Trip to Germany opens her eyes

DOWNEY - Entschuldigung was the word that Warren senior Brittney Dreher had the hardest time learning during the first few weeks of her six-month stay in Germany as a foreign exchange student.Dreher returned to her home in Downey on Jan. 8. After traveling through the Youth For Understanding (YFU) program. "I would recommend the program to anyone-everyone," Dreher said. "I think people our age should go out and see more of the world to gain more perspective of life. The world is so much bigger than Downey (and) than Warren." During her first month in Germany, Dreher stayed with a host family in a house in the country, or as she said, "In the middle of nowhere," sharing the home with other exchange students from around the world were there. "The first month was my best month," Dreher said. "It was so much fun." Dreher was able to experience a new country with other teenagers her age during this month. They learned the language, culture and history of Germany, as well as having other fun moments like eating ice cream. After that first month was over, Dreher went to stay with another host family in Hamburg where she went to school with her host sister Gaja Zogt, 15. All of her classes were lectured entirely in German. Since Dreher didn't know a word of German before her trip, the classes were difficult. In Germany, students take many more classes than in America. Dreher took English, Religion, French, History, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math, Geography, four art classes and German, but not all in the same day, of course. Each of her classes would meet either once or twice a week for about two hours. Dreher also experienced German theater and music. Her other host sister, Sonka Zogt is an aspiring actress attending an acting university in Hamburg. Dreher attended all of her plays with her host family. Gaja Zogt also introduced Dreher to a number of German bands that she currently enjoys, including Die ?Ñrzte, Zwei Raumwohnung and Peter Fox. From wienerschnizles to currywurst, Dreher fell in love with the German food. She said that her host family ate a lot of sandwiches and would only eat hot meals on the weekends. Dreher plans to keep in close contact with her host family and her other friends that she met during her stay. "I'll keep in touch with them via e-mail and phone," said Dreher. "I'll be mailing them presents for Christmas." A simple school announcement was what prompted Dreher to attend the informational meeting for YFU, which was held on Warren's campus last year. "When I told my mom about the meeting she said, 'Get out of the house and tour the world,'" said Dreher. What Dreher referred to as a split-second decision did have a little bit of history to it. Dreher's grandfather housed a foreign exchange student seven years ago and Dreher formed a relationship with the girl, Swenka. "I thought it would be cool to go see my host family every once and a while and they could see me," said Dreher. Gaja Zogt will be coming to visit Dreher next year, this time she being the foreign exchange student. ********** Published: January 30, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 41

FeaturesEric Pierce