German exchange student gets to know SHS

It’s only the beginning of the school year, and already there are some new faces at SHS for the 2010 school year. Eric Simon is one of those new faces. Eric’s hometown is Doebeln, which is east of Berlin, Germany. Eric is here in Salem as a foreign exchange student and is considered a junior by our standards.

Eric said, “I didn’t really know what to expect; I didn’t really want a small, little town like Salem, but I wasn’t expecting a big place like New York either.” Eric is still very excited and happy to be here to, “learn about the American way of life and gain experience,” his major goal while here. It was also his reason for being a foreign exchange student in the first place.

Eric said, “I’d like to visit the Rockies, Miami or maybe Seattle.” These are place we hear about in the US everyday, but to Eric they are the ultimate. “My parents support me traveling, and with the company I’m sponsored with I can call them twice a week.”

The company Eric is talking about would be Aspect Foundation, the organization that transferred him to the US as an exchange student. There are certain rules that Eric must abide by while he is in the States, such as no drugs or alcohol and no driving. Eric must maintain a certain GPA (no D’s), and he is supposed to refrain from any “personal,” relationships. Will his travels influence a possible career choice he had in mind? Eric said “No…not really. I want to be an aviator.”

Back home for entertainment, Eric likes to play the piano, fly glider planes (it’s a plane without an engine, so to speak.), and play floorball. What’s floorball? “It’s a team sport similar to hockey without the ice. You play in a gym,” Eric said. When he looked up the sport, a picture came up where it looked like the person had a hockey stick and what look like a whiffle ball in place of a puck, and, sure enough, they were in a gym. “The sport isn’t very popular in the United States,” Eric said.

Eric said one of the most interesting things he had done here so far was attend a home football game here at Salem. Doug Scovill, a member of his host family, had to explain to Eric how the game worked. When his classes were mentioned, Eric said that they were challenging because of the language barrier, but when it came down to the actual subjects being taught they were easy. “I’ve already taken a few of my classes here back at home,” he said.  Eric will definitely be heading home with a new understanding of the American lifestyle, and we hope he enjoys his stay in Salem.

– Brittany Campbell, Staff Writer

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