Posted by Mary Jones on Jun 08, 2018
RYE Student Michel presented Monday's program, sharing many highlights from his year spent here in Oshkosh.
Michel in his Rotary jacket with all the medals he's accumulated this year. He noted that the jacket doesn't fit so good any more since he's grown. 
Unfortunately, the ClubRunner program we use to produce Spokes would not let me import Michel's Google Slides, and I wasn't not able to save the images out of the file. 
Here's what he shared:
He traveled 4,113 miles from his home in Germany to Oshkosh, and he's been here 338 days.
His first host family was with John Matz and his family and he had a great time. He toured the Sheriff's Department, got to try on SWAT and Riot gear. He had a good time at the Matz's.
Next he lived with John Jorgensen and his family -- giving Michel 3 host brothers -- Matt, Ryan, and Aaron-- and a host sister, Megan, and he said it felt just like home. He said that Megan decided they should celebrate his 1/2 birthday,since he'd be gone when his real birthday came. That was fun, he said, even though he made his own cake -- a German kirsch torte.
His last host family is Jim and Liz Karpelian, and he's having a good time. They recently went to a Brewer's game, and that was great.
He participated in cross country, swimming, and track at Oshkosh West. He said his swimming wasn't that good, but he had fun thanks to Henry Laux, who talked him into trying swimming.
He noted that he attended Homecoming just 3 weeks after arriving in the U.S. and it was different experience. Back home in Germany he said there would have been drinking involved.
He enjoyed a trip to Madison with John Matz, especially going to a Badger game. He didn't realize there were such big cities in Wisconsin.
Another highlight was a Rotary trip to Chicago with several of the Midwestern Rotary Exchange students. Kids from 20 nations attended.
Michel described a trip to Florida with John Jorgensen and his family this spring as a great adventure. They visited John's parents who live in The Villages in Florida during the winter. There was some comment about John's niece, Sara, but I didn't get that whole story. 
Michel also enjoyed visiting with German sisters from the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, which John Fuller arranged. He enjoyed discussing German politics with them and found them "very fit in their minds" and aware of current German politics.
Michel and the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.  (Thanks to John Jorgenseon for this photo.)
He also enjoyed visiting with John Vette at SNC manufacturing to learn about business and entrepreneurship.
Michel "graduated" from Oshkosh West on Sunday, June 2 -- actually, he received a "Certificate of Participation," as he'll return to attend a business high school in Germany.
He found dealing with snow the most challenging, though he had some fun snowplowing. Running the Green Bay 1/2 Marathon was also a challenge, especially because he didn't practice enough ahead of time.
He listed attending the various District Rotary RYE gatherings as a highlight, as well as attending the TriCon where he got to meet more RYE students.  
He noted that he also enjoyed speaking to Ryan and Megan's classes to talk about his home life in Germany.
Some new experience he enjoyed included learning how to to play FortNight on the Xbox, learning how to play golf, and getting to hold an alligator in Florida.
He will be leaving on a West Coast Rotary trip for two weeks. After that he'll fly to Pittsburgh, where he'll meet up with John Jorgenson and his family for a tour of the Washington, D.C. area. Then he'll travel to Toronto, Canada with his last host family.  Lastly, he'll travel to Grand Rapids, MI for a Central States Rotary Youth Exchange students gathering.
He's looking forward to attending the business high school, and he hopes to work in the United Nations to promote interest between countries as his career.  He suspects going back  home and having to speak German will be a challenge as he's so accustomed to speaking English now.
When asked what his biggest surprise about the United State was, he said, "That not everyone drives around in a truck and has a gun."