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German exchange student loving the U.S.

DIXFIELD — Greta Freiburger has always been fascinated by the United States. So this year, she is a foreign exchange student at Dirigo High School.

“I’ve never seen so many trees in my life,” she said Thursday in the principal’s conference room. “I like the colorful leaves,”

Greta is from Duesseldorf and arrived at her host family’s home in mid-August. This is her first time in the United States.

“I’ve heard that there’s unlimited opportunities in the United States,” she said. “The students here are so open-minded. The teachers are so nice.” 

The classes are much easier at Dirigo than at home, and more fun, she said. She especially likes culinary arts and creative writing. She’s writing in English in her journal.

“I like everything here,” she said, adding that she’s looking forward to visiting New York and Boston with her host family. She also wants to go snowmobiling and skiing.

Greta was surprised that so many people hunt, a sport that people in her country do not do.

She’s looking forward to Thanksgiving, when she has promised her host family that she will make German potato salad, and to how people in the U.S. celebrate Christmas.

Greta smiled as she said that she’s already been to Sweden, Mexico, Paris and Norway, while remaining in Oxford County. 

“I’ve had no time to be homesick. There’s so much to do,” she said, adding that she talks once a week with her parents.

“I eat fast food here. While I’m here I’ll live like an American. When I’m back in Germany, I’ll live like a German,” she said.

She’s been involved in the school’s golf and cross-country running teams, as well as the outing club, and plans to participate in the cross-country skiing team during the winter.

She’s also surprised that the people here are so friendly and nice, and that Americans are so proud of their country, and say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning.

She’s made many friends at Dirigo, and plans to maintain ties when she returns to Germany next summer.

Her younger sister, 14, is really jealous that Greta is in the U.S., she said.

“She wants to be an exchange student, too,” she said.

Greta is thinking she may attend college in Germany to study tourism, but nothing is solid right now.

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