What is Scottsdale AZ known for
High school in USA
Julian - Arizona, Scottsdale, Saguaro High School
Part 1 of Julian's report
Since I've been in Scottsdale, AZ since the end of July, I've had the opportunity to meet many different people, things, and customs. Strangely, my host family was at the wrong gate when I arrived because a person from the ground staff gave them the wrong information, but after a short phone call with my host mother, the problem was resolved relatively quickly and my host mother, my host cousin, my host brother and my two host sisters gave me a warm and very friendly welcome. On the very first evening I was able to try an American pizza, which I think is much better than the German pizzas, by the way.
I had about a week and a half before school started. During these week and a half I had the opportunity to get to know the family of my host parents; both maternal and paternal. The people here are all, and by that I don't just mean family members, but really everyone, much friendlier and more cordial than I know from Germany. I wasn't overwhelmed with it, but it was much easier for me to feel at home straight away. A big difference, which I also saw, is the customer service, which is much (really, very much) better here than in Germany.
We stood at the checkout at Walmart for 20 minutes, firstly because we had bought so much and secondly because we put many products on Price Match (i.e. Walmart reduces the prices to the same prices if the price for a product is cheaper elsewhere) and that didn't bother the cashier at all, on the contrary, I had the feeling that she was even glad that we were shopping so much. Personally, I found that very impressive.
What I also really like here is the climate. Since we live in the middle of a dry and hot desert, the temperatures in summer are always over 40 ° C during the day and usually over 30 ° C at night. It hardly rains and the sun shines almost all the time, at least in the dry season. But even in the rainy season it only rains a few times. I don't really like these days, but I'm the only one because everyone else loves rain. My host grandmother, who moved here from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 35 years ago, told me this: "When I moved down here, I was seeing these crazy people dancing in the rain. But now, I dance in the rain too!" Maybe I'll love the rain when I'm here for a year!
I took a total of six courses: US / Arizona History, English II, French IV Honors, Physics I Honors, Trigonometry / Pre-Calculus Honors and Basketball. I find history really interesting, but I should have chosen the AP course because otherwise we only talk about facts and never discuss things or analyze things. English II is okay, but exhausting because we are reading two books that I find quite challenging, especially because they are written in English. French IV Honors is way too easy for me, even though it is the highest French course in the school. I will try to get into French V AP, which is already college level, but probably just the thing for me.
I find Physics I Honors very interesting when it comes to theory and mathematical connections. What I find a little annoying is that we experiment a lot. But sometimes we have to develop new knowledge through the knowledge we have and some additional information. I always find that very interesting. I really like my math course because it contains pretty much the same material that I would otherwise take in tenth grade in Germany.
Basketball is my favorite sport and I usually enjoy playing too. What I find frustrating sometimes is that I am the worst player in the course, as this is my first time taking such a course, so because I am still an amateur while the others have already started in the second or third grade, Playing basketball. I feel like people then really think that I've been playing for so long and I'm still so bad. Few people in my class know that I'm an exchange student looking to pick up some basketball skills. But still, I made my closest friends, of the friends I have made so far, in this course. So the whole thing is put into perspective again and I am always looking forward to the course.
The language went well from the start, which is probably due to the fact that I grew up with the English language in my family. Even so, I have already noticed improvements in my vocabulary and expression and I hope that I will of course make further progress.
I love my host family. I think there is no better way to express that here. The good thing is that there is always something going on, so I don't have to think about Germany that often. You have already done a lot with me, e.g. B. They brought me to San Diego and Legoland Califonia, also because my host family has tickets for life and they also get free tickets.
Recently, however, there have been a few conflicts within my host family between my host mother and my host siblings. Since my host mother usually has to work a lot, she would of course like my host siblings and I to take on a few tasks in the house. Since I am an exchange student, she focuses most of the work on the children. While I actually always do my chores, it almost never looks like that with my host siblings. Sometimes I take over a few tasks for my siblings so that there isn't so much trouble. Of course I have already realized a few "quirks" of my host family, just as I suspect that they have also realized my "quirks". But despite a few small problems and different views that exist in every family and that are just normal, I really like my host family and it is always nice to be welcomed back home by them after school.
In Germany I was very interested in American sports, which I can of course enjoy to the fullest here. Just yesterday I was at a game of the local MLB baseball team (Arizona Diamondbacks) and despite the fact that they lost, I enjoyed the game and my stay at Chase Field, a gigantic arena that I have of this size and characteristics never seen before, enjoyed it very much.
Otherwise, my daily habits are the same as in Germany. For me it was also very interesting that my everyday life has not changed that much from that in Germany. I expected my everyday life to be very different, but that didn't happen. Nevertheless, I enjoy my stay in a completely different environment than in Germany.
I haven't been really homesick yet. But I sometimes think of my everyday life in Germany and then I realize that I miss my hometown and Frankfurt a little. I miss what everything looked like in Germany more than a certain person or a certain group in Germany. What is a little irritating to me here in America is that everything looks so planned. The streets have not grown naturally, everything is in a monotonous block system. I miss the complicated road networks in Germany. Also, my host parents are not always able to take me anywhere. So I also miss the public transport system in Germany. But, as already mentioned, I don't think about Germany that often, because there is always a lot going on in this house and I usually don't even have the time to think about Germany.
