Foreign exchange student reflects on life in Prosper

Exchange student travels 5,307 miles to her new home for the next 10 months

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Courtesy of Anabel Halbach

With her family at a local restaurant in France, Junior Anabel Halbach waits for her order to come. Anabel spent her last days of summer with family before the start of her exchange year. “I’m really excited to meet new people this whole year here – and making new friends, you have to be open for that,” Halbach said. “Just for yourself. So yeah, I’m excited for what happens next.”

Sofia Ayala, Feature Editor

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The time had finally come. 

Junior Anabel Halbach traveled 10 hours and 59 minutes by plane – A total 5,307 miles from her home town in Germany to her new home for the next 10 months. 

“It was always a dream of mine to come here,” Halbach said. “And to live the American way of life.”

This is Halbach’s first year away from home. 

“I was always looking forward to being able to come. I was always like, oh my god, two months and one month. I’m going to live in the USA,” Halbach said. “That’s from somebody who comes from a small town from like a small country coming to Texas – it’s crazy.”

Halbach visited the United States back in 2014 to visit family in Pennsylvania.

“I was always fascinated by the USA,” Halbach said. “I knew that I didn’t want to live in the USA for my whole life, so I searched for ways to get there for a short time.”

Halbach loved the idea of an exchange year because it allowed her to get the best of both worlds. 

“The idea of an exchange year is amazing for me because I can live here in a family – in a real American family for 10 months. We can also go back to my German family. So I have like the direct comparison between both countries, both school systems, both kinds of people. I think that’s pretty nice about it.”

Halbach arrived to Prosper Aug. 6, 2022. 

“Meeting new people and seeing the country in a different point of view – like not just from Germany, just really living here,” Halbach said. “I think that makes a big difference.”

Now that she’s living in Prosper, she gets to experience new opportunities. 

 “When you live in Germany, you have many stereotypes about the USA and American people,” Halbach said. “And I think (your mindset) changes when you leave.”

Being away from home has made Halbach miss her family and friends. 

“I miss them a lot,” Halbach said. “I especially miss my mom. Yeah, it’s like, I guess really like the first week was really hard for me. But, I noticed that when I’m around people, it’s getting better.”

Throughout the first three weeks of school, Halbach has been able to meet new people that have made the transition to Prosper easier. 

“Meeting other exchange students is really helpful to not get that homesick,” Halbach said. “I mean, you’ll always miss your family when you’re away for 10 months.”

Habach attended her first pep rally Aug. 19, 2022.

“That was so cool,” Halbach said. “Like, just everybody being hyped about the school spirit. That is so crazy for me, and just the environments in general, all the big streets. I just love the American way of living.”

Halbach said she’s never seen this much school spirit before. 

“We don’t have school spirit, like, we will not do pep rallies,” Halbach said. “We also don’t have football teams. We don’t have like any sports team at our school, or want to do sports. We have to go to local clubs outside of school. And, it’s just like, the school system is just different. And everybody’s together in the same school.”

Halbach is excited to see what the year holds, and all of the everlasting memories she will make in the next 10 months. 

“I’m really excited to meet new people this whole year here – and making new friends, you have to be open for that,” Halbach said. “Just for yourself. So yeah, I’m excited for what happens next.”