In Germany, education is slightly different from education in the United States. Elementary school only goes up to fourth grade, at which point the students split into three different levels of school. The uppermost school goes to 12th grade, like American school systems. Both Henking and Kühl attend this sort of school. There are also no school buses. Students take public transportation or bike to school every day. Henking said there are hundreds of spots for bikes at his own school.
The final foreign exchange student studying in Geneva this year is Aizada Burkhanidinova, a senior from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She had a clear goal in coming to the United States, “I came here to share my culture and gain another culture,” said Burkhanidinova.
Getting here, however, was quite an ordeal. The program Burkhanidinova applied for, Foreign Leaders Exchange (FLEX), is very difficult to get into and required intense studying and diligent practice of her English. She said that she didn’t believe it was possible for her to pass the program because of how difficult it was to get accepted.
Burkhanidinova is involved in Key Club and Geneva’s drama department, having acted in the last show, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and participating in the costuming crew for the upcoming spring musical, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” She has also spent plenty of time meeting new people and enjoying how friendly the students of Geneva have been to her.
Burkhanidinova has found Geneva to be very different from her home school. In Kyrgyzstan, students follow a block schedule and only take one or two classes a day. For example, a student may only take a science class on Mondays and Thursdays, but take history on Wednesdays and Fridays. Burkhanidinova quickly adjusted to having the same classes daily. She also has a school uniform at home and thinks she will miss the freedom of Geneva’s dress code. Burkhanidinova has given Geneva students multiple opportunities to learn about her home country through presentations in classes and to the drama club.