Hanson begins planning for semester abroad in Germany amid pandemic


Hope Nurnberg, Co-Editor

While many of us are thinking about our lost experiences due to Covid-19, junior Drew Hanson is thinking about a great adventure that he has the chance to embark on next year. He is planning to be a foreign exchange student during his senior year of high school.

“The things that excite me most are building relationships with people from all over the world, and traveling and learning from different cultures. It will also be pretty cool to learn German,” Hanson said.

He was accepted into two different programs – one in Bosnia and one in Germany. It was a hard choice for him to choose which country he wanted to go to. 

“It was a very tough decision, but I’m going to go to Germany. I choose Germany because I already have some relationships built with some of the other students going, and the organization (CIEE) has a lot of benefits and opportunities,” he said.

He decided to apply to be a foreign exchange student because he had completed most of his goals he had established  at the beginning of high school. 

“I had written down goals at the beginning of high school, and I realized that I had already done most of what I wanted to do. I began to wonder about different ways to challenge myself, and when I found out about these programs, it was a good fit. I’d always been interested in other cultures but haven’t had the opportunity to immerse myself in any of them,” he said.

Many foreign exchange students do their exchange year their junior year of high school, but for Hanson, he didn’t consider the idea until the beginning of this year.

“I started to think about the possibility in the fall and found out about State Department study abroad programs in November. After looking into these programs, I knew I wanted to do them,” he said. 

Since he will be going his senior year, he will only have one semester left at Southeast of Saline after this current semester.

“I’m sad I’ll miss certain things, but I know that I won’t be losing any friends,” he said.

“The virus has been a huge factor. As of now, they are saying to anticipate the program to begin in January instead of August. It isn’t likely that the virus will cancel the program all together,” he said. 

Hanson is very excited to start his journey as a foreign exchange student and he encourages other students to apply if it is something that interests them. 

“I highly encourage other Southeast of Saline students to seek out these opportunities if it sounds interesting to them,” he said. “The whole thing is paid for by Congress, so it is at no cost to you.  Not very many people from Kansas apply, and it’s good to have representation from everywhere. If I can get in, you can get in!”