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EHS: Student adapts to changes offered through exchange program

Lara Auer is adapting to the changes life in Ellsworth has brought to her during her stay as a foreign exchange student. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia

Learning a new culture, new school system, new rules and doing so without knowing anyone else to start the school year is what 11 foreign exchange students are doing this year at Ellsworth High School.

Lara-Carolin Auer from Frankfurt, Germany is spending six months away from her family as she experiences life in Ellsworth as a sophomore.

Auer said she really misses her friends and family, but is enjoying time with her Ellsworth host family.

"I have an older sister here in America," Auer said. "My parents are both retired so we have a lot of family time. We do a lot of cool things together."

While she is getting along well with her host family, life in America is different than what she is used to and Auer is learning to adapt to the changes.

She said that in Ellsworth everyone knows each other which isn't the case in her hometown of Frankfurt which has a population of 800,000 people.

"It is really different," Auer said. "[In Germany] everything is close together and between every house is a fence. We have subways and buses."

The food is also one of the differences Auer is experiencing. While she does not have her favorite foods of Schnitzel and Currywurst from back home she has found many other foods she enjoys.

"You have Taco Bell and Applebees, the food tastes very good," Auer said. "And I like the burgers here."

Auer based her decision to come to the United States on what others said it was like to come here.

"Many people who were here [in United States] before, told me that the Americans are very nice, kind and open," Auer said. "That's true."

Some other differences Auer noted between Frankfurt and Ellsworth are the driving age, drinking age, and transportation options.

"We're allowed to drive at 18 and drink at 16," Auer said about her life in Germany. "Everyone has a truck here, in Germany not. Everything is closer together in Germany."

Auer said in Germany there is more use of public transportation to get around, not like Ellsworth where people have their own vehicles to drive places.

Even while experiencing these new changes, Auer has not changed what is important to her.

"The most important thing [in life]," Auer said, "is family, peace and happiness."