Florentina Vogelgsang berichtet von ihrem Aufenthalt in den USA:

To be honest, I’m pretty sure I’m not able to put this amazing experience into the right words. But let me give it a try.

I remember my mom told me in 2017 that she wanted to go to back to Miami for a few months with me. To give you a background on that, my parents lived in the United States for 8 years, both of my sisters spent most of their childhood there and I was born there. We moved back to Germany before I was two years old, so I didn’t really mind my Mom’s plan, I was curious to see where I come from. So on January 4th 2019 we boarded our flight to Miami and then my adventure started.

I started school on the following Tuesday. So, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls Catholic school. Yes, probably the biggest change I had so far. I remember reading the instructions in the uniform shop, the skirt one inch above the knee and not shorter, knee-high socks, shoes I didn’t even know existed and no make-up.

The school is completely different to our school in Germany, so you can imagine how confusing the first few days were. Block days, free periods, assembly, lockers and the ocean right in front of the school, almost like you know it from the movies.

We went to the bay during our free periods, lunch breaks and sometimes even for dance class. That was one of the really cool things, dance was an actual subject in school which we were graded in. I didn’t really have a problem with the fact that all classes were in English, of course subjects like science were a bit more difficult, because I didn’t know all the technical terms, but you get the gist of it pretty quickly.

History was also one of the good ones, we talked about Hitler and Nazi-Germany and my teacher always pronounced German words wrong and didn’t notice that she had an German exchange student sitting right in front of her, which was kind of amusing. It was also interesting what perspective Americans have on German history.

I think the most  confusing part in school was that all classes were based on laptops. I remember my first English class when my teacher said: “Can you please create a shared google doc and send it to me and your classmates and after that start the new presentation on google slides”. For me, someone who doesn’t work with laptops that often, it was pretty hard to follow.

Besides our normal schedule we had days like service day, where we had to help improve the environment or people in need. Congè was also one of the really fun days, all classes were cancelled and we had a big party in the assembly room. So if you hear people say Americans do crazy stuff, well, they’re not wrong. One thing I loved about Carrollton was that all the girls always had each other´s backs, it didn’t matter if you wore make-up or how you looked, no one was judged. But this didn’t just seem like that to me. Carrollton is actually known for that.

New school, new friends. No one is going to tell you that it will be easy, but it’s normal, different country, different culture, even when it comes to friendship. So I first kind of tried to get to know how the people work there. I didn’t really talk that much and tried my best to fit in. It was hard, I’m going to be honest about that, but eventually I found my people. I shadowed the schedule of an old friend of mine from kindergarten and yes, she is still as cool as she was 9 years ago.  I can now say I met the most amazing, caring and loving people I can gladly call my friends now. 

Enough about school, I also did a lot of fun things outside of school. Like Universal Studios in Orlando. My friends and me were there for four days, and they made it one of the most fun experiences ever. They made me ride every roller coaster in the park and I had to face all my fears of height. The entire day in the park, going to the pool at night, lots and lots of food and laughter until 3 am. These were really four days I’ll never forget. Besides that I also paid a visit to the Everglades, Florida Keys, Ocean Drive, every beach on Key Biscayne and almost every shopping mall in Miami.

At the weekends I usually went to a friend’s house for a big sleepover or we went to the beach. We also went to the movies not once but twice in one night. In between we had pizza, ice cream, sour patches, caramel popcorn and ice and went to the weirdest shops the mall had, we fell asleep during the second movie and got home at 1 am, but that was an awesome night.

On the 20th of March my adventure came to an end and we took our flight back to Germany. I’m glad I was able to get to know my place of birth so intensely and I got to work on my ability to speak English, which will hopefully give me some advantage in the future. Without any doubts I would do this again any time.

Miami, you own a piece of my heart now.

Florentina Vogelgsang, 9d