Meet Eric Strump: our newest exchange student

Eric+Strumpf+with+the+sign+that+reads+%22willkommen+Eric%22%2C+or+%22welcome+Eric%22+in+German.

Photo/ Fabrizio Orsi de Paula

Eric Strumpf with the sign that reads "willkommen Eric", or "welcome Eric" in German.

Fabrizio Orsi de Paula, Staff writer

 

At this time last week, Eric Strumpf would be about 4,115 miles away from Detroit, which would constitute a flight of approximately 8 hours and 50 minutes. Now, he may be sitting right next to you.

Eric is an exchange student who arrived through a program called Friendship Connection and is staying with junior Alex Jasukaitis for two weeks.

“At my school, this program is very common, everyone wants to come to America, everyone wants to have this experience,” Strumpf said.

Eric arrived in Michigan on Tuesday, April 22, from Giessen, a town situated in the west-central portion of the country. After a week, he’s already noticed some differences.

“[In the U.S.] you have the same subjects every day,” Strumpf said. In Germany, classes change depending on the day of the week. “We have one class and the teachers always come to us, so we are always with the same group of students, except for foreign languages.”

Alex and Eric have the same classes and did not know each other before. Their first contact came through e-mail and they kept in contact through Whatsapp, a popular messaging app in Europe, before he arrived.

“It was exciting, because we’d never hosted an exchange student before,” Alex Jasukaitis said. “It was kind of thrilling because he was coming to a new country and I’ve never been to Germany and I’ve never seen anything from Germany, so it was interesting. My whole family was really excited to have a new person living with us.”

Eric said he would participate in the program again if he had the chance to.