homepage logo

German native experiences rural Minnesota

By Staff | Dec 8, 2013

I couldn’t believe how annoyed I was,” Sarah Dreisigacker explains.

The German foreign exchange student from Gerlingen is referring to her experience on Black Friday.

After she celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time, Tara Rauenhorst took Dreisigacker and Rauenhorst’s daughter Cassie to Mankato to get the best deals at Best Buy and Target.

“I just wanted to shop, but I couldn’t go two minutes without someone asking me if I needed help,” Dreisigacker says. “It was so busy, I have never seen anything like it before. Back home I can’t compare the experience to anything.”

Dreisigacker grew up in a large town with approximately 19,000 people. It wasn’t the amount of people that stunned her, though in Mankato. She couldn’t believe how crazy people would act just to save some money.

The German native first arrived in Minnesota thinking that the living conditions won’t be too different, but she soon found out that it would be a totally eye opening experience.

“When we picked her up we drove past the Mall of America and all of the glamor of the Twin Cities,” Joel Rauenhorst explained. “She was so excited even though she was exhausted from her trip, which got changed multiple times. We kept on driving south and all of a sudden she was asking us where all the buildings went. We went to pavement, to gravel and finished up on a dirt driveway.”

The Rauenhorst family has never had an exchange student before. Joel and Tara saw an ad in the church bulletin and wanted to try something new.

“We couldn’t be happier with our experience with Sarah so far,” Tara Rauenhorst says.

Dreisigacker initially flew into New York and took a bus to Boston. For two weeks she spent time with other foreign exchange students learning American ways in classes. They also discussed English and proper communication techniques, according to Dreisigacker.

In order to view the rest of the United States, the German native joined an exchange student group called,”Education First.”

Through the group she has visited Mount Rushmore and attended a national Catholic youth conference in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil stadium.

“That conference has probably been the most exciting thing I’ve done here,” Dreisigacker says. “It was so fun to have thousands of people under the same roof.”

In March she is scheduled to visit New York City, Washington D.C. and the California coast.

Dreisigacker keeps in close contact with her family back home.

“My family wants to know every detail about everything I do here,” Dreisigacker explains. “I Skype with my father every Saturday. I also keep in close contact with my brother.”

In Gerlingen she lives with her father, Michael, her grandmother, Anni, and her older brother, Benjamin, 22.

One of the best things about Blue Earth, according to Dreisigacker, is the friendly people. She enjoys going to school and participating in the school spirit.

“We do not have anything close to school spirit back home,” Dreisigacker says. “BEA has been great because of all the support that everybody receives, especially the sports teams. The school day is sometimes based off of school spirit. Mascots, school colors, pep fests are all foreign to me, but it is super fun to be a part of it.”

Dreisigacker is a part of choir and also played volleyball for the Buccaneers.

One of the biggest changes is the distance from school. Back in Germany the school she attends is 10 minutes away. In Blue Earth, it takes a half-mile drive down the Rauenhorst driveway and then an hour bus ride to BEA.

“I’ve gotten used to it, but I wish it wasn’t so dark in the morning,” Dreisigacker explains. “I really can’t complain about much, I have enjoyed my stay and look forward to the upcoming months.”German native experiences rural Minnesota