ST. MARYS — Marcel Lansing, 15, an exchange student from Germany, has been soaking in American culture since arriving at St. Marys Memorial High School last fall.
The junior hails from what used to be West Germany near the Dutch border, just outside Cologne. He’s finding our educational system a bit different than what he’s used to.
“First of all, we have one class we stay in the whole day. Mostly we stay together, like around 20 to 25 people. You move around the whole day. You have different people [teachers] all of the time,” Lansing said.
What has Lansing found to be eye-opening for him in America?
“Just how open everything is. Like the teachers here, for example, like they have a really nice relationship with the students, I’m not used to [that]. It’s a lot more knowing people like you know them. That’s pretty nice and school spirit I like,” Lansing said.
Lansing was a member of the school’s basketball team.
“We don’t have sport teams for our schools so we have club sports so there isn’t that much school spirit because you don’t have any teams to root for,” he said.
Lansing is still unsure what he’ll do after his high school education is over.
“I don’t have anything planned out yet, just because I have two years of school left in Germany but lawyers, higher government positions sound pretty interesting, or like [computer] programming, I don’t know for sure. My exchange definitely helps to get a nice view on everything, check all different countries and how stuff works,” he said.
He’s finding a surprising amount of freedom in what courses he takes at St. Marys, compared to Germany.
“We don’t have that many choices in what we take in the first nine years, so you have to take those 15 classes and you can choose later. Here we really have like, I took, for example, sociology, stuff like that, sports marketing, web design. I can just do stuff I want to do and not like what I have to do. So I have a lot more choices,” he noted.
As an outsider looking at American politics, we asked him what he thought about President Donald Trump.
“Most people in Germany think he’s nuts. Just because you mostly get liberal news and all of Europe is more liberal. So you hear a more one-sided side of the story and don’t have background information, so you can’t really know what’s happening. But when you get more into it, you can understand his history and his perspective much more, and it makes a lot of sense. I agree with him on some parts, I disagree with some others,” he said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.