Pia Lurken arrived in Lee’s Summit Sunday afternoon with the other 22 exchange students from Germany.
Senior Ella Leslie is hosting Lurken for the week and a half she will be in Lee’s Summit.
“I thought it would be fun to learn about other cultures and see what [Lurken] thought of America and learn what other people in other countries think of Americans,” said Leslie.
Since Lurken’s arrival in Missouri, she has attended school with Leslie, following her from class to class. She said West is “really cool,” except for Leslie’s Spanish V class, where she was a little lost. Lurken also said West is much bigger than her school in Germany, where there is a total of 800 students in grades fifth through twelfth. Also unlike West, in Lurken’s school the students stay in one classroom, and the teachers move from class to class. The atmosphere in school is much different as well.
“In Germany the teachers are really strict, and here it’s more relaxed,” said Lurken.
This week, the German exchange students will be kept busy with activities planned by the German teachers, such as attending a baseb
all game, going to North’s homecoming parade, game and dance, and visiting Crown Center and Deanna Rose Farmstead. Leslie will also be taking Lurken to Worlds of Fun over the weekend.
Prior to arriving in Lee’s Summit, the German students spent three days in Washington D.C.
“We visited the White House and all the monuments,” said Lurken. “I think we visited everything.”
Lurken said she is very excited to be in America because she has seen many portrayals of the United States on television, and “it’s so fantastic.”
Before actually arriving in the country, Lurken had expectations for what American life was all about.
“Before, I thought that everyone was fat and ate McDonalds and that they drive with cars everywhere,” said Lurken. “When I think of America I always think of Starbucks and Hollywood.”
Now, Lurken has seen that everything she thought about America isn’t always true, particularly about everybody being fat.
Lurken said, “The McDonalds stereotype is always false.”
By Claudia Guthrie