WHS hosts German students

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After two family trips to the United States, Julius Michaelis wanted to return as a short-term exchange student. The German teenager got online and looked at cities he could visit on various programs. That’s how he found Woodland.

Taking a break recently from his metal shop class at Woodland High School, the 16-year-old said it was a good choice.

“It’s very different from Germany,” he said, smiling. “Actually, I don’t want to leave.”

Julius is one of three German exchange students who have spent three weeks staying with local host families and attending WHS. They joined two other international students who are on yearlong exchanges from Norway and Chile.

“I love having exchange students here,” said WHS principal John Shoup, who is hosting the Norwegian student. “It creates some positive opportunities for our kids in Woodland. I’ve watched these kids offer a totally different perspective on events.”

Both Julius and fellow exchange student Loreen Kaminski, also 16, said they were surprised by the relaxed atmosphere they found in this American high school. German schools, Julius explained, are “more strict.”

“The people are very, very friendly,” Loreen said of WHS, “and they work with me.”

She added that she thinks her time in Woodland has changed her.

“I might be more friendly and open to new people,” she said.

Having international students at WHS is simply part of the school’s culture, said principal Shoup.

“We create lifelong friends from all over the world,” he said.