Learning American — 6/18/2011

Loading gallery...
  • 110618_LauraLang07_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang said goodbye to her host brother Nick Ackerman, 18, after saying goodbye to her host mother, Andrea, right, and host father, Brian, at Louisville International Airport on June 3. She grew to be part of the family, Brian said about Laura. You dont know how much youre going to miss them until theyre gone. Laura lived with the Ackermans for eight months. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang10_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang of Freiburg, Germany, 16, left, was greeted at Louisville International Airport by her welcome family, the Verkamps of Ireland, on Aug. 9. The family includes Johnny, 11, John, Lori, Alex, 16, and Elizabeth, 13, not pictured. Laura lived with the Verkamps from August to October, when she moved in with her permanent host family, Brian and Andrea Ackerman of Ireland. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang08_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Eleven days after arriving in the United States, Laura Lang entered Jasper High School as a junior Aug. 20. When school starts, there is no mercy, Matt Hilger of Jasper, the local coordinator for the Jasper and Germany exchange program, said about the German-English language barrier. Laura said she didnt understand anything and felt stupid the first day of school, but after she became comfortable with the language, school became easy for her. The school year in Jasper will not count toward Lauras high school graduation in Germany, and she had completed only her freshman year in high school before becoming a foreign exchange student; she will have to complete three more years of school to graduate. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang12_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura showed the Ackermans dog, Belle, to her grandfather Gerald Lang and her sister, Lisa Lang, while video chatting with them via Skype on Oct. 29. Laura made time to Skype with her family two or three times a week and emailed them daily. I learned to appreciate my mom and dad a lot more since I missed them so much, she said. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang04_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang, left, and fellow German exchange student Franziska Menzel of Wolfsburg competed for the ball during soccer practice Sept. 9 at Jasper High School. Laura joined the soccer team when she arrived in Jasper but said she prefers playing soccer in Germany because it is more aggressive. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang09_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    German exchange student Franziska Menzel of Wolfsburg, left, helped Laura make German pumpkin bread for Lauras 16th birthday Aug. 19 at the Ireland home of Lauras welcome family, Lori and John Verkamp. Elizabeth Verkamp, 13, watched as they tried to cut the bread that had a very hard crust but was soft inside. Laura lived with the Verkamps from August to October, when she moved in with her permanent host family, Brian and Andrea Ackerman of Ireland. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang13_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura helped decorate the Christmas tree with her host brothers, Nick Ackerman, 18, center, and Luke, 14, and host sister, Kristen, 17, on Nov. 28. Looks really good, Laura said after the tree was decorated. Different but good. In Germany, Laura said, Christmas trees are decorated with candles. While Laura time lived with the Ackermans, she developed a strong brother-sister relationship with Luke as they joked around and picked on each other. Im not homesick here in this house. I feel like Im part of the family, Laura said. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang02_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang created a scrapbook highlighting each month she spent in the United States. The December page included a photo of her and her host sister, Kristen Ackerman, 17, when they went sledding as well as reminders of Christmas and winter break. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang11_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang joked that her German friends think Americans are overweight and dumb while she talked on WITZ radio with Patti Goepfrich, secretary of the Sister Cities of Jasper board of directors, and radio host Gary Lee on Feb. 8. Laura said she will tell her friends they are wrong. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang03_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang, Jake Oeding, center, 17, and Alex Hilger, 17, joked with each other while spending time at Dairy Queen, one of Lauras favorite places in Jasper, on Oct. 7. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang01_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang showed her prom dress and flowers to her host grandmother, Verna Lee Moeller of Jasper, after having pictures taken at the Ackermans home April 30. In Germany, Laura said, there are no school events like prom and she had never owned a dress like her prom dress. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang05_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Laura Lang consulted her mother, Brigitte Lang, via a Skype video connection June 2 about how to fit all of her belongings in her overflowing suitcase. Laura arrived with two bags but ended up leaving with four and a $400 baggage fee at the airport. Krista Schinagl/The Herald

  • 110618_LauraLang06_KS.jpg
    Show Captions

    Lydia Fleck, 16, left, and Braelyn Wibbels, 17, both of Jasper, stopped by the Ackermans home to say goodbye to Laura before she headed to the airport June 3. I dont know what Im going to do without you guys, Laura said to them. Krista Schinagl/The Herald