But I still keep in touch with my parents, with whom I exchange most of my thoughts, because I don't always find the specific people here with whom one can discuss something like this. I also keep in touch with my best friend in Germany, who always helps me to deepen cultural differences and gives me the latest information about other friends, but also what is happening at school.
All in all, I think America has its good side, of course, but also its dark side. Nevertheless, I have really enjoyed my stay so far and am still looking forward to another eight months full of new things.
Part 2 of his report
Slowly but surely I realize that the "American everyday life" has found its way into my life. New things, strangely enough, don't seem to feel so extremely new anymore. I have not experienced any excitement in this form for a long time that I experienced after my arrival. But I take that as a really good sign because it gives me the feeling that I've finally arrived here. Still, there are of course things here that are a lot of fun and just breathtaking.
In the autumn holidays, which were unusually short for me (one week, I know two from Hessen, after which one is really rested, but there is always a lot going on here, so that even holidays can be exhausting, but still be fun), loved me Took my host father George to the Grand Canyon, who was practically a day trip here from Scottsdale, AZ. One thing can really be said: simply breathtaking! The Grand Canyon is huge, so huge that it's hard to imagine. Just to give you a size: the canyon is about twice the size of the Saarland! But what really amazed me was that the canyon is not cordoned off all around, so that as a tourist you could just fall into it if you are not careful, there have also been deaths. I cannot imagine that this would be done in Germany. The well-known "German thoroughness", which by the way is also known here by some people, would avoid something like that.
We also went to the Arizona State Fair, a kind of fair, but of course everything was American-style! Weird food, different rides and of course funny shows made everything very entertaining. What I found funniest was the food, which consisted of deep-fried Snickers (or Oreos), bacon-flavored root beer, generous sundae sizes, and much more. My host siblings also won several (I'm not sure anymore, but I think there were about four) fish. The AZ State Fair was something unique that I had never seen before in my life.
In addition, we went to Tucson, AZ with the Boy Scouts Troop (boy scout group) of my little host brother during the holidays and visited the Pima Air & Space Museum and the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, AZ. Old and new aircraft and NASA equipment were exhibited. The Titan Missile Museum displayed a missile that was operational during the Cold War. That was also impressive and gave me an insight into American history as well as a connection to German history. All in all, it's still a small world!
The last trip we did wasn't too far after all, we just went to Phoenix. There we visited the museum inside the AZ State Capitol, which basically showed almost the entire history of Arizona. Unfortunately, I didn't really understand much because the vocabulary that was used to explain the story was chosen to be very formal and sophisticated. But the building alone was worth seeing!
After the holidays, the next big festival was already on: Halloween. Halloween in America is celebrated extensively and is really insane in my opinion, but it's still a lot of fun! There is a man near my school who every year transforms his house into a so-called "haunted house" (or in German haunted house) through which one can walk. From the outside everything looked very professional and complex, from the inside it was really entertaining, but not really scary (at least my host family was totally scared, but still walked through the house five times). We also went around the houses to collect sweets. In the end, we had almost an entire 30L bag full of candy!
My sixteenth birthday was just three weeks later. I don't usually make a big event out of my birthday, but my host family loves birthdays; so what we did was play laser tag. And the best: in the largest laser tag arena in the world in Mesa, AZ! I was a very bad player, but my family, two friends and I enjoyed it a lot.
A week later, it was Thanksgiving, and my host mother's family gathered at her sister's home in San Tan Valley, AZ. Before that, we had breakfast at "Jack In The Box", a fast food restaurant that my host family traditionally visits on Thanksgiving morning. But the real food on Thanksgiving traditionally consists of mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries (or lingonberries), apple, pecan or pumpkin pie, buns, carrots, celery and of course, turkey with a filling. The best thing for me was the football that runs all day on Thanksgiving and that I watched with my host mother's sister's husband, Shawn (basically my guest uncle), because he loves football as much as I do.
After a busy day, Thanksgiving doesn't mean: "Go to sleep!" The following day is namely "Black Friday", in principle a day on which all products in the shops are often reduced. I didn't find much for myself as the discounted items were mostly things I didn't need, but my host family spent several hundred dollars that day!
The following day, by the way, the final of the AZ High School Football Division III took place, which my school, Saguaro High School, won by a clear margin and with which the football team concluded an outstanding season. By the way, I know the quarterback from my school who will play next year for the University of California Berkeley Golden Bears in the NCAA (college football).
I have also changed some courses in my schedule, which now looks like this: first hour: Intro to Broadcasting (school announcements), second hour: English II, third hour: Trigonometry / Pre-Calculus Honors, fourth hour: Physics I Honors, fifth hour: Spanish III Honors, sixth hour: AP (Advanced Placement) American / Arizona History. As a tenth grader, I usually only sit with eleventh and twelfth graders in the courses, apart from English II, because all tenth graders have to take this course.
Since my host family is Jewish, I still have an opportunity to get to know another culture. Recently it was Hanukkah, the Jewish Christmas festival, there are eight nights, accordingly the corresponding number of candles are lit on the menorah. In addition, two Hanukkah blessings are always pronounced, and gifts are given every night. The best gifts I got were a really big book about the best football players in history and a shirt from the ASU (Arizona State University) Sun Devils, the local college football team.
Now I'm looking forward to Christmas and I also wish the entire high school team a Merry Christmas!
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