Exchange student enjoying best of both her worlds

Sue Kraft, Lifestyles Editor
Luisa Klein (center), is pictured with (left to right): host mother Angie Holtz, her mother Petra Klein, father Heinz Klein, and host father, Brian Holtz.

Luisa Klein is enjoying the best of both worlds.

The 18-year-old exchange student from Germany has been living in Devils Lake since Aug. 15 with her host parents, Angie and Brian Holtz. Last week, her parents arrived from Germany for a 10-day stay, giving Klein a little taste of home.

“Before they came, I couldn't believe they were coming,” said Luisa, noting that she wasn't sure how her parents would fit in to “my own little America.”

Her mother, Petra, said they decided to visit for her 50th birthday and she is glad she had a chance to meet the family with whom her daughter is living.

“They are very nice, we are so glad to let our daughter stay with such a nice family,” she said.

Luisa's father, Heinz, doesn't speak any English, but nodded in agreement with his wife.

Heinz, she explained, is an amateur cook and has been preparing meals for the family since they arrived.

“We've had some really good meals,” said host father, Brian Holtz.

The Klein family hails from Limburgh, near Frankfurt. When asked what similarities there are between Devils Lake and their hometown, the family chatted in German for several minutes before answering.

“Nothing,” said Luisa, “they think everything is very new.”

Petra noted that homes in Germany are very close together and in Devils Lake people have large yards and more space. Supermarkets are also smaller and more numerous in Germany than here. Also, in Germany most things are within walking distance and, here, people must drive everywhere.

“Everything is bigger in America,” summed up Luisa.

As a student at Devils Lake High School, Klein said she is involved in Just For Kix dance team and soccer. Some of the school work is easier than home, she noted, and some is harder. But, it is definitely different than she is used to.

“It's cool,” she said. “There are more opportunities and the spirit of the school is better. In Germany, everyone does their own thing.”

Sports, she noted, are not sanctioned by the school and those wishing to participate must join clubs outside of the school — a big change from the hometown support given to American school teams.

The Kleins will be in Devils Lake for the rest of the week before heading home. They said someday they may return to Devils Lake to visit the Holtz family but they are hoping to play host to the Holtz's before then.

“First I hope the family comes to us in Germany,” said Petra. “We want to show them how Luisa lives.”