By: Joshua Sampson, Staff Writer
Tabea Faulhaber is from Heilsbronn, Germany, a little town located in the district of Bavaria.The 15-year-old German exchange student arrived in the United States with the hopes of learning about culture and expanding her English vocabulary. “I came here at the personal invitation of the Seaver family to live with them for nearly six weeks, which is the extent of my summer vacation from school,” she said. “My mom was their youngest daughter’s kindergarten principal when they lived in Germany. That’s how they got to know my family.”
Faulhaber arrived on Aug., 2 and will remain with the Seaver family until Sept., 10.She has spent her time in the United States vacationing near Lake Charlevoix, Walloon Lake, Petoskey and Torch Lake.In her travels, she said she has found America to be unlike Germany in many ways. “I find the American people to be very friendly, which is quite different from Germany,” she said. “We have been taking many long trips with the car. This is also not very usual in Germany.”
Each year approximately 30,000 exchange students come to the United States for a year of high school. Students in foreign exchange programs are expected to study abroad and to learn about other countries by living in the country as opposed to learning about it in a text book.Faulhaber is no exception, though she has been studying the culture instead of the courses. “I just finished my ninth grade year at Markgraf-Georg-Friedrich Realschule (junior high),” Faulhaber said. “I have one more year to go before I graduate in 2012. After graduation it’s time for me to find a job, perhaps an office position or in a bank.”
For now, however, she has been in the U. S. enjoying her stay even though she feels it has been brief.“We’ve already been to see a Detroit Tigers’ baseball game,” she said. “Then we did a little tourism in Northern Michigan, crossed the Mackinaw Bridge, visited the Mystery Spot and climbed Castle Rock in St. Ignace.”The Seavers also took her to visit the Outlet Mall in Birch Run and the Polka Festival in Frankenmuth, which she said she enjoyed very much.
“I’ve always read and heard about the United States in the news and now I am proud to visit this big country,” she said. “I am very glad to visit your town. My main intention is to see how it is to live in another country and culture.”
Faulhaber said it is too difficult to pick her favorite part of her visit to America but she did say her trip has been an amazing one.
“The whole experience so far has exceeded my expectations,” she said.