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Paynesville Press - September 26, 2001

Student continues Ulm-Paynesville exchange

By Michael Jacobson

Chris Waloszek Chris Waloszek is the fourth link in an informal German-American exchange that could lead to a formalized exchange of high school students in Paynesville and Ulm, Germany.

Since 1974, Paynesville students have made 17 two-week trips to Germany, spending a week living with a German family and a week sightseeing. For a majority of those host stays, at least ten of the 17 trips, according to German instructor Darrel Carstens, Paynesville students have stayed in Ulm, a city of 115,000 on the Danube River on the border of Bavaria between Stuttgart and Munich.

Two years ago, in 1999, Becca Werlinger stayed with the Waloszek family in Ulm during the German trip, and Sonja Waloszek, Chris's older sister, stayed with the Werlingers in Paynesville for three months in the fall of 1999.

Ryan Flanders met Sonja then, and he spent a month with the Waloszeks last summer following his graduation. He asked Chris to come to Paynesville, and Chris accepted the opportunity.

He arrived in Minnesota on Saturday, Sept. 8. He will stay in Paynesville with the Pat and Amy Flanders family until the first of December.

Other reciprocal visits have been made by members of German host families, said Carstens, but none before has extended so far.

Carstens and Amy Flanders, who both teach at Paynesville Area High School, are organizing an exchange of German students for next fall. The gymnasium that Chris and Sonja attend in Ulm has taken groups of students to the Carolinas every other year to practice English and learn about American culture.

Now they are working on bringing a group of the Ulm students to Paynesville on the alternate years. The first group of 20 German students could come to Paynesville and spend a couple weeks next fall.

Chris - who has two years left at gymnasium in Ulm - is taking trigonometry, English, design, current affairs, German, and Spanish while attending PAHS. He has some of his classes with his host brother, Riley, a junior at PAHS.

Chris is very interested in improving his English during his stay in Paynesville.

He is also running with the cross country team and likes to waterski and knee board on Lake Koronis, which he has done enthusiastically despite the autumn season. He also wants to go fishing during his time in Paynesville.

Usually, Chris only has opportunities for water sports when the family vacations in Sweden in the summer. Next summer, his entire family is planning to come to Lake Koronis for a month's holiday.

Chris's father is a university professor in biosystems, and his mother used to teach math but now stays home. In addition to Sonja, 18, currently on an exchange program to Iceland, Chris has a 12-year-old sister, Lena.

Staying with the Flanders, including Maureen, a sophomore at PAHS, has been fun, according to Chris. Everyone at school and in the community has been friendly and nice, he said.

"It's been a lot of fun," agreed Amy Flanders. "We've had fun with language. He's a very active kid."

While the work at PAHS is not as demanding as at home in his gymnasium - which are for the best German students and aim to prepare students for university - Chris has been impressed with the computer equipment at PAHS.

Computers are one of his hobbies in Germany, along with sports, outdoor activities, and going to discos. He likes to play soccer with his friends and does karate with a club.

When Chris returns to Ulm, he will have to make up the three months of schoolwork he missed at his gymnasium while he was in Paynesville.

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