A German Exchange

By Cole Fraser ’21

During the spring term, I spent 66 days in northern Germany at Louisenlund. I can honestly say my exchange was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far and I’d do it again if given the chance. While there I visited the cities of Hamburg, Frankfurt, Köln and many other incredible places. Along with tourism I took part in school traditions, climbed up the world's tallest cathedral and learned so much about German culture, and myself.

The most challenging part of the whole experience was not being able to speak or understand German, it was immediately very difficult to make connections with people because I couldn’t relate to what they were saying. This forced me to find different was to connect with people, besides conversation. For example sports were a huge help because it gave me some common ground to work with. Interacting with people was easily the hardest aspect of my exchange, but also the most rewarding. Whether it was students I shared a house with, guys at the gym or vendors at the local market there was always something to learn, as well as opportunities to grow as a person.

The past two months have changed me immensely, and one skill I know I’ve improved is problem solving. The weekends at Louisenlund gave me the opportunity to really test my independence, by allowing me to venture alone to Hamburg. This time was invaluable because it gave me a sense of autonomy I’d never had before, because any problems that came up, I had to solve. For example, figuring out the city subway system, and not panicking (maybe a little) when I eventually got lost. My time on exchange has given me a renewed confidence that I plan to carry with me for the rest of my life.

Exchange was absolutely worth it and I would recommend to any LCS student to jump at the chance if given the opportunity. The lessons I’ve learned while I was there are invaluable and the fact that I got to experience it while in a beautiful country is just a magnificent bonus. Furthermore, if it arises I would highly suggest Louisenlund for your destination. It’s a small, tight-knit community on a campus much like Lakefield, I can honestly say that I immediately felt welcome and at home. My two pieces of advice if you decide to partake in an exchange, take every opportunity you’re given, and learn some of the language, it’ll make it ten times easier.
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Lakefield College School is a private, coeducational boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12, located in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada.

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