Guest Xavier Elizondo

On my experience

I started coming to Johanna-Wittum on Jun 20, 2022 , and I had no idea then
what to expect. Nearly a month later, I have learned many things about German society,
spanning its school system, to what the German youth like to do and talk about.
My first class here was with Frau Sommer. To be honest, I was quite nervous;
what if the students did not receive my presence well? What if my German was too bad
to adequately communicate with the students? On both fronts, looking back, I had no
reason to worry! The students here are so nice and are always ready to have
conversations. I felt right at home literally on the first day! Coming to Germany, I had the
impression that no one would speak to me in German if they felt that I could not
understand them. I must say that this is false. The students have flattered me into
thinking that my German is anything but bad! Because of their hospitality, I have no
anxiety talking to them in English or German!
In my experience, the students here at Johanna-Wittum are as smart as they are
curious. They can talk about a range of topics. I have had discussions with the students
here on gaming, history, cars, music, politics, and just about everything in between. I am
not lying when I say that I have had no bad experiences with the students here. I am
proud of both the work the teachers have done to lead and the students’ abilities to
motivate themselves into doing whatever they want.
In every encounter with the students, I am interested in their ways of life as they
are in mine. I think by the end of every passing encounter, we leave more
knowledgeable and empathetic of one another and the respective backgrounds we
come from. I will close with this: In the first week, I made a poster to put on my laptop
which said in German, “Hello, I am Xavier, and I am American. Let’s practice English!”. I
was unsure of how the reception would be sitting in the student room. Would the kids
even care to talk, or try to be my friend? The answer was a resounding YES. Every day
I sat in the student room, new students would come and talk, and we could learn from
each other. I taught them about my background in South Texas, and they taught me
theirs. I am eternally grateful for the experience, and I can only say thank you to all
those who made it possible, most notably: Frau Lauer. From the bottom of my heart to
all the students: Thank you!!!

Text: Xavier Elizondo