Senior from Germany returns for his second year

Glad to be back, de Boer says


Photo submitted

Senior Tim de Boer spent six weeks of his summer back home in his native Germany seeing some of the sites and visiting tourist attractions.

Anna Pohl, Co-Editor-in-Chief

For the second time, senior Tim de Boer left behind his hometown of Breit, Germany to attend high school in Indianapolis. However, he gave up more than the village he calls home. He also left his 15-year-old brother Mike, his mother and father, Kassandra and Francesca, his two cats and “the drinking age.” de Boer said.

Although he sacrificed much, de Boer is glad he has returned to the United States for his second year as an exchange student. When de Boer was a child, he learned about study abroad programs from a children’s show, he said. “At this time I loved America,” de Boer said, and since then he has considered studying in the United States. Although his initial interest was sparked more by curiosity and fantasy than realistic planning, de Boer said there are practical reasons he chose to student in America for two years.

“Not only because the experience was already so good there (the first year), but also because it sounds very good on my resume,” de Boer said. “Germany and America are both good countries to study in,” he said, and both look good to colleges and prospective employers.”

In America, de Boer chose to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma candidate. The IB program allows students to transfer credits to schools around the world, similar to the Advanced Placement (AP) system but on an international level. “I wanted all of my choices open for later, so I wanted to do IB so I would have choices for later,” de Boer said. Since he is in IB, de Boer has the option of attending college in America or, as he is currently planning, in the Netherlands.

If he does choose a European university over a continuation of his American education, de Boer will leave behind the customs and cultures he has learned to love. When he thinks of America, de Boer said “I think of the people.”

“They’re very open to new things, and other cultures, and other ideas,” de Boer said of American hospitality. “They invite you to their houses, (but) in Germany they wouldn’t do this,” he said. He said the welcoming nature of Americans has shaped a culture which once attracted him as a child and continues to earn his love.

The American food experience is one which differs from that of the German experience de Boer is used to, he said. “American food is more oriented for America, and German food is more oriented for Europe,” he said.

Germany offers primarily German foods, but also includes some French, Swiss, Austrian, or Italian options. American food, however, has more variety, from Mexican to Brazilian to Italian to German. The United States is also home to the item de Boer would most like to introduce to Germany: Poptarts.

During his international education, de Boer has learned more than the English language. The experience has also offered him opportunities to grow personally. He learned to adjust to new cultures, new environments, new families structures, and new opinions, he said. “If you’re going home you have your family, you have a boundary of your family. You are allowed to do what you want to do because you are yourself,” he said. “Sometimes this is hard if you are an exchange student.”

Leaving Germany the second time was more difficult than the first, de Boer said, because during his summer break he once again grew used to his own family, child- hood friends, and culture. “When I got used to it, I had to leave again. I had to know that I would see my friends, family and country again in a year,” he said.

However, he still had his American experience to look forward to, and to that, he is grateful. He is appreciative towards all the families and individuals who have helped him have such a positive growth and educational experience.“Thank you to my host families,” de Boer said. “I am very thankful.”