German students savor taste of American life (video)
To become a host, contact Texas German Exchange coordinator Sabrina Steelman at 361-935-5663.
The size and number of trucks in Texas left an impression on Leon Hering, a student from the town of Westerburg, Germany.
Leon, 15, was one of 14 German high school sophomores hosted by Victoria families while they attended Victoria high schools for about two weeks.
"They (the trucks) are bigger than the ones that we have in Germany," Leon said. "I felt, 'Oh my God, what is this?' It was pretty impressive."
During the visit, the students went on several field trips, including to the Governor's Mansion in Austin, the outlet malls in San Marcos, Port Aransas' beach and San Antonio's Fiesta Texas.
The group was led by Konrad-Adenauer-Gymnasium English and history teacher Axel Spiekermann, 39.
Spiekermann said he was happy to bring two more students than he did last year.
"We're so thankful for all the families that have hosted our students in their homes, which makes their visit possible," Spiekermann said. "It's the only way we can keep the program going."
There are stark differences in the German and American school systems, said Konrad-Adenauer-Gymnasium sophomore Pauline Guempel.
"We have a split school system that's very competitive," said Pauline, 16. "We don't have football or school sports; those are done as a community."
During their trip to Austin, University of Texas freshman Josh Bednorz, whose family has hosted German families for the past two years, gave the students a campus tour in their native tongue, said Sabrina Steelman, the Texas German Exchange coordinator.
In previous years, Janet Killebrew, a former Victoria school district German and Spanish teacher, coordinated the program.
"It gives those students an opportunity to travel aboard and see what different cultures are like," Steelman said. "We've been able to build nice friendships with the students who come."
One of the several aspects of American life the German students said they will miss is the quality of fast food compared to Germany's fast food staples.
"It tastes so much better here," Pauline said.