fast-food restaurants two to three times a week and cook at home sometimes too. The food in America is very different than it is in Germany. I like to eat both kinds of food.
Q. Are there any other differences between the U.S. and your home country?
A. The school day here is a lot longer. My school day in Warner goes to 3:20 p.m. and after that is a few hours of sport practice. That is the biggest difference for me, because my school day in Germany goes just to 1:20 p.m. and sometime you may have afternoon classes, but mostly you have just school till 1:20 p.m.
Q. What has been the most fun since you got here?
A. I like to go to all these football games, volleyball games and basketball games. It is always so much fun to watch the game with your friends and to cheer on the teams. It is more fun here than in Gemany because the whole school and community get so involved.
Q. What do you miss about your home country?
A. I really miss my family and all my friends. Some days I miss the German food and some days I miss my German school.
Q. What did you expect from your stay in the U.S.?
A. I think the most important thing is to learn really good English to the end of my exchange year. And I expect that I will have a great year with my family and that I find some really good friends, who maybe come visit me when I am back home. I really want to have a year which I will never forget.
Q. What would you like to do yet before you return home?
A. I really want to go to Mount Rushmore and I want to go skiing in the Black Hills with my family.
Q. Is there anything you would like to add?
A. I am glad to be here in South Dakota, to have such a great family and some good friends at school. I really enjoy my time here in Warner and in Aberdeen.
If you're interested in hosting a foreign exchange student call Vickie Moser of Leola at 605-439-3656.