“Guten Tag” All the Way From Germany – Aurelia von Bargen



Aurelia in San Diego enjoying the beach on the west side.

Paula Le, Editor

Sahuaro High School has the opportunity this year to welcome exchange students from around the globe, Aurelia being one of them. All the way from Germany, she has traveled over 5,600 miles to good ol’ Tucson.

Aurelia is a dancer back in Germany.

Aurelia mainly got the idea to be an exchange student through her dad, for he was in a similar situation in the United States around her age. “I came here with EF High School Exchange Year and other programs. ” She stated that she attended some preparation Zoom meetings but did not truly realize that she was going to America until a few days before her flight. “I didn’t even know which state I was going to.” Her love for traveling, seeing new countries, getting to know new cultures, and face challenges helped with her decision. So with one big and small suitcase, she pretty much left almost all her belongings at home and really said “Tschüss” to Germany.

Aurelia expresses her gratitude towards her host family for deciding to look after her. “I have two little host siblings, and I really love my host family. It’s so great to have like a second family in a different country.”

Aurelia and her host parents at a concert in San Diego.

As anyone who is moving to somewhere unfamiliar, it can be scary and exciting at the same time. Aurelia admitted her biggest fear was the first day of school and that she wouldn’t find any friends in high school. Fortunately, that was not the case. She explains that she found many friends, and school here is more fun and easier compared to Germany. In Germany, there are no sports teams in schools and students stay with their peers and designated teacher.

Speaking of Germany, being in two entirely different environments has its own characteristics. Aurelia feels Americans are more open-minded and relaxed while Germans need more time to open up. On the other head, Germans are more environmentally conscious and direct in what they are thinking. “A thing that I recognized is that you see U.S. flags everywhere, and in Germany, you never see a Germany flag, just sometimes when it’s a soccer championship.” Aurelia also stated that she enjoys the weather here. Though it’s really hot, she prefers it over Germany’s 60-degree cold weather.

Her stay here has allowed her to create once-in-a-lifetime memories – Aurelia has been to San Diego with her host family and went to a concert. She has never seen an (American) football game in real life before, so “my first football game and first time as a cheerleader is definitely one of my favorite memories so far.” America has so far met her expectations, and she plans to stay in the U.S. until the end of this school year (summer of 2022).

“I already know that this exchange year will be one of the best years of my life. It is also a great experience for the host family because they also get to learn a new culture and family member.” Aurelia in the end wants to have many new experiences and improve her English. “It is like an adventure I can never have again.”