Hannahs Aufenthalt an der St. Johnsbury Academy (2009/10)

St. Johnsbury, Vermont, USA

“A ticket to America, in direction Vermont, St. Johnsbury Academy, please. Thank you!”

It is the 16th of August; I’m standing at the airport in Frankfurt and saying good-bye to my parents. In almost two hours I will be on my way to America all by myself – for one year. I’m a little bit scared, but also excited. My mind is full of thoughts about the new school, the new people that I’m going to meet and about the new and different culture that I’m going to be confronted with. I can’t wait to get there and start a new chapter of my life.

Welcome to my chapter one year America, in Vermont at the St. Johnsbury Academy.

I arrived on campus late in the night and I was exhausted from the long flight. I went directly to bed because at the next day preseason for soccer would start. In the next morning the campus looked really empty, I mean the school hasn’t started yet, so nobody then only the students who were willing to do sport were on campus. We first went to the cafeteria were I would have breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next school year. After some scrambled eggs and toast, a typical American breakfast, we got directed to the field house the place were all sports come together. I went down to the lower soccer field with a whole bunch of other girls who wanted to play soccer. It was really warm and I sweated a lot. But it was also a lot of fun, the people that I met were very nice and helpful.

A lot of them told me about the school and how everything would work as soon as the school got started. And I was surprised how easy it was for me to understand the language and also the speaking wasn’t very hard. Of course at the beginning everybody has some little difficulty to find quickly the right vocabulary and to use the right grammar. But nobody really cared because everybody could understand me and if I did a mistake they just would over hear it. Even though the preseason was very tiring, you had to wake up early and you had practice twice a day, I had a lot of fun and I don’t regret having done it. I met so many people that I’m still friends with and it was so much better to be earlier on campus and to get to know everything better.

Then finally school started and the first week was very hard and so were all the new classes and teachers. Everything was so new and so different than in a German school. Actually at the beginning I didn’t like it at all, I didn’t like it to go to school, it was not fun. The classes were 80 minutes long and I didn’t know anyone in my classes. At the beginning I thought all my classes were just too easy for me and would not help me at all. But then day by day it got better and I liked my classes more and more. I got closer to all of my classmates and one day it began to be fun to go to school and have 80 minutes classes.

Then after a while that you had time to get used to everything like your classes and teachers but also out of the school in the dorm to your roommate and everybody else. You started having test in classes and staying up late doing your homework. Probably, or actually pretty sure, you had made some friends already. Not like the ones who are nice to everybody, no, now you could say who is a good friend who you hang out with a lot and who is more the type who is friends with everyone. Everything starts to get easier by understanding people and using different vocabulary. You got your homework done faster, and sometimes you also had some free time.

Eight weeks just flew by and then there is the first break. Thanksgiving. I went to a friend’s house what was really nice. We had a huge Thanksgiving lunch with turkey and mashed potatoes but only in the family. For desert we went to their grandparents and there was a big choice of different pies. Pies are really special for America they are kind of a cake but mostly made out of fruits like apples or peaches and then covered with pastry, very delicious!! And then we just hung out at her house watching movies and having fun, just relaxing from school.

After Thanksgiving we had three more weeks left of school and this became hard, and when I say hard then I mean hard. Every teacher wanted to finish their chapters and make you ready for the final exams which were accomplished in the last week of school in all subjects that you had for the first semester. For me it was math, English, and history. And then I had to do in almost all subjects some projects too. So the last three weeks were very stressful and tiring. I remember that I never went to bed before 12. And in my case I also had basketball, that meant having practice every single day and sometimes during study hall, were everybody is supposed to make all their homework. But I had practice so I always was behind. But even though it sounds horrible - it was fun. Through a full schedule it is good to learn how to manage your time and that’s how I learned it very well. At the end I did pretty good at all my exams and final projects. So then I was ready for vacation. I was going to see my parents soon. I couldn’t really believe that one semester, one part, half part of my chapter being in America was over.