Emelies Aufenthalt an der St. Johnsbury Academy (2018/19)

St. Johnsbury, Vermont, USA

Zwischenbericht zu Unterricht und Kursen

Before I came to SJA, I was quite intimidated by the classes that I would be attending. French 4 Accelerated and Trigonometry Accelerated sounded like bad decisions to me at first. My first day actually kind of confirmed my fears. All of my classes were only 40 minutes long to get used to them and both French and Math seemed very challenging to me. I almost quit both. My French teacher talked too fast for me to keep up with him and in Math we had a topic that I hadn’t even learned. It didn’t look that peachy.

But now that I look back on it, a few months into the school year, I’m really happy that I stuck with both of the subjects. My French has improved from only being able to say a few phrases to understanding philosophical paragraphs and my math abilities improved drastically too. Even if it is still a bit challenging, I’m so ecstatic that I didn’t switch.

You may experience similar feelings during your first few days, and my advice for that would be: wait two weeks. Before you make any big decisions, wait for two weeks and see how you feel about it then. After that time, if you are sure about it, first, talk to your teachers about it. They might have a completely different view on the subject or they could tell you what you can improve on. After that talk to your peers or your advisor, they might be able to help you directly, you can always consider extra help. Only after that, contact ssb and tell them that you would like to switch classes. It might work out perfectly for you if you switch from an accelerated class to a normal one.

The same applies if you feel not challenged enough. Wait for two weeks, then speak to ssb about it. Almost all classes get harder the longer you are in them, so don’t make any hurried decisions.
And if in doubt, always ask ssb. They constantly had the best advice for me during any hard time, so you can definitely rely on them!

Zwischenbericht zu Sport im Herbst an SJA

I was on the Varsity Volleyball team of St. Johnsbury Academy and I noticed a lot of differences between athletics in the US and in Germany.
Firstly, the athletes actually train on school grounds and sports are taken very seriously. Every day, except Sundays, we would have practice of two hours, which meant that I only had about fifteen minutes every day to eat my dinner, and I came back to my dorm exactly when study hall started. It sounds exhausting when I say it like that but I never had a practice that I didn't look forward to.

Secondly, you get recognition! If your sports team wins, morning chapel will be filled with cheers of your peers and if you lose, people will come up to you and encourage you to fight hard and win the next one. It was a really surreal experience when people in chapel turned around in their seats and congratulated me for the first time.

Thirdly, the atmosphere in the team is amazing. Loses are mourned with tears, wins are celebrated with ecstatic screaming and overall everybody was ready to give every single game their all. On the bus that we used to drive to and back from games, we often played songs and sang to them. Obviously, it sounded terrible, especially when we all tried to hit the high notes to Adele or Ariana Grande but they are still some of my most treasured memories. Even though we only made it to the playoff quarter finals, everyone in the team collectively decided that we definitely did our best and that we would get revenge next year. And even if playing a sport stressed me out a lot, since I had less time to do my homework, even if I would sometimes get home at 10 pm because a game dragged on and even if I came home bruised and sore, I wouldn't change out that season for anything. It was a wonderful time.

Zwischenbericht zu Thanksgiving an SJA

My English teacher always talked about how enjoyable and fun Thanksgiving is, so obviously when I went over to a friend’s house during my year in the US, I was curious.

For my week-long Thanksgiving break, I went over to the house of a good friend of mine. Getting an invitation seemed harder than it was. As soon as I had met my friend’s mom while she was visiting the Academy, I was immediately invited to their home.

I spent the time watching movies, building snowmen, getting caught up on homework and just in general being lazy. It was wonderful. The family I stayed with was very welcoming and nice. I never felt like they didn’t want me there or like I was a burden. I even got a welcome present!

The Thanksgiving dinner had a huge buildup to it. The entire family went grocery shopping and cooked the dinner together. We made mashed potatoes, asparagus, stuffing, apple pie and obviously turkey. It was delicious! We didn’t do the typical Thanksgiving traditions of saying what you are thankful for and breaking the wishing bone, but that didn’t bother me. We still had a lot of fun just being by the five of us. My favorite part of the evening was the game playing at the end of the day. We all spent two hours playing poker, charades, taboo and other stuff.

All in all, the Thanksgiving holidays were a wonderful thing to experience in the US and I would advise everybody that, if you are able to, spend the break with a friend! It is worth it!