Philipps Aufenthalt an der Virginia Episcopal School (2012/13)

Lynchburg, Virginia, USA

I still remember how I was sitting at the ssb Seminar in Heidelberg and getting ready for my year in the United States of America. It feels like it was yesterday. Everybody told me that the school year would be over faster than you even think but I always thought that it would still be 9 to 10 months.

Actually the time over there is one of the greatest experiences of my life so far, and when you stand at the airport to go back to Germany the 9 months feel like 30 days. Only when you think back and try to remember what you have seen, what you have experienced and all the things you explored, then you notice that you spent almost a whole year away from home.

Virginia Episcopal School is a small school but there were lots of great moments I had during my year. The student council, a group of students that organize fun activities on the sometimes boring weekends on campus, did a Color Run, a kind of Holi Color Festival.

First we slid down a big plastic tarp, which was soaped and sprinkled with water; they use it all the time for weekend activities like that. Now a color fight began, everybody threw color powder on each other and because we were wet it stayed on our white t-shirts. This was a lot of fun.

Color Run
Spirit Week

Another fun thing is the annual Spirit Week. One of the first weeks of school the counselor body, a another group of students, who live on dorm and are contact persons for students and also have a kind of authority, plan a certain theme for every day of the Spirit Week; like apocalypse day or character day. Then you dress up for every day according to the certain theme. For character day, for example you could choose a famous character from TV, a movie or a book. As you can see in the picture, I chose to be Bart Simpson (my friend was LMFO). On Teacher lookalike day I dressed up as my English teacher (picture on the right).

I have another great memory when I think back to the time I spent doing the musical. At VES in the spring season all students have the possibility to participate in the musical. You can do it as your spring sport or just casually. But either way it is a whole lot of fun, even though it takes a lot of your study hall time (time where you are supposed to do your homework) – it is worth it. To work together with other classmates and students is just a great thing. And then at the end of every performance you stand there with the applause in your ears. This is just an awesome feeling.


The highlight of every American high school movie is the Finals also known as Prom. I mean it is a big event at every school and everybody who goes dresses up, with suit and bow tie or dress and high heels. Normally at The Virginia Episcopal school all seniors and juniors are allowed to go. But usually the Germans become a special treat, because it is one of the last days at the school and of their year abroad. It is a nice way to say goodbye to the American school system and when you spent a year at an American school you also want to be at a real American high school Prom once in your life.


Now I want to talk about the passion for video production I discovered during my year at VES. At the beginning of the year, when I chose my classes, I read Video production as one of the school’s offers. I didn’t know what this subject was about or what it was like but, because I knew that I kind of liked to edit movies and stuff like that, I took it. And it was definitely the best choice ever. We started by learning what different shots, camera angles we could use and how they were called. It was just fun to make movies, record and edit.

After one semester the class ended but a friend and I didn’t want to be done; we wanted to learn more about video production. So he created a new class for the second semester: Video Production 2. And now we didn’t make some weird movies we created ourself – instead we helped our teacher to set up the YouTube channel for VES. After all big events, Basketball games, we made highlight clips that were put on the YouTube channel. It was a lot of fun and it made me think that I maybe want to do this when I’m older.

Two things I want to tell you for the start of your year abroad. During the first week just think that everybody else is new to the school too. And when you first think 9 to 10 month is a long time: It really is going to fly by faster than you can even look.

Check out the VES YouTube channel and the Photo Gallery on the VES Homepage.