German Exchange Student At Lake Shore: More Than Meets The Eye

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Louis Wilke, a senior at Lake Shore High School, continuously roams the halls just like anyone else. Unbeknownst to most, he’s a mysterious German exchange student with so much more to offer than academics. 

Wilke is currently graduated in Germany, still unsure of what his future may hold and what career path he will walk upon after his exchange year is over. But for the time being, Wilke plans on enjoying the differences between German schools and Lake Shore High School. 

When traveling, the most focused aspect is the differences between culture, attitudes, and even design. He said, “My neighborhood here in the US, like every house looks the same, yeah, yeah, but in Germany, like the houses look different, some houses are big, small…they are all leveled…  and in Germany, they are very high.” Wilke explained that the largest difference was the architectural design of the houses, something Wilke made clear wasn’t the only major shock when coming to America. 

Wilke said German schools have strict dress codes such as only wearing jeans. Joggers, pajamas and hats aren’t allowed. Wilke said, “They are wearing pajamas, slides and Crocs at Lake Shore,” which shocked him because that’s something a student would get in trouble for in German schools.

Wilke said “I think back at home, that’s my family and friends, my real life. You know I don’t know anybody here.”  He was happier in Germany and compares being in America to being on somewhat of a vacation, but he is only here for school. 

Along with coming to Lake Shore, he gets to have experiences he wouldn’t back home. “We don’t have school events, prom we have like some schools celebrate like prom when you get your education and they celebrate it but not every school and we don’t really get schools that win football games we don’t have this.” 

Wilke enjoyed going to homecoming this year. He said, “It was cool to see and experience, but I can’t imagine something like that back in Germany.” 

Wilke said, “Here I see a lot of kids who like smoking in the bathrooms and in Germany you have extra, extra like places for smokers so they don’t do it in the bathrooms.” Most schools in Germany have spots outside that way the smokers can smoke, but no weed, only cigarettes and vapes when you are not a freshman but when you are in 10th grade.” 

Another shocking difference is the drinking age. Wilke explained that everyone usually starts at age 13-14. He said, “Real German parents don’t care like everyone starts at 13-14”.

All in all, the current adventure Wilke has bestowed upon himself is going just as good as he would expect. It can be known just by talking to Wilke for a couple of minutes that there’s more than meets the eye.