Every year Harrison hosts a diverse group of exchange students from all over the globe.
This year, Leon Hilcken is here on an exchange from Germany.
“I am going to stay here for 10 months from August 2015 to June 2016,” says Hilcken.
Hilcken’s parents offered his twin brother and him to do a year abroad, and his twin brother chose to go on an exchange to Michigan while Hilcken came here to Indiana.
Hilcken says that his English language skills have progressed and improved from when he first arrived in America.
“I knew how to communicate and understood everything, I just had problems with speaking intuitively,” says Hilcken.
Hilcken can also speak German and French.
Home sickness has not quite kicked in yet for Hilcken, he tries to Skype with his parents as often as he can and stays in touch with his friends through social networks and texting.
Hilcken is involved in Harrison athletics as a manager for the Harrison Swimming and Diving Team.
He also hopes to do a spring sport, although he is unsure of what he wants to do.
Hilcken says that he is impressed by the Raiders’ strong school spirit.
American food has left an impression on Hilcken, as he says that we like to eat “cheese and fried stuff.”
Hilcken also noticed how Americans put ice in all of our drinks and in Europe that is not a customary thing to do.
Another difference that Hilcken noticed was the school system.
“In Germany at my school we have weekly schedules and not daily schedules,” says Hilcken. “We have our own classroom as a class so the teachers have to move from room to room.”
This is standard in Europe, as Aidan Leaird could attest.
Leaird experienced an identical educational system on his exchange in Italy.
Hilcken has travelled to Wisconsin, and St. Louis, Missouri while he has been in America and says that those are his favorite things he has done so far along with going to swim meets.
“I would like to visit Chicago because I have never been there before,” says Hilcken. “We’re probably going to there this month.”
Exchange students take a great step into the unknown when they immerse themselves in a foreign culture, and Hilcken has done a great job adjusting himself to life at Harrison.