Studying Over Seas


After a month and a half of living in Downey, Yannic Duckwitz, a foreign exchange student from Germany, is glad to say he is adapting to the California weather. Duckwitz has become a Viking due to his strong enthusiasm to improve his English and has also joined the Junior Varsity Football team.

Anais Hinojosa

After traveling halfway around the world, 17-year-old German exchange student Yannic Duckwitz arrived in California on Aug. 27, ready to join the junior class at Downey High. Driven by a desire to improve his English, Duckwitz carried on an extensive online search and was able to find what he was looking for: a foreign exchange program. After submitting applications, spending three days in New York, and then happily transferring to the much warmer California, he was finally taken in by the Cruz family in Downey.

Like many newcomers before him, the exchange student’s first impression of the school was simple: too big and far too crowded. Over time, however, he came to learn that he liked the school, as it provided a promising learning environment and a mighty football team. Like other students, Duckwitz has his favorites and least favorites when it comes to classes and teachers. Though Biology and History may not be amongst his favorite classes, Introduction to Engineering has made his list of favorites, along with the instructor, Mr. Redfox and his math teacher, Ms. Gunderson. Speaking English as a second language does not stop Duckwitz from being a compelling student, which is evident through the positive remarks of his teachers.

“He’s very bright and always asks questions, stays on top of things, and if there’s a language barrier he always raises his hand immediately and asks me what the word means, so he’s definitely good at math and really feels comfortable approaching a teacher and making sure that he’s on task and understands what he’s doing, ” Algebra II teacher Ms. Gunderson said.

Not only is this new pupil learning by being here, but others are also learning from him.

“I wish I had smaller classes so I could spend more time learning from him,” Gunderson said. “I like hearing the parallels in the languages, I think it’s really neat.”

Apart from being a dedicated student, Duckwitz is also a part of the junior varsity football team. Even though football is not something he plays back in Hessen, Germany, he wanted to give it a try because with only ten months to spend in California, the more that he accomplishes, the better.

“I want to try out as much things as I can because that’s what I’m here for,” Duckwitz said. Thanks to joining the team, he met some of his great friends and spends his free time playing football, hanging out with his friends, or doing both.

“Yannic’s a good friend; pretty athletic,” fellow football player and friend Yuri Martines said. “He’s a good guy and I look forward to just playing the games with him.”

Yannic Duckwitz is one of the few people who are given the opportunity to actually experience the dream of traveling halfway around the world to study.

“I really like it and am proud to represent my country here,” Duckwitz said. Fortunately, he gets to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity as a part of the class of 2012.