Ulricianer abroad [13/x]: Natascha enjoys New Hampshire enormously
My name is Natascha, and I am currently living in Atkinson, New Hampshire. It’s a small town in the northeast of America. I have already spent the past seven months here and I have only three left. New Hampshire has a really long and cold winter, a hot summer and a beautiful fall. The landscape is the opposite of the flat Eastfrisian one. There are lots of hills and mountains. That makes skiing a big sport here. It seems like the people learned skiing before they started to walk.
I go to a school called ‘Timberlane Regional High School’ with about 1,200 people from 9th to 12th grade. Going to school in America is definitely a lot different than going to school in Germany. Instead of big exams they have regular quiz and tests, which are graded as a percent and letters. In general the school is a lot easier and actually more fun because the classes are shorter and most teachers are relaxed.
Another big thing here is sports. Many kids do in school sports or sports outside of school like dance or karate. It is really intensive and you usually practice five to six days a week for at least two hours. The school divides their sports into fall, winter and spring sports. Before you want to participate, you have to try-out for the team. Try-outs show how good people are and whether people are Varsity or Junior Varsity. When I came here I was too late for fall try-outs and the only sport left was Cross Country, which is just running. Although I am not a good runner I joined the team and I didn’t regret it. In every sport you have games or races against other schools and before every big game or race you have ‘pasta parties’ at someone’s house, where you eat pasta and other food to get carbs before the big game. Sports are one of the best things to do if you want to find friends. You meet a lot of new people, which may give you a good.
After the Cross Country season I did basketball in the winter and it was also really hard but also fun. Sometimes you have certain themes for games like our ‘Alzheimer Awareness Night’. We made tie dyed shirts and posters, and we wore purple headbands, shoelaces and socks.
During vacation I went down to New York (about a four hour drive) and Boston (about 45 minutes) and did many fun things. I also went to the mountains in New Hampshire. There are a lot of places to ski in the winter. There are also a lot of mountains to hike so you can see the beautiful leaves changing their color during fall.
The people here are really nice and open-minded. You can talk to everyone. They are usually interested in foreign people and ask a lot of questions, sometimes really funny ones like ‘Do you hang cucumbers on your Christmas trees?’ or ‘Have you ever tried Pizza or Hamburgers?’
America is a wonderful country, not just the idea of the American Dream but the culture, the people that live here and the nature is so much more multifaceted.
I don’t regret to have chosen this country. My goals when I came here were to get new impressions of American culture, make new friends and of course to improve my English. Although there are things that are really difficult to get used to I can’t complain much. It’s something really different to live here and live the American culture than to travel here for vacation and just see the surface of America. Of course coming here during vacation is fun but if you ever have a chance to live with an American family and to go to school here I would never reject this chance.