German exchange student joins PHS for a year

By Kathy Young - Smoke Signals Staff Writer

PIQUA — Lucia Vu, a German exchange student, was selected by her host parents, George and Christen Lunger, to spend a year here to have an experience of a lifetime. Vu has been on a few trips since being here such as going to Washington D.C., New York, Niagara Falls, Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Vu said her favorite trip thus far has been going to New York because it was so vastly different from anything she’s seen. She and the group she went with had an opportunity to go into the Rockefeller Center, and she said it was an, “experience I’ll never forget.”

Vu came to America in August of 2018 and will return to Germany at the end of May. While she has had an amazing trip so far, Vu said she misses her family and friends and is somewhat nervous to return home due to being unsure about what things may have changed since she had been gone.

For some, the idea of going to live in a new country where they speak a foreign language, sounds scary, but Vu has taken on this experience with excitement. She said the reality of it didn’t hit her until a couple days before she left, but she was happy to meet her host family again and start this new chapter of her life.

Vu said she doesn’t plan on ever living in America but would love to come back again and hopes to go on more exchange trips once she reaches college.

She said that after a while it just becomes home, and Vu has made friends of a lifetime here. She joined the softball team for the 2019 season and said that’s been her favorite thing she’s been a part of since being here.

Vu said the two biggest differences between America and Germany are the homework and the transportation. In Germany there are a lot of buses and public transportation unlike America where she said, “You need to rely on others for everything.”

She said her decided to come on this trip to try something new. Vu said she has become more outgoing over the course of this trip and feels as if she has gained more independence in herself since being here.

The idea of trying to plan for an entire year overseas sounds difficult, but Vu said that the process to get here was a fairly easy one. After applying, she was taken in for an interview; they tested her communication skills and asked questions about why she was best for this chance. After being interviewed, Vu wrote a letter which host families across America read. Once a host family chooses a student, it’s then just a formal process of being allowed in the country as well as being prepared for the year to come.

By Kathy Young

Smoke Signals Staff Writer