Our Visit to the United States

Einige Schülerinnen und Schüler der 10. Klassen waren vor und während den Herbstferien in den USA. Das Erlebte findet sich in ihren Berichten:

Welcome Party

We arrived in St.Charles on September 29, 2017. We all went to North High School to have a welcome party. We ate some cake, burgers, mac&cheese and drank some soda. After dinner we all went to watch the football match at North High School together. The match ended at 10pm. – Pascal –

St. Charles East High School

St. Charles East High School is amazing. Every day school starts at 7:20 am and ends at 2 pm. After 2 pm the students have different activities, football for example. The school is so big, they have two gyms, a swimming pool, a football pitch, tennis courts, soccer fields, a baseball park, a very big theater and a big football stadium. But I think it‘s because all these students do they activities in the school, so they don‘t leave school to practise their hobbies. I loved St. Charles East High School. It was so different from all our schools in Germany. They had these big football games with cheerleaders and a big instrumental parade and all students go there each Friday. It really was like in all these high school movies I always watched. Another big difference was the timetable. Every new school year they can compile their timetable, so that means that they can decide which classes they want to join. They have the same classes every day. School was really more different than I expected but it was such a good experience to see what a typical school day is like in America. – Laura S. –

Saint Charles North High School (SCN)

is one of the high schools in St. Charles and was built in 1995. The school was built because of a mold problem at Saint Charles East High School so some of the students had to go to the newly built high school. The colours of the school are blue, white and silver, the mascots are the North Stars. The schools headmistress is Audra Christenson. There are currently about 2000 students at SCN. The 32100 sqm large school does not just have normal classrooms but two gyms, multiple baseball and softball fields and tennis courts. There is also a big football field for the school teams. The school also has a driver’s education simulation lab and band, choir and rehearsal rooms. More than thirty different sports to play are offered by the school, for example football or baseball. The school also offers other free time activities, for example they have a chess team or a drama club. – Antonia Lenzen

Family Routine
I was hosted by Crista Krueger together with my friend Julia. We were in separated rooms but we woke up together at 6:20 am. We had to leave the house at 7:50 am. As I was getting ready in my room, I called my parents and talked with them. Then I went downstairs to have breakfast. Normally I ate corn flakes or yogurt. Crista‘s mother had already left for work and her father was sometimes at home in the morning. After eating breakfast we went to Crista’s car and went to school where our schedule started at 8:13am with P.E. (physical education). After school we went home and either ate lunch at home or outside. For example at noodle, Mexican or fast food restaurants. In the afternoon I took a shower and went downstairs to watch a movie or an episode of some series. After that we all would go to bed. – Samantha Zach –

Mayoral Visit

On October 3rd  we visited the mayor in his office at the town hall. The mayor welcomed everyone who had come and told us something about St. Charles and his job as mayor. After this we went into a tower and from there we went to the parliament building. When we finished doing this, he gave us the opportunity to ask him questions about the US, about his job and his life. From “Do you support Trump?” to “Would you like to be the president?” many questions were asked. He told us that there are 11 people when there is a meeting so they can always find a solution. We were allowed to sit down and enjoy the “mayoral view”. The lucky person in the middle seat was allowed to swing the gavel and had to say a sentence which the mayor chose for us. Not only the students took a seat, but also the teachers sat down. I think everyone enjoyed sitting on the chairs and asking the mayor some questions. – David S. –

Trip to the St Charles History Museum

On Thursday 5th we met at the museum at about 3pm. The museum had already been decorated in a Halloween theme. We went on a scavenger hunt which took us around St. Charles in 90 minutes. We split our group of roughly 40 people into groups of 4 to 6 pupils. We mainly walked around in the older parts of St. Charles and we found out a couple facts about St Charles and its origin. After the trip most of us students met up in a small restaurant called “Forever Yogurt” where we had lunch. All in all it was an interesting day with a tasty finish. – Mathias S. –

Excursion to Chicago

After our first week in St. Charles we visited Chicago. We went by train for about one hour. First we went to the German consulate, following an invitation of the consul. The Americans visited the consulate first and realized the consulate wasn’t in his office and then they watched a boring video. During that time we waited in front of the building at the entrance. After they came out, we went to “Billy Goat Tavern”. When we had finished our tasty cheeseburgers, we walked to go on a boat trip which showed us the architecture of Chicago. After the boat tour we visited the Millennium Park and took some nice pictures with the “Bean”. On the way to the Willis Tower, we did some short stops at some souvenir shops. With 442.1 m the Willis Tower is the highest building in Chicago and we took the elevator to the highest floor and walked on the glass floor. After visiting the tower we took the train to St. Charles and our trip ended.

