Frankfurt, Germany, is about 500 times bigger than Fayette, Ohio, but that’s all right with Andy Karathanasis.
Small town life is going well. He’s making friends and enjoying school, and everybody here is very friendly.
At home, Andy rides the train to school—a journey of about 40 minutes—while here he looks out the back door of Rod and Suzy Sommers’s house and sees the school just a few minutes walk away.
Like most exchange students, Andy finds school work easier here than at home, except for the extra challenge of the language difference.
“I get a lot more support from the teachers here,” he said. “They’re more friendly and I can get help immediately.”
Andy is classified as a junior in Fayette. If he does well, he’s hoping this year’s studies will count as his 11th year and then he’ll have just two more years remaining of high school back in Germany.
High school sports are common here, but in Germany athletics are run only as clubs, separate from the school. He participated in handball for seven years, but gave it up to concentrate on his studies.
He has joined Fayette’s cross country team and he’s thinking of giving basketball and baseball a try. He’s also in the choir.
Andy has a twin 16-year-old sister at home and he also has a 19-year-old brother. His mother provides after-school childcare and his father is an electronics repair technician.
The Sommers are no strangers to exchange students. Their first guest was from Norway back in the 1990s. Andy is their fourth German visitor.