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Anna Roetzer comes from Germany to WA

Varshini Ramanathan, Co-Managing Editor

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Sophomore Anna Roetzer has an insatiable hunger for new experiences, and it is that adventuring nature that brought her from Langquaid, Germany to Westford Academy for the 2016-2017 school year.

The idea of a yearlong exchange is not new to Roetzer; she has been considering studying abroad since 8th grade. When her teacher mentioned that her daughter was doing an exchange trip abroad, Roetzer took to the Internet in order to find out how she could do the same.

Eventually, the opportunity came to her through the American Field Service (AFS), a private organization that coordinates host families and exchange students. After an application, interview, and decision between countries around the world, Roetzer boarded a plane to New York City, and the rest was history.

“[I said] I really want to do this, I really want to go to another country, meet new people, make as many experiences as I possibly can,” said Roetzer.

Roetzer attended school at the Johannes-Nepomuk-Gymnasium Rohr (JNG Rohr) in Langquaid, a municipality in the eastern state of Bavaria. This state, home to the Oktoberfest as well as other staples of German culture, is often generalized as representing the whole country, and Roetzer explains that is one of the most common misconceptions people have about her country.

Her school was fairly small, with 400 students for grade 5-12, and Roetzer feels that this contributes to many of the differences she sees between the United States and Germany. Due to the size of her school, students cannot choose their subjects, and so upon coming to WA, Roetzer embraced her newfound freedom; she is currently taking Sociology, Psychology, and other electives that she would not have been able to at home.

This attitude extends outside of school—she participates in a wide variety of extracurriculars, such as Marching Band and WAccapella. Roetzer’s old school ended at 1:30 three times a week and at 4:00 twice a week, but although the schedule is roughly the same at WA, her school life now continues after the bell rings. She finds that even her weekends are more packed than she is used to, in part because she attends all football games as part of the marching band. This is far from an inconvenience to her; in fact, one of the main reasons she chose to come to the United States was because of its flexible school system and its range of after-school activities.

She also praises the wide diversity of students that comes with having a large population, and comments that the array of flags in the Flag Lobby surprised her.

“I think, in general, we have more variety here, and that’s really nice, because you get to know so many different kinds of people,” she said of WA.

The high-achieving nature of the students here also suits her. She explains that in her school in Germany, accomplishing something often causes one to be called “streber”, or nerd, but that simply doesn’t occur at Westford Academy.

Roetzer is surprisingly nonchalant about the ordeal of traveling to the United States, even though it is her first time in the country. She acknowledges some difficulties in adapting to the new setting, but asserts that she is comfortable with her situation.

“Honestly, I didn’t have fears. It was kind of difficult because all the people I knew were [in Germany], everything was completely new to me […] It’s sometimes a little difficult at the beginning to integrate yourself, but I think I’m doing fine.”

In fact, her opinion of the United States has been overwhelmingly positive. Beginning with her first night in the country when she was easily able to connect to other foreign exchange students to her first few weeks at school, Roetzer has no complaints of the country. She calls the people “open-hearted” and willing to help.

In general, it is Roetzer’s wholehearted enthusiasm and go-with-the-flow attitude that have allowed her to put herself in new situations and succeed in “[making] as many new experiences as possible.”

“I’m a happy kid,” said Roetzer.

 

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Anna Roetzer comes from Germany to WA