German exchange student’s travels bring him to BEAHS
He’s a real traveling man. And, he likes it that way.
Blue Earth Area exchange student Fabien Riegelsberger has only been in the U.S. since Aug. 8, but he has already seen a lot of the country and has plans to see a whole lot more of it.
“When I?got here in August I went to New York City,” he says. “Then I came to Minnesota.”
Riegelsberger, who is best known as the kicker on the Section Champion Blue Earth Area football team, is staying with Eugene and Vicki Boeckman of Elmore.
He is the 17th exchange student the Boeckmans have hosted, and they enjoy showing their visitors as much of the U.S. as they can.
In September they took Fabien to South Dakota and Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands.
Then in October he went on a trip to Boston and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. And in early November it was a trip to Toronto, Canada and Niagara Falls.
But, that is not all.
For Thanksgiving the Boeckmans and Fabien will be headed to Denver, Colorado. For Christmas they plan to head out to California and Nevada and visit places such as the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
And if that is not enough, Fabien is planning to go to Washington, D.C. with other exchange students later this year.
“I have always liked to travel,” the German student says. “In Europe we travel a lot. I have been to London, Paris, Rome and Munich and Berlin, of course.”
His family often goes on vacation to Italy, Austria (for skiing) and Stockholm, Sweden.
All of this and Fabien is still just 16 1/2 years old. He won’t turn 17 until April 2.
Fabien is from the town of Ingolstadt, Germany, about an hour away from Munich.
His father, Wolfgang, is an engineer with Audi. His mother, Elke, works at the University of Science and “helps women to start some things technical,” he explains.
His older sister, Julia, 19, attends that same university where his mother works. And, his younger brother, Luis, 7, is in second grade.
Fabien has known for some time that he wanted to be an exchange student and that the only country he wanted to go to was America, because, he says, it is such a great country.
“I first heard about it (being an exchange student) when I was in the eighth grade and I thought it would be interesting,” he says. “I went with my mom to a presentation by some German students who had done it and I thought it would be a cool idea to do that, to go to another country.”
Fabien is a junior at Blue Earth Area High School, and he would have been a junior in Germany as well. Now he will have to be a junior again this coming year when he is back home.
“My grades here do not really count there,” he says. “So I will do it (junior year) again, but that is OK, it is worth it.”
School is certainly different back home, he says. In Germany students take a wide range of subjects all through the year, and classes are only 45 minutes long. Plus, he stays with the same classmates all of the time, every hour every day.
The school hours are different each day, sometimes running from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. one day, and run 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. the next.
“I took 14 different classes (all year long) last year in Germany,” Fabien says. “Music, geography, English, math, Latin, physics, chemistry and many others.”
He says the difficulty of the classes is similar to those here at BEA, but the tests back in Germany are much harder. And, there is a lot more work completed by the students on their own in Germany.
Fabien is taking some difficult classes here at BEA, including physics, chemistry and engineering design.
“I like them, they are OK,” he says. “I already have some basic knowledge of them, because I have had the same work in Germany. So I?know what is going on (in class).”
And, besides the classwork, Fabien is planning on being active in sports. He already is well-known for his accurate kicking during the football season extra points, kickoffs and field goals but the six-foot-four German is also planning on going out for the Buccaneer boys basketball team this winter.
“In Germany I have played soccer since I was maybe four or five,” he says. “And I started playing tennis three years ago. But not much basketball.”
Sports are different back home, he adds. In Germany, as in many countries, sports are not part of the school activities.
“We have clubs and play soccer for like a town team,” he says. “And we only have like two practices a week, not everyday.”
However, they do play year around. If the weather gets too bad, in winter, they move indoors.
Fabien’s other favorite sport is downhill skiing, something he has done since he was three years old.
“I really like downhill skiing and snowboarding,” he says. “And we have such a wonderful opportunity because we are so close to the Alps.”
The well-traveled German student also admits that this year of being an exchange student in Minnesota is not his first time in the U.S.
“I actually went to Miami, Florida, three or four years ago with some friends,” he says. “But we didn’t do very much, just sit on the beach.”
So, with his current time in this country, Fabien Riegelsberger plans on doing a lot more traveling around and looking things over.
And, he is off to a good start.