The Piedmont Highlander

The Student News Site of Piedmont High School

The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

April Crossword Key
April 19, 2024
APT outside of Piedmont Park
Staff Reductions
April 18, 2024

From Germany to the Bahamas: Studying Abroad


After leaving family behind, packing, and taking an 11-hour flight, Lennard Burchardt is ready for a life-changing trip to a completely different country with a vastly different culture from his own. This exciting new location for Burchardt is none other than Piedmont, California.

Lennard Burchardt, a student studying abroad, left his home in Germany through a foreign exchange program to take classes in America. He is staying with the Davies family and attending PHS for the duration of his stay.

Senior Will Davies said that living with Burchardt during his stay in Piedmont has been nice.

“He’s been like, my brother… My older brother went off to college this year, and you know, having Lennie around has been nice, because I don't get lonely as much”, Davies said.

40 years prior, Burchardt’s father came from Germany through an exchange program to stay with Will Davies’ father, Jon Davies.

“My dad had an exchange student when he was in high school, like 40 years ago, which was Lenny's dad… And now Mark’s son Lenny is staying with us 40 years later” Davies said.

Burchardt came to Piedmont from Greifswald, a town in Germany known for the fact that virtually every part of the city can be reached on bike.

“I think cultural exchange (was his main reason for coming to Piedmont), just like experiencing a different culture,” Davies said.

According to Davies, PHS doesn’t accept seniors for foreign exchange programs, so Burchardt entered PHS as a junior student for the duration of his stay in America.

“(Burchardt will be staying for) the whole school year, and maybe some of the summer too,” Davies said.

Davies said one of his favorite memories with Burchardt was when they went to the exchange student’s hometown in Greifswald, Germany last summer together.

“(One of Davies’ best memories with Burchardt was) being in Germany with Lenny, this past summer. I got to see his hometown, and also, we went to Italy, which