German exchange student adjusts to South Florida

Bree Ann Camacho, Staff Writer

After longing for a chance to experience what it would be like to live with a new culture, school, and even family, sophomore Marie Pfannenstiel left Germany on January 21 to become an exchange student at Palmetto for a semester.

“When the opportunity to participate in this program came I really wanted to do it,” Pfannenstiel said.

Pfannenstiel’s friends and family threw her farewell party the day before her departure.

“I wouldn’t see all my friends and family for half a year,” Pfannenstiel said. “But when I arrived at the airport I was excited.”

Her plane touched down in Miami after about an eleven-hour flight. As a first-time visitor to the United States, Pfannenstiel noticed major differences such as the weather, language, architecture, laws and even the people themselves. For example, the drinking age is 16 in Germany while it is twenty-one in the United States.  In addition, the driving age is 17 in Germany and 16 in Florida.

“It looks different in Germany. It’s also much colder,” Pfannenstiel said. “And the people here are much more open to others.”

One thing that Pfannenstiel found she can relate to in Miami is the music.

“The music in Germany is not that different,” Pfannenstiel said. “We listen to the same rave, like Deadmau5.”

Pfannenstiel stays with a host family, which includes two daughters and one son all in their early twenties. The young adults are usually busy, but Pfannenstiel gets along with them.

English was a difficult language for Pfannenstiel to learn, but after eight years of studying in school she finally learned how to read, write and speak English almost perfectly.

“Somehow I knew I would need the knowledge of the language someday,” Pfannenstiel said.

Now comfortable in South Florida, Pfannenstiel likes to spend time with friends at different malls and to work on her tan at Miami Beach. Back in Germany Pfannenstiel enjoyed a couple of hobbies including dancing and singing. She went to hip-hop class and singing lessons three times a week. Pfannenstiel started a hip-hop class in Miami at Dance Empire.

“All in all I really like it here,” Pfannenstiel said. “I hope I’ll have a great time with great people and have a lot of experiences.”

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