Irish welcome German exchange student

Wesjohann looks forward to experiencing American culture

From+left%2C+host+mother+Mrs.+Becky+Van+Rooy%2C+host+brother+and+junor+Fisher+Van+Rooy+host+sister+and+freshman+Anna+Van+Rooy%2C+exchange+student+Julia+Wesjohann+and+host+sister+and+freshman+Maggie+Van+Rooy+gather+in+the+Indianapolis+International+Airport+to+welcome+their+guest+from+Germany.

Photo submitted

From left, host mother Mrs. Becky Van Rooy, host brother and junor Fisher Van Rooy host sister and freshman Anna Van Rooy, exchange student Julia Wesjohann and host sister and freshman Maggie Van Rooy gather in the Indianapolis International Airport to welcome their guest from Germany.

Nick Bozzelli-Levine, Reporter

This semester, there’s a brand new member of the Hill.

As part of a multicultural exchange program, junior Julia Wesjohann is joining students here for the spring semester in order to enrich her language skills, make new friends and connections, and gain a much broader perspective of the world through her experience in the United States.

At the start of the semester, Wesjohann made the long journey to Indianapolis from her hometown of Visbek, Lower Saxony, in the northern part of Germany. “The flight was a little challenging because of all the (transfers) I had,” Wesjohann said.

However, communication with her host family, the Van Rooys, along with director of admissions Ms. Anna Taul, made the process much smoother and much easier. “I already knew my host family a little bit because I Facetimed with them and texted with them, so there weren’t that many surprises,” Wesjohann said.

I really enjoy all the different classes I have.”

— Julia Wesjohann

Wesjohann said that at first, adjusting to life on the Hill was a bit challenging, including that of meeting new people and figuring out classes. However, now she’s really liking her experience here. “I really enjoy the different classes I have. I (get to) take classes that I can’t take in Germany, for example, photography or sociology,” Wesjohann said.“I also enjoy meeting new people, I’ve already met so many nice people.”

In addition to academics, the Van Rooys are introducing Wesjohann to different parts of the country to provide a full experience of the varying cities, cultures and regions. “We will go to Chicago and I will see some more parts of the United States and in the spring we will go to Florida,” she said. “I also look forward to seeing different parts of Indianapolis.”

Wesjohann came here to the Hill not merely to attend challenging classes or to tour the States, but also to broaden her horizons, expand her understanding of the world, and become more independent. 

She said, “Spending a year abroad in the U.S. has always been one of my biggest dreams. Although I really like my school and my friends here in Germany, I believe this experience would be a great opportunity to meet new people, improve my English skills and become more independent and open-minded. I am really interested in attending Cathedral because it is a Catholic high school, like the one I am attending in Germany. Furthermore, I was really impressed by the variety of classes and sport clubs your school offers.”

With high hopes to meet even more people and improve her English skills even further, Wesjohann looks forward to her semester on the Hill and a heightened understanding of the world from the exchange program. 

“It’s a really nice experience,” Wesjohann said.