Dusseldorf to Washington


Haylie Gallacher, Reporter

A lot of people know that changing schools and moving away from your friends and place where you grew up, are all very difficult things to do. Especially as someone in high school. You never know how accepting the people will be, how you will like the environment, or even how the teachers will be. But imagine moving across the world, to a foreign country that you know nothing about. Sounds scary right? My friend, Madison Watkins, did just that and she’s now back to talk about her experience.

In the beginning of 2016, the Watkins family got the news that her father would be shipped off to Germany to work on new projects for the company he worked for. Not wanting to live thousand of miles away from him for two years, her family made the decision to all pack up their things and move to Dusseldorf, Germany. Moving to a foreign country would not be easy for Watkins, especially after just finding her ground here at Peninsula. Madison was a cheerleader, a stellar student, and involved with the theatre department. Now that Madison is back she’s here to talk about the differences in schooling.

One of the major differences in Germany was the amount of technology being used. You used your own computer in almost every class, and we were required to have a laptop when we enrolled in the school. The majority of kids use MacBooks also. Grading was based off an 8 point scale, 0-8, 8 being the highest, but you could only get a 7 as a final grade. A 7 was an A, 6 was an A-, 5 was a B, 4 was a B-, etc. The curriculum was totally different and grading was much more strict than in the States. One of the things we did there was travel a lot for school. I went to London for 3-4 days this past year, and we did a lot of culture viewing there and our teacher based our work off of shows we saw there. I went other places like Belgium, The Netherlands, and Ireland while going to school there. Another thing about my international school, was it was much more diverse than schools here in the US. You meet people from all over the world and make so many diverse friends you never could make in America. The environment is very, very open and accepting because everyone is so different. My classes were a two year set up, which is totally different and took a little to get used to. You take each class for two years and at the end of the two years you take big exam for each class. Another weird thing is different universities have different amounts of required grade points (that you you get from the 0-8 grade scale) to get into certain universities. The teachers are also like the students in the way that they are from all over the world. Even though it was tough getting used to, living in Germany was a great experience and I’m very grateful I had the chance to live there.