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Letter: Italy trip among exchange student's highlights

Hi, my name is Nicole Janssen and I am the current Worthington exchange student to Crailsheim, Germany.

On July 24, 2009, I left Worthington with Svenja Wieser as she was returning home from her year in Worthington. It was an emotional but exciting day, as it was the end of a wonderful year for Svenja and a new beginning for me.

I am currently living with Svenja's family, and they are awesome! They are a lot of fun and have been very welcoming; I would like to thank them for opening their home to me. The Wiesers live in a town called Tiefenbach, which is a few kilometers from Crailsheim. Gerhard and Else are my host parents, and my host siblings are Svenja (18), Lea (18), Jessica (16), and Kevin (12). My host mom, Else, is a great cook, and I have been able to try a lot of German foods. I absolutely love it here.

We do a lot of bicycling, and I am learning my way around pretty quickly. I will be attending the Lise Meitner Gymnasium school. When I first arrived in Germany, I was lucky enough to visit the school as they had three days of school left in their school year. School started Monday, and I am looking forward to meeting my classmates and teachers.

I have been keeping busy this summer. I have been to the outdoor pool, the library, hanging out with friends, going to soccer games, the movie theater, shopping and more. I also had an opportunity to make German bread the traditional way with Svenja's family at her grandma's house with some of her aunts and cousins. We used 110 pounds of flour to make around 20 loaves! This was a very neat experience that I am glad I was able to take part in.

I just returned home from a family vacation with the Wieser family. We went to Bibione, Italy, and stayed in a residence just 700 meters from the beach of the Adriatic Sea. It was beautiful. We did a lot of things in Italy, like shopping, swimming in the pool, going to the beach, swimming in the sea, playing beach volleyball, and we spent one day in Venice, Italy. Venice was amazing -- I liked all of the canals and bridges, boats and the buildings. We were able to go in a Basilica; it was incredible. We had ice cream about everyday when we were in Italy; yum! Bibione was definitely a great vacation spot, and the weather was very hot.

I am looking forward to my first week of school. I am also very excited for Volksfest, Crailsheim's town celebration, similar to Turkey Day. They have a parade that Svenja and I will be in, rides, music, food and more! Volksfest will take place from Sept. 18-21.

I have had an amazing time so far, and I would like to thank the Worthington-Crailsheim organization for such a wonderful opportunity. This is a great program!