Scarecrow Fest

The Scarecrow Fest is an annual event celebrated all over America. I got to experience the 32nd , which was my first and probably my last, Scarecrow Festival in St.Charles, Illinois. It took place in St.Charles’ Lincoln Park and went from October 6th until October 8th. Over 100 hand-made scarecrows were displayed and divided into 6 categories. Mechanical Category, MEGA Scarecrows Category, Clubs – Schools, NEW! Individuals’ Category, Family Category and St.Charles Business Category. You also get the opportunity to make your own scarecrow from donated clothes etc. and to vote for your favorite scarecrow. You can shop at the arts & crafts show, dance to live music, spin on carnival rides, groom a horse or tour live on a 19th century farm. Plus – admission is free, as well as parking, the shuttle bus or the festival trolley. And if you like you can even stay overnight in a hotel near the festival.

Window Painting

On Monday, October 9th, many kids from the German Honor Society and GAPP group met early in the morning in downtown St. Charles. We painted windows to decorate the city for the Homecoming Parade. Our group had 4 windows. We had to paint them with the theme “Under the Sea” but it had to be related to Germany too so we painted typical German things like beer und pretzels but also some sea creatures and a mermaid. Fr. Johnson had all the paint and brushes. It was fun and we had very good weather. It was very warm, around 28 degrees Celsius. While some of the people were painting, others were getting food and drinks for all the kids. In conclusion, it was a good day and everybody had fun. – Ella Jakovljevic –

Friday, 13th Homecoming Parade 

On the day of the parade the Germans from North High School were at East High School. Before we went to the parade, we had normal lessons with our host partners until the 6th lesson. After the 6th lesson we met in the main lobby and went to the school buses. We arrived at Walnut Street after a 10 minutes ride. All of us were looking forward to the parade. We walked with the German classes. Armed with German flags and posters we were prepared for the walk. Finally the parade started and we all walked through down town St. Charles where the beautiful window paintings had been painted on Monday 9th. So many people like family, friends or students came to see the parade and were cheering and it was a huge success.

Homecoming Dance

On Saturday 14 th we attended the homecoming dance at St. Charles East High School. It started at 8pm. and ended at 11pm. The theme of the dance was >>Under the Sea<<. A homecoming dance is not a formal dance; the girls wear short dresses and the boys come in sneakers. It is usually a tradition to meet up in a group and get ready for the dance. I was with a group of eight girls, we did our make-up and got dressed together. After that we went to a park and took some group photos. Later we ate some pizza and talked. After dinner we went to the ball.We danced a lot at the ball and school had hired a good DJ. There were different types of songs from EDM (Electric dance music) to pop and classic.We had a good time. – Tyra –

The weekends in St.Charles with our host families

We did many different things at the weekends. Some of us had to go to church, some of us had to watch the training of our partners or some of us just went shopping. One day I went frisbee golfing with other kids from Germany, where we really had of lot of fun. Then I watched a hockey match of the school group of St.Charles North. I went to a farm with my family and chose which pumpkin I wanted to carve. One Saturday it was homecoming dance. One day most people of the exchange ate lunch together at Bufallo Wings and went to a haunted house afterwards, where some kids from Germany cried. At the end of that day, we went to the scarecrow fest together. – Martyna –


When I was in St. Charles during the GAPP exchange program, my host family took me to a baseball game. Seeing baseball for the first time, I asked them for its rules. It turned out baseball wasn’t only a new sport to me, it was also very confusing at the beginning. There is a pitcher, who is supposed to throw a baseball at a catcher. The other team’s batter stands between them and tries to hit the baseball with a bat. If he misses it, it’s called a strike. After three strikes the batter is out, so another batter has to bat. The teams change their positions after three outs. If the


batter doesn’t try to hit the baseball and the catcher isn’t able to catch it inside the strike zone (neither below his knees nor above his chest), it’s a ball. After four balls the batter may move forward to the first base. If the batter hits the ball with his bat, he starts to run to the first base. However, if the pitcher’s team (which stands on the field) is able to catch it in air or is able to throw it to the base before he has reached it, he’s out. He’s also allowed to run to the second or third base, but that’s really risky. Usually he starts running to them when the next batter hits the ball successfully. As soon as he reaches the third base, he scores a run (equals a goal). There’s one special case: If the batter hits the baseball outside the stadium, it’s called a Homerun and every runner (ex-batter, including himself) scores a run. This can be game-changing given that you can score up to four runs at once. The game ends after nine innings (so every team has batted and defended nine times). If there’s a draw, the game lasts until one team has more runs and the other team has had a chance to turn the game. Baseball is the most complicated sport I know, anyway, after I had learned the basics, it became really interesting and fun to watch. – Fabian –

