Kjersti Fried, Senior
Kjersti Fried, Senior
Most people would agree that letting a complete stranger live in your house is a bad idea, but my family is doing just that this year, and I would encourage others to give it a try as well.

Through the Youth For Understanding (YFU) program, our family has "adopted" Jonas Petzening, a 16-year-old from Berlin, Germany.

We made the decision to get an exchange student in the middle of August. His flight was scheduled to arrive Aug. 30, which only left us a couple weeks to get ready. It was a little hectic around the Fried household.

The big day arrived and we headed to La Crosse to pick him up. He came off the plane looking much more alert than we expected him to be after 20+ hours of traveling.

The first big adventure came in trying to find his luggage. Apparently, he hadn't seen it since his first stop in Hamburg. It found its way to Minnesota eventually and was sent to our house.

Having another person around the house has taken some getting used to. We've all had to make some adjustments.

Spring Grove is just a little bit smaller than downtown Berlin. He's been learning to deal with the lack of trains and subways while I've been coping with the smell of boy around the house and having to shuttle him to and fro.

So far this year has been a lot of fun. I've been learning about Germany and at the same time I've been learning more about myself.

Having an exchange student is a great opportunity. I would encourage everyone to give it a try.