GUTTENTAG: KHS welcomes German exchange student

Foreign exchange student and tennis player Luis Jansen.

Foreign exchange student and tennis player Luis Jansen.

MEGAN POE and DYLAN TUCKER

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All the way from Cologne, Germany, over 5,000 miles, Luis Jansen is new to Kaufman and a long way from home. Being an exchange student is different and difficult. Being away from home and friends, not knowing any places or people, is not easy.  

“My mom said she always wanted to be an exchange student,” he said, “I like the idea of making new friendships, experiencing a different culture, and also getting more independent and gaining more self confidence.”

What’s different about Kaufman from Cologne? Jansen says the European education system is more advanced. He also said the school spirit in America is promoted much more. The teachers are also more “chilled” here, he said.

“When I first got here I literally said it felt like ‘High School Musical’,” he said. We also don’t have school sports teams.”

Being over 5,000 miles from home, Jansen doesn’t get to talk to his family as much because of the times zones. At 3 p.m. in Kaufman, it’s 10 p.m. in Cologne. He only talks to his parents every two weeks or on special occasions such as birthdays or holidays. He also misses the scenery.

“You only have to drive four to six hours and you are in Bavaria, one of the most beautiful federal states you could go,” he said. “It’s right next to Austria and Switzerland, the majestic mountains and lakes between them.”

Traveling so far from home, one can experience strange things. The strangest thing Luis has experienced was saying goodbye to his mom at the airport.

“I’m used to flying or traveling without her, but it was different because I knew I wasn’t going to see her, hug her, or be with her,” he said.

One of his favorite things about Kaufman is the school spirit. Like many KHS students, his least favorite thing about Kaufman is the construction.

“It’s not that major because the new gym and H-wing is awesome,” he said. “I’m used to public transportation. I am used to busses in Germany, but it’s not that big of a deal if you have friends 16 and older.”

German cuisine is also different with using less food that contains fat.

“For example, we don’t put cheese on everything,” he adds.

He isn’t sure of his plans for the future yet, that’s one of the reasons he became an exchange student.

“I want to travel a lot in my future and experience more cultures and build new friendships,” he said.

He’s thinking of becoming a pilot like his mother, father, and uncle. He’s also thinking about coming back to the U.S. and going to university here.

“A graduation from a foreign university will give you more job opportunities to travel a lot because you know the cultures,” Jansen said.

As much fun as it is to travel to another country, Luis will go back home with a lot of friends waiting for him to return, with a lot of stories to tell his family, and a lot of good memories that will last a lifetime.

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GUTTENTAG: KHS welcomes German exchange student