Name: Sullivan (Sully) Whitehead
Host Country: Germany
Host District: 1940
Host Club: Herzberg/Elster
Sponsor Club: Granville
School: Granville High School
Hallo! My name is Sullivan Whitehead. I am from a small town that goes by the name Granville. It is just outside Newark. I am going on a long-term exchange to Germany. I will be spending a majority of my time in Brandenburg, Germany. More specifically, in the small town Schmerkendorf. I am doing this as a cultural exchange, so most of my schooling in Germany will not count as credits. When I get back I will be sophomore. While I’m on my exchange I hope to become fluent in the German language. I also would like to join a soccer team, because soccer is my favorite sport. Traveling through Germany and becoming enriched in its history and culture is a major goal of mine. I want to become involved in my local Rotary club as much as possible. Making new friends, and building strong relationships with my host families is somethings I am striving for. I am hoping for the best while I stay in Germany. Also special thanks to the district 6690 and everyone involved in the program for giving me this amazing opportunity.
I have been in Germany for a little over a month now. The time has gone by in a blink of an eye. I have enjoyed every single day up to now and am having a great time. I have fit well into my school and have made many friends. I also have fit right into my host family. I have joined my local soccer team. Playing soccer in Germany is a lot harder than playing in Ohio. I would like to thank you again!
The first fourteen days of October were pretty drawn out. School Monday through Friday, and soccer every Thursday. Then on the weekend, hang out with some friends from school. What started on the fifteenth to the end of the month was fall break. Since the summer break is shortened here they have a fall break for two weeks. During my fall break I traveled all through East Germany with my host family. I visited Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin, and Potsdam. All cities were very beautiful and had lots of history. My personal favorite city was Potsdam, because it reminded me of home in the U.S. the most. My understanding of the German language is very gradually becoming better and better. I think in four months I will be able to engage in most conversations. School is also going great. I have made solid relationships with people from my class and school. The month of October was a month I will remember and I’d like to thank you again for sponsoring me to go on this amazing journey.
I have now been abroad for three months. Over the course of the last month, I have been able to reflect on my life and the decisions I have made. I now know what I would like to improve on for myself. While doing this, I have been able to practice soccer daily. I would like to improve my soccer abilities so when I return I can make big impact on my school’s soccer team. Throughout my entire life, I have always disliked fruits and vegetables, but now I almost eat everything put in front of me. This is a big deal for me and my mother. Also, I was very shocked to see the results for the election. I’m not a supporter of either candidate, but waking up to see Donald Trump is our countries next president was surprising to say the least. Media and most people in Germany are very anti-Trump, so I’ve been asked many times how I feel about the situation. I have never and still don’t really have a clear-cut answer to the Trump winning questions. I just hope he does a good job and not anything that would jeopardize our country’s safety, because his success is our county’s success. I have really begun to notice that I can take part in more German conversations. This is very important to me because I would really like to become a good German speaker. Thank you for sponsoring me and giving me this great opportunity. This has been an excellent month and I can look forward to the rest of my exchange.
A lot has happened during the month of December. It first started off with myself and my rotary counselor going to the Leipzig Weihnachtsmarkt. Weihnachtsmarkts are markets that resemble Farmer’s Markets, but are for Christmas. Then soon after that I gave my presentation to my Rotary Club in Germany. It went well! Up until the 17th of December I had school, then was set free on Christmas break. Over break I spent lots of time with my friends and host family. I celebrated Christmas and it was very different. Christmas here lasts for three days. Finally on the 28th my aunt and uncle came to visit me. I showed them where I lived and home. Then they took me to Berlin and I stayed with them for New Years. It was awesome to see family for the first time in what feels like forever. We traveled around Berlin and celebrated New Years at the Brandenburg Gate. It was incredible. I know this is a time in which many exchange students feel homesick. I understand why, but thankfully I didn’t experience any of that. This month is something to remember! Thank you so much for sponsoring me and allowing me to make all these great memories!
The month of January has gone by the fastest compared to my other months so far in Germany. My German language skills have increased by a lot. I think that in the next one to two months I’ll be able to understand all German spoken or at least have an idea as to what’s going on. I’ve also been able to partake in a few indoor soccer tournaments with the team I play for. That was really cool and you learn a lot from the German play-style. Hopefully when I get back to the US I can play well for Granville’s soccer team. I’ve made many close relationships to friends from school. Before I could imagine going home, but know it’s something I don’t want to think about. The people in my class are great. Currently I am in Austria skiing with my rotary counselor. It is absolutely incredible. The mountains are very beautiful. Also the slopes are very nice. The Austrian people are very kind and generous. And the meat they serve is so tender and good. During this month I’ve been able to create goals for the rest of high school when I get back. I hope to fulfill them. January was a great month. I feel very integrated into the German culture. The rest of my exchange is something I look forward to.
The month of February has been a big change for me. I arrived from a ski trip with my rotary counselor in Austria the 2nd of February. Skiing in Austria could not have gone better. The food and scenery was incredible. On the 6th of February I changed host families. Now, I am with Familien Wehner. They have four kids, Konrad 16, Florentine 13, Max 10, and Klare 5. Konrad is currently on exchange in France so I’m living with Max, Flo, and Klare. I enjoy being with them and having host siblings. The father’s name is Martin and the mother’s name is Stephenie. They are both very kind people and have a good sarcastic sense of humor. So far, I’ve fit into the family very well by helping them and being social. I played in my first game of outdoor soccer since winter break. I played really well, even though I was unlucky enough to not score. I really enjoy practicing and playing with my team. In this month I also played in two Fußball tournaments, which is indoor soccer played with a smaller heavier ball. In both tournaments the team I played for finished in 1st place. This has been a very successful month for I have learned more about myself internally. I don’t know how long or if I would’ve if I hadn’t have gone on exchange. All of these wonderful memories and experiences could not be possible if it weren’t for the Granville Rotary Club. Thank you so much, I appreciated everything a lot.
The majority of the month of March was school on the weekdays, then helping with my host family on the weekends. I have settled in with my second host family completely. The first half of March was preparation for when my parents came the 27th. We stayed two nights in Berlin, then came to where I live in Germany for two nights. All together we met both of my host families the first night. Then the following night, we had dinner with my best best friend from Germany and my rotary counselor. Finally, the 31st my family and I left from Berlin to Prague. I am currently in Prague as I write this and the city is incredible. Thank you for allowing me to experience all of these incredible moments and memories that I will remember for the rest of my life.
During the last month I have been to Czech, Sweden, and France. It was by far the most busy month with travel. Starting from the 1st to the 4th I was in Prague with my Mom, Dad, and brother. Then from the 7th to the 13th I was visiting Filip in Gallivare, Sweden. That could not have gone any better and it was great to see a good friend. Then on the 14th I went to France with my host family to visit their son on exchange. That was great as I bonded with my host family. And now on the 30th I start my eurotour for the next 18 days. Everything has gone extremely well. I am getting closer and closer to my arrival date. Thank you for sponsoring me and allowing me to visit and experience all these wonderful places.