German students enjoy their stay in Waterloo

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German exchange student Louisa Frohwitter
is pictured with host “brother” Alec Helm of
Waterloo. Frohwitter stayed with the Helms
July 22-Aug. 5 before returning to Germany.
(Robyn Dexter photo)

Two students from Porta Westfalica, Germany traveled more than 4,500 miles to visit  Waterloo for a month.

Cousins Kayleigh Hoskens and Louisa Frohwitter spent their time here getting a taste of Monroe County life and a sampling of the St. Louis area as a whole.

They visited water parks and baseball stadiums and went shopping at a variety of different malls.

Kayleigh and Louisa have stayed with different families since July 8 and flew back to Germany on Tuesday.

Kayleigh said she loved her busy time here. She stayed with the Hart family and was with the Oliver family her last two weeks.

“I really liked going to Six Flags and just being (at the Olivers) to relax,” she said. “I also love shopping and visiting the restaurants.”

She was surprised at the variety of different places to eat in America, saying they only have McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King in Germany.

“Everything is bigger here,” she said.

Getting used to the time difference was Kayleigh’s biggest struggle, and she planned out times to talk to family members back home since there is a six-hour difference.

“When I’m awake, they go to bed,” she said with a laugh.

For Kayleigh’s last weekend in America, the Olivers planned

to go to Raging Rivers and to The Muny to see “Grease.”

Carol Oliver, Kayleigh’s host mom for the last two weeks, said having Kayleigh in their home was a lot of fun for the whole family.

“I think she’s getting worn out from being so busy,” Carol said. “But we’ve all had a lot of fun.”

The Olivers became a host family through their 16-year-old daughter, Krista, who took German in high school.

“I knew host families were needed, so I came home and asked my parents,” Krista said. “It just kind of went from there.”

Krista and Kayleigh talked for months online before meeting each other and found out they had a lot in common: a love of shopping, swimming and tanning.

“It helped for us to know more about each other beforehand,” Kayleigh said.

Louisa has stayed with three different families: the Probsts, the Steibels and her last two weeks with the Helms.

In her month here, she visited the Gateway Arch, went to Kansas City on a short vacation, and saw the zoo, Busch Stadium and many other places.

“I really liked the Arch because I like taking pictures,” she said. “I really like St. Louis as a city.”

Louisa echoed her cousin’s statement that everything here is bigger than in Germany.

“In Germany, the stores aren’t open on Sundays,” she said. “There are also a lot more churches here than at home.”

Louisa said the people here were very welcoming and friendly to her and her cousin.

“I think in Germany, people are more shy,” she said.

Staying with the Helms has been fun for Louisa, because she knew their son Alec from when he spent a month in Germany.

“It’s very different over there than it is here,” Alec said. “Everyone is more relaxed in Germany and they don’t rush through things.”

Alec said the biggest thing he’s learned from his family hosting exchange students and traveling abroad himself is that he can make good friends with people anywhere and always find things in common with them.

“You can always overcome language barriers,” he said.

The Helms have been hosting exchange students for two years.

“I’ve made friendships that I know will last for years, including this one with Louisa,” Alec said.

When Kayleigh and Louisa get home, they plan to go clubbing to celebrate Louisa’s birthday, which was last Monday.

“We have only two weeks left of holiday when we get back, so we’ll probably be with our friends and family relaxing,” Kayleigh said.

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