Most students feel lucky to visit a new country for a short vacation, but sophomore Konstantin Gottschalk has the opportunity to experience life in a new country for five months.
Gottschalk is from the outside of Munich, Germany and currently attends RHS as a part of the CCI Greenheart exchange program. He is here for the spring semester and is currently enrolled in pre-calculus, International Culture and Cuisines, Introduction to Engineering and Design (IED), English, National, State and Local Government (NSL), P.E., (basketball) and physics. Gottschalk is also on the RHS varsity boys volleyball team.
“I wanted to learn really good English, and I wanted to learn how it’s like to live in a different country,” Gottschalk said.
According to Gottschalk, the main difference between RHS and his school in Germany, Ammersee-Gymnasium, is the size and the order of the curriculum. At Ammersee-Gymnasium, there are fewer people in each grade, and grades five to 12 are all in one school. There are also differences in the material that they learn, and their day-to-day schedules.
“I like everything [here], it’s different and that’s what I like, it’s really nice to experience something new,” Gottschalk said.
Gottschalk is currently staying with the Young family, who has prior experience with CCI-Greenheart Program. They are also familiar with the RHS community, as they have six children who attend Wood MS and Flower Valley ES. The family has hosted students from Holland and Brazil through the program and has also hosted students from France and Spain through a shorter-term program Intercultural Friends Foundation (IFF).
“We will host students from anywhere. As we have a large family, hosting is a way to meet the world from home. We love to look at the globe and know friends from all around. As my kids get older, I plan for them to visit the former students,” host parent Tom Young said.
Gottschalk plans to stay in touch with his host family, as well as friends he has made at RHS, after he goes back to Germany.
“I am so pleased at how welcoming Rockville HS students and staff have been to all of my overseas students. I feel it is our little part to grow our global community,” Young said.