Lukas Langlotz knew his two-week exchange trip to America would be a learning experience for himself and his classmates from Germany.
The educational exchange, however, was mutual for the students they visited at West Forsyth High School.
After counting in German, West Forsyth student David Lowe said he’s gained more than number knowledge from volunteering to have Langlotz shadow him during his classes.
“It’s great to see a different perspective of America,” Lowe said. “It’s definitely eye opening, and it makes me want to go to Germany.”
The 19 German students, who also spoke English, divided into two groups during their stay, with nine at West Forsyth and 10 at Alpharetta High School.
Though the students depart today, the overseas connection will remain, said Jenny Urash, the coordinating teacher at West.
“West Forsyth is looking forward to hosting more students again next year, and I’m even trying to plan my summer vacation with hopes of visiting their school,” Urash said. “A couple of the students have already said ‘When do we get to go visit them?’”
One of the German teachers connected with a former Forsyth teacher on a travel Web site, Urash said, which led to the students coming here. The trip was part of an exchange program through their school near Frankfurt.
“Many of us have never been to America, and that’s maybe one chance to learn the culture,” Langlotz said.
The students have forged connections through common ground, such as music, movies and video games, she said.
After one week of the program, the students have seen one major difference between America and their home country.
According to the students, everything in the U.S. is bigger: the cars, the houses, the school and the food portions.
Langlotz has eaten a lot of pizza since arriving Sept. 23, and his classmate Kevin Wick has taken a liking to American ice cream.
They’ve enjoyed spending time with the people they’ve met in the community.
“All people are very friendly and very funny,” Langlotz said.
Added Wick, smiling: “And the girls are hot.”
The two said they’ve also enjoyed shopping, citing lower clothes prices in the U.S.
The students also visited the Cumming Playhouse, went bowling, watched West Forsyth and Alpharetta face off in football and traveled to tourist spots in Atlanta.
Most days they attended classes with their shadow students.
Their time in the classroom has been somewhat different than what they’re used to in Germany.
Langlotz recalled an incident where a student and teacher shot water guns in a classroom, which he said would never happen in his school at home.
“The teachers and students here are like friends,” he said. “In Germany, it’s more formal.”