|Willkommen to Lodi|
Nearly 5,000 miles away from their families, 12 visiting German students are making Lodi their home.
For two weeks, ninth and 10th-grade students from Lodi's sister school in Schwalmstadt, Germany, have been learning about everyday life in the Midwest. This is the second year German students have made the trip to Lodi High School as part of the student exchange program.
The students arrived in Lodi on Sept. 25 and head back to Germany on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The students have been busy traveling throughout the Lodi area, Madison and even Milwaukee. Last week they toured the downtown area meeting with city officials and learning about the city's emergency services.
The students' school activities have focused on learning Native American customs and history. They even traveled to Devil's Lake to learn about Native Americans in the area, the burial mounds and uses for native plants.
The students agree the trip has been exciting, but nothing compares to the experience of American sports.
Tenth-grader Jakob Kimpel witnessed his first live baseball game earlier this month at Miller Park. As a special surprise, his host family put "Welcome to America Jakob" up on the big screen after the second inning.
"All of the people in the stadium could see it," Kimpel says. "It was pretty exciting."
Although it might seem strange to most American students, Mareike Kroker says her favorite part of the trip has been going to school.
"There are many activities you can do here, and clubs, it's cool," Kroker says.
Simon Schmid agrees his favorite experience has been interacting with fellow students.
They participated in float building at the high school, went to classes,
local sporting events and were a part of the Homecoming parade last Friday.
"In my opinion everything is better here than in Germany," Schmid says. "People here have been very friendly."
Krocker and several other students say they wanted to visit America to not only improve their English,
but to better understand the American way of life.
Visiting English and math instructor Christoph Rehbein says the trip is an
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students. "I think this is a really great experience for them.
To know the American way of life, not just the fast food, they know that from Germany," Rehbein says.
"But everything else. It's been pretty awesome for the students."
The visiting German students and instructors will head back to Schwalmstadt this weekend.
Lodi student trip to Germany is planned for May 2011.
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