A New Face in the WHS Crowd: Carolin Diekmann

Walking through the halls of Westborough High School, you may pass some unfamiliar faces. In fact, some may be complete strangers whom you have never seen before. However, a majority of these students have something in common: they live in Westborough and have been through the Westborough school system, whether it has been for one year or since kindergarten. This is not the case for Carolin Diekmann, a German exchange student attending Westborough High for the 2009-2010 year. Arriving on August 20th, it is no surprise that the first couple months living in Westborough have been a whirlwind for Carolin.

Carolin came to America through an exchange program. She first learned about the opportunity through a friend who had been on an exchange. Her friend shared what a great experience it was for her, which in turn motivated Carolin to register for an exchange. She first wanted to go to Australia; however, she signed up too late. The U.S. was her second choice. Now that she is contently living in Westborough, Carolin says that she is happy she did not miss her opportunity to come here. Loving the friendly environment, open people, and the High School, Carolin has no complaints or regrets.

In America, Carolin’s greatest challenge has been the language transition and completely foreign school system. She explains how in Germany, she excelled in her English class because her teacher “talked much slower and had a German accent.” Coming here, she was in for a shock when she realized how fast Americans speak. Carolin is determined to understand and improve in the English language. As a matter of fact, she didn’t hesitate to pull out her German-English pocket dictionary during our interview.

Second to the transition of language is attending Westborough High School. Carolin explains how it is so different from school in Germany. The only similarity between school in America and Carolin’s school back in Germany is the length of the school day. Otherwise, walking from one classroom to the next, lunch, and after-school activities have all been a drastic change. In Germany, the class remains in the classroom, while it is the teachers who travel to their next class. In Germany, there are no after-school activities. All sports and clubs are run through programs outside of the school system. And yet, even with these differences, Carolin loves coming to high school everyday and continues to adjust to the new school system.

Born September 25th, Carolin grew up in Bochum, in the west part of Germany. She lives with her mom, dad, and older sister. She also explains how home life in Germany is different from living with her host family in Westborough. In Germany, she spends a lot more time with her family than she does with her host family. She laughs about how busy everyone seems to be here, and how her schedule in Germany is more fixed. Carolin then notes that in Germany it is more common for people to live in apartments and neighborhoods which are closer together.

Interested in her social life in Germany, I asked Carolin what she did for fun with her friends. Similar to American teenagers, she told me she spends time at the cinema, a friend’s house, or a sporting event.

Though Carolin misses her family and friends back in Germany, she has grown to love America. She says if she had the choice to participate in an exchange program again, she would certainly do it. Through all the confusion at a new school, you will still see Carolin walking through the halls as a typical student with a wide smile across her face. So stop and say “hi”, she would love to meet you.