Janni Rumsfeld: From Germany To Lake Shore


Presley Saleh, Staff Writer

Since the beginning of the second semester, 14-year-old freshman, Janni Rumsfeld, has joined Lake Shore High School and all it has to offer as his own unique experience. Rumsfeld is from a city called Mainz (pronounced “mines”) in Germany.

This opportunity is very interesting, and people are bound to wonder how transferring schools, especially under these conditions, is possible. Even more so, some may wonder why anybody would do this; yet others would love to experience this favorable moment. 

Rumsfeld summarizes his program, explaining, “I talked to my parents and a lot of different organizations. I chose the International Experience organization because it just fit to my expectations. It kind of went slow; I filled out my application and stuff like that, and I had like the public schools program, it’s called, and they look for a host family for you and they determine which state you go to. I found out which state I was going to four weeks before I came here. And then, they look for a school and all that, and you can have different requests for different sports or states. You cannot request certain states like California or Florida.”

With that being said, once Lake Shore High School was chosen, he went on his way. Ninth grade in Germany is not that important when needing to graduate high school, so he wanted to take the opportunity while he was in ninth grade in order to focus on his higher curriculums when he is older. He arrived in Michigan on the 24th of January and began school on the 31st.

Some interesting answers came out of Rumsfeld when asked about shocking American morals and regular behaviors, which is interesting to hear from the eyes of someone who did not grow up here. 

When asked what he found shocking about America, was, “It’s a lot of fast food, like a lot of packaged foods where you just put water in it. In Germany, we have bigger lunches over dinners. Usually, we eat bread for dinner but on the weekends we have bigger meals.” 

Even more so, he explained, “Something shocking is, maybe like, drugs. Like vaping in school is pretty big, It’s just crazy because it’s not like that in Germany. And otherwise, it’s like maybe the fights and guns.”

Traveling from one country to another with very different cultures is bound to give you some culture shock, and for Rumsfeld, I’m sure the hilarious-yet-understandable shocks are something he still needs time to adjust to.

While enjoying his time in America, he has indulged in many sporting events with friends and even joined Lake Shore’s baseball team while the season was running. Rumsfeld explains, “I enjoy the sports. I played baseball here, just going to sports events with friends and playing sports even if it’s in a team or not, that’s what I like … It wasn’t too bad, I was pretty lost my first time, I didn’t know a lot of rules, but my organization told me to try out and I had fun.”

Even more so, when asked for one of his most memorable moments at the school, he replied, “Baseball games. We had one night game when it was pretty dark outside and it was a pretty close game and we won it at the end. I will remember that.” Sports are something Rumsfeld will miss the most from his time in America.

Rumsfeld also enjoys talking to other classmates about Germany versus America, and in any conversation under the sun, which was something he has really appreciated from students at the school. He adds, explaining something he likes about Lake Shore being, “The people that were open over here, the friends that talked to me, just the people that made me feel kind of like home and welcome.”

Being an exchange student is bound to be scary; you are away from your family in an entirely different country, a state you are not as familiar with, and a different culture of education while being in the arms of a caretaker with which you build a bond with. 

However, Rumsfeld has become a very iconic student at the high school; nearly everyone knows his name, people are always talking to him, and he is always smiling. Likewise, this is exactly what suits him, and it most likely allows for the most enjoyable time amongst his peers.

Throughout his time here, Rumsfeld has gained more insight into himself and American culture. 

Rumsfeld at Washington, D.C..

Rumsfeld says he benefits from this opportunity because, “My English gets much better, I think I learned a lot about myself and I think I’m more thankful for stuff back home because I’ve really missed it: like, my family and friends, that’s a big part of it, and also, just for my future, you know, I think it’s also good to be open for every job, like if I say I’ve been to America, that’s good for a job.”

When school ends on June 16th, Rumsfeld will reunite with his family and take a trip to New York City to explore America some more. He’s also been to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Ohio. Rumsfeld hopes to visit America again in the future, whether it’s for a job or just a visit to come back and say hello. Either way, the memories created with Rumsfeld will not be forgotten, as he has been an amazing addition to the freshman class of Lake Shore.