A New Journey: Welcoming Lily and Yvonne


Maddy Summers (Senior), Editor

Just like last year, Lebanon High School is welcoming foreign exchange students to study at our school. After a conversation with Lily Gierden and Yvonne Joachimsmeyer, they both talked about their hometown, and once in a lifetime experience here in the states so far.

Both students had to undergo a huge change culturally and adapt to a new lifestyle, society, and education system. But while reflecting back on their time at home before committing to staying here for a year, they explain what it was like in their home country.

“I’m from Halfing, Germany and it’s very small. Only 3,000 people live there, which also means that it’s not a crazy exciting place to be in, except for the fact that we’re surrounded by beautiful nature and many forests,” said junior Yvonne Joachimsmeyer.

“I’m from Martinique, France which is a Caribbean island, so it’s summer all the time. I like to go out and ride my horses, I have three of them and one donkey,” said junior Lily Gierden.

In school, they didn’t have as many opportunities as Americans typically do. This involves classes, sports, clubs, and overall choice of education for future purposes are done completely differently in their countries.

“After fourth grade we have to choose between numerous types of schools which sets the bar for the level of difficulty. I chose the ‘best’ school which is called a ‘gymnasium’. We also barely get to choose the classes we get to take. Germany has almost no assignments and especially no homework gets graded, which means that your grades are very dependent on your own effort and self-discipline since there is no pressure to get your work done,” said Joachimsmeyer.

“School is mainly preparation for a future job. There’s also no football, cheerleading, or any other sport available to do at the actual school. We have clubs sometimes, like I do gymnastics and circus, but we don’t have any teams for sports. A usual school day starts at 7am and goes until 6pm, and sometimes we have it on Saturday mornings,” said Gierden.

They’ve been here a few months, but have already begun making memories, seeing new places, and meeting new people.

“Experiencing the football games and color guard competitions with the whole team is definitely one of the most memorable things. Along with the relationship that I built with my host family. Of course I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m so glad that I decided to come here,” said Joachimsmeyer.

“It’s cool here. I had my first football game, and I’m a cheerleader. I also visited New York City before I came. The people here are also very friendly,” said Gierden.

For different reasons they decided to study in the states to fulfill their dreams, or grow as people.

“For many years America has been fascinating to me. About one and a half years ago I started watching youtube videos of former exchange students and fell in love with the idea of going abroad myself,” said Joachimsmeyer.

“It’s what you see in the movies, but I didn’t choose Indiana,” said Gierden.