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International visit at FLB


Englisch-Muttersprachlerin Cassidy Fuller zu Gast im Unterricht im Beruflichen Gymnasium

Ismaele Rexhepi, Cassidy Fuller und David Maurice Multhaup

Das nachstehende Interview haben Ismaele Rexhepi und David Maurice Multhaup mit Cassidy Fuller im Rahmen ihres Englisch-Unterrichts bei Frau Orthey geführt und schriftlich dokumentiert:


Firstly, where are you from and what´s your name? 

I´m Cassidy and I was born in Lawrenceville (Georgia), which is a suburb of Atlanta (Georgia) and then for college, I went to school in Athens (Georgia), which is where I lived in the past five years. That´s where the university of Georgia is. 

And what did you study at university? 

I studied linguistics and communication and German was my minor. 

Why are you even in Germany? 

I had studied German since highschool and I got the opportunity to study abroad in Freiburg when I was at college. I loved it there and knew that I wanted to come back for longer. When I heard about the Fullbright program, I applied for it and here I am (laughing)! 

Why did you choose Germany as your destination? 

I had a really good teacher in high school who encouraged me to keep going with German. 

So, the right call then? 

Yeah (laughing). 

Do you miss anything about home already? 

Right now, only my friends and family but I think that home sickness will come in a couple of weeks. At the moment everything is still new and exciting so it keeps the home sickness away. 

Where do you live for the time you are here in Germany? 

I live in a student dorm in Bielefeld on Bielefeld´s campus 

It´s quite a distance to our school then, isn´t it? 

Yeah, I have to hop onto two trains for ten minutes each and then some walking, but that´s okay. 

And what do you think about Bielefeld and Herford? 

I like both of them a lot, despite all I read about Bielefeld when I was doing research like the conspiracy theory and how there´s nothing to do in Bielefeld, but now that I´m here, I can´t imagine living anywhere else. 

Why do you like the city? 

I think it´s the perfect sized town for me, I don´t like big cities and I was afraid of being sent to like a tiny village in Bavaria so I think it´s right in the middle. Most of the time I´m in Bielefeld and I only come to Herford for work really so I can´t really speak on Herford as much but I love Bielefeld and the people I´ve met there. 

Is there anything which is different for you here in Germany? 

Many, especially young people, smoke a lot here and I feel it´s common here. Also, just having a walkable city is really nice because everything in America is so spread-out and so commercialised. There´s more charm here, you can walk places or you can take the train. I always felt like I was living my whole life in a car in America, which I didn´t like. Another German stereotype is the bureaucracy here in Germany where you have to make an appointment to make an appointment to make an appointment to make an appointment to get a form and it´s just this huge process to do mostly anything. And like recycling too; most Americans recycle but it´s not separated like it is here and so that was definitely something to get used to. I had to ask my roommates like: “Ok, where does this go?”, “Does this go in there?”, “Is this in the Restmüll erlaubt?”, you know: “Which bin for this?” and I´ve got the hang of it now, but I´m grateful that they were patient with my Americanness because I would just dump it all in the same recycling bin. 

And what are your first impressions about our school? 

That´s a good question! I like both the students and the staff; the staff was all very welcoming to me. The students are very curious about just all sorts of things: If my high school had lockers, if I rode to school on a yellow bus. I think it´s very interesting to see the types of things that students ask me about because it gives me a lot of insights on those cultural differences as well and what they find fascinating. 

Are there many differences from our school to yours? 

I kind of don´t know how I would place this school; there are some classes that feel like American high school and there are some that feel like a college. So this is kind of like an in-between-school, it´s very difficult to compare it to a US-school. One point are the windows; we don´t have windows in our classrooms in America and here every classroom has like three of them. Here, the students stay in the same classroom and the teachers switch rooms. In America, every class you take will be with different kids and the students switch rooms. Every teacher has their own classroom which they usually decorate. You get more breaks too; the only break in America really is the lunch break for like 20 minutes and for the rest of the day you just go straight from class to class. 

Is there a significant difference in our way of speaking, like accent wise? 

There´s definitely an accent. I will say that most of the Germans that I talked to will say: “I´m so sorry, you´ll have to excuse me, my English is so bad.”, and then they speak perfectly and I can understand everything. In America, the only people that know more than one language are usually immigrants and people like me who were born in America usually only know English. So the fact that you´re learning another language in school and you can actually use it is so impressive to me. That´s something that I´m hoping to get while I´m here because I learn German in school but I struggle with using it, so I definitely think that a lot of Germans underestimate their speaking abilities. I rarely had issues in understanding a non-native English speaker and there´s never really an issue with communication. 

When I hear someone speaking German, I think that my mouth just can´t move into those positions like the “ch” in “Eichhörnchen”. I wonder if the longer I stay here how good I can get. I think a sound that´s hard for Germans is the “th” like “thumb” but even then; it never leads to issues with understanding. I can understand it perfectly, it´s just an accent. 

How long are you going to stay here in Germany? 

I´ll be here until the end of June, but I´ve secured my apartment until the end of July so I planned it so I wouldn´t have to move back right away when I finished work and I can kind of stay. It´ll be a kind of vacation for a couple of weeks for me. I will also have time to say goodbye so it won´t end so abrupt.  

It´s a pretty long time until June, isn´t it? 

Yeah, it´s a good amount of time because I have a lot to learn language wise so I need all the time I can get (laughing). 

Can you speak a little bit of German or is it embarrassing for you? 

Yes, it´s embarrassing for me. And so many people know English and they want to practise their English. But if I´ll try to speak German, they´ll respond in English. I do appreciate it because it´s easier but I want to practise, so it would be even better if they answer in German. My roommates are English students and I try to speak German and we kind of just slowly switch to a full English conversation before I even notice. It´s because we want to be able to understand each other really well and like to express more complex ideas and I just can´t do that in German but he can in English. So in order to get a better relationship really, we have to use English. 

I´m so afraid of making mistakes because in school we had to be perfect all the time. Sometimes when I speak English with Germans, they make small mistakes but my brain doesn´t even register them because I´m just focused on the meaning. I have to remember that that´s how it would be for me if I made mistakes in German because I´m still learning – Es ist okay für mich Fehler machen (laughing). 

I mean I have a lot of knowledge of German, like it´s in there somewhere (points to her head) but making it come out is a different story. 

That´s it from our side. Thank you for your time and that you answered all these questions. 

Thank you and no problem!