Sports in the United States

American football is the most popular sport in the United States. There are a lot of forms of the game like professional, college, high school and youth player football. At Saint Charles North High School American football is very famous, too. My exchange partner Rob is a football player. Everyday after school he had training for 3 hours. It depends on the day and situation of the team what they do in training. A typical training starts with a warm up. After that they take a lap around the field. Then they do tackling drills.

But on some days they are going to lift weights in the power room. Every Friday in season there is no training, because they have a game against another school. The whole team meet after the game at school on a Saturday morning to reflect on their performance.

Shopping in the USA

Shopping in the US is obviously different compared to Germany. Not only do they have different stores, the customer service is different as well. The cashiers always asks you things like „How was your day ?“ or „How are you “ and I think that‘s way better and more polite compared to Germany. There are also differences in the prices. For example in Germany you already have the tax in the price, but in the US you have to pay extra cash for it. What I mean is that if you buy a T-shirt for 20 $ you need to know that you‘re going to have to pay more (for example 23 $ ), because the tax price has not been included yet. A pretty obvious difference about stores in Germany and the US is that in Germany it‘s often forbidden to eat or skate in stores and the stores have signs about that, but in the US they have signs that guns and weapons are forbidden . No one would even think of taking a gun or a weapon into a store in Germany, that‘s why we don‘t have these signs. – Jenny Bucic –

Goodbye Party

On October 16 was our last evening in St.Charles. We all met at East High School and had dinner together. We saw each other for the last time because some of the Americans didn‘t go to the airport. It was a sad atmosphere. The party ended at 7. – Pascal –


New York

On Tuesday we met at the airport and had a heartbreaking goodbye with all Americans. Then we flew to New York and tried to get to our hostel by bus and subway. We arrived there and started unpacking our baggage. After that we took the subway and went to Times Square so we could see Times Square at  night. The next day we left the hostel at 8 a.m. and started our sightseeing tour. First we had a boat trip to Liberty Island. We stood in front of the statue of liberty and took a lot of pictures.

Then we went to Ellis Island and had the opportunity to visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. After that we went to the restaurant Sauce & Barrel and ate some Italian meal and then took the train to Times Square where we could buy souvenirs. The last point on our list for that day was the off-Broadway theater show „Stomp“. Jenny F.

On our second day in the Big Apple, our first stop was Central Station. We stood in the big main hall admiring the ceiling while people where running around trying to catch their trains.

After everyone had taken some pictures, we continued and made our way along Fifth Avenue to Central Park.  The weather was really nice and inside the park we could take a break from noisy Manhattan and listen to several buskers. We even went on a little rowing tour on the lake.

It was midday then and we were all quite hungry and decided to have lunch in Chinatown. As soon as we got out of the subway station there, you could tell we were in a totally different place. There were lots of food stands, Asian lettering everywhere and…it smelled really bad. Fishes, still alive, were lying around and crabs almost falling onto the street.

We had our lunch and after that we went to Rockefeller Center and used the remaining time to do some last shopping in the U.S. Shortly after, we were ready to go onto the “top of the rock“. Seeing the sun set over beautiful New York City and all the lights slowly coming on, illuminating the streets,was the perfect ending for that fun day.

On the next morning our last day began and we were all sad because we had to leave the USA and New York. But at the same time we all were anticipating to see our families and friends again. We left the hostel to have breakfast in one of the many Brooklyn cafes and afterwards we had a little walk through the colorful borough. The subway took us to the west side of Manhattan where there is High Line, a 1.45-mile-long (2,33 km) elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail.

It was a really hot day so we sat down to enjoy the sun and the peaceful environment. We still had some time left before we had to return to the hostel to get our luggage. So we visited the American Museum of Natural History. The museum was as gigantic as the dinosaurs they showed even though they did not move an inch. After a couple of hours we met at the exit again. Surprisingly none of us had got lost and we returned to Brooklyn. But before leaving we still had to try some New York pizza. Then we were ready to go to JFK and catch our flight back to Germany. – Cristina –