The Exchange Pt.3

Featuring "Das Boot" Ludwig Lenz

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A plane ticket sits on the desk awaiting removal. The filled suitcases consist of neatly folded clothing, shoes, toiletries, and anything else that one would need. The suitcases roll with purpose on the ground before arriving to the airport. The luggage continues to be taken away to be placed on the plane. After waiting in lines and getting through security, travelers are merely minutes away from the departure. On the plane, seats are in orderly rows. Everything vibrates as the plane begins to take off. Out the window, the world turns small, and big fluffy clouds are all that can be seen. Hours pass and the destination has been reached. The plane now sits on a different terrain in a different country. In that moment, Ludwig Lenz’s journey had begun. 

Ludwig Lenz, a fifteen year old foreign exchange student from Germany, did not have any expectations before coming to Walton, Indiana, for his sophomore year of high school. Ludwig only knew that he wanted to participate in sports and live from day-to-day while taking on the new lifestyle and environment. The language barrier, one of Ludwig’s biggest challenges, made communication very difficult. In the beginning, Ludwig fund speaking in English difficult. However, he could understand it very well for the most part. Ludwig says that the friendly community, teachers, and students have made it much easier to cope and

Ludwig and his host family

adapt with the new language and surroundings.

In Germany, the school day alternates every other day from 7:15 A.M. to 12:55 P.M. or 2:45 P.M. depending on the amount of classes- six or eight. Additionally, students stay in one classroom throughout the day rather than physically moving to a different one. During the day, classes differ in time blocks. Some classes are an hour and forty-five minutes while others are an hour and a half long. 

Ludwig shares that teachers are much more strict than teachers at Lewis Cass and classes are harder. In Germany, students should not be talking, using their phones, or walking during class. To do these things in a class setting is a bigger deal in Germany than it is here and is very disrespectful. In general, Ludwig thinks that Americans are more relaxed than Germans. Also, Ludwig says he has already learned most of the content he is being taught now at Lewis Cass. In Germany, laptops are not used in school unlike here. However, Ludwig likes the use of laptops in school and prefers it instead of only using paper. Ludwig believes laptops make it easier for teachers and students to perform tasks in school. 

In contrast to America, sports are not held in schools in Germany. Instead, out-of-school sporting clubs are popular amongst students. Ludwig participated in a soccer and volleyball club. Because our school does not have a soccer team, Ludwig joined the football team and is currently on the basketball team. He quickly learned that many more practices are held here than in Germany, but it does not bother him too much. Despite the many practices an

Ludwig kicking

d needed commitment, he enjoys sports and the competition that comes with them. 

When the football coach asked Ludwig to try out as the kicker, no one expected it to go as well as it did. Right from the beginning, Ludwig showed great promise and skill as a kicker. After the first game against Pioneer, everyone was blown away by Ludwig’s kicking. Every kick nearly pushed the Panthers all the way back to the end zone. It was crazy to see this fourteen year old from Germany excell so well and blow everyone away every game for the duration of the season. Ludwig shares that it was very surprising for him as well, and he was just happy to help the team.

 “All of a sudden, everyone knew me, and people I didn’t know were saying hi to me in the halls. It was very cool,” says Ludwig. 

Because of the football team’s success, every game day ended with a victorious trip to Taco Bell with friends. For Ludwig, the first one of these trips to Taco Bell was extremely fun and something he will remember forever. The people he went with to Taco Bell were extremely energetic and funny and made it very memorable. The nights at Taco Bell were full of laughs, memories, and victorious recaps of the games. Although Ludwig really enjoyed all of the late night trips to Taco Bell after the games, he did not enjoy the food. Everytime he went it was really only for the people. Ludwig is not a fan of Taco Bell but instead really likes Buffalo Wild Wings.

When first meeting Ludwig, he seems a little shy but makes up for it with his comedic personality. While he is not very loud, he always seems to have a sarcastic comment under his sleeve. Making friends was easy for him because of his humor and easy-going persona. Anyone speaking with him will loosen up and become comfortable after only a few words. Because of the exchange and surrounding himself in such a different environment, Ludwig believes he is a little bit more shy and quiet than he was in Germany. He says he will have to see how much he has really changed when he returns to Germany. When the time comes, he is excited to see his missed family and friends in Germany, but he also would really like to stay here in America with his friends and host family- the Deeters.

The football team

Ludwig’s experience all started by a mere decision and brief research. After his cousin came back from his exchange in Australia, Ludwig became very interested in becoming a foreign exchange student. Ludwig knew that it would serve as a great learning opportunity to improve his English and gain experience. Later in his life, his English will help his chances of getting into a good college and receiving a well-paying job.

Overall, Ludwig is beyond happy he took the chance to come to the United States and met and saw so many new people and places. Lewis Cass is very lucky and grateful to host such a talented and fun individual. Our football team had an amazing season, and our school is so proud of the team and Ludwig for all of their hard work and dedication. Ludwig Lenz, the third of the three foreign exchange students of the 2019-2020 school year, will always be welcomed in our community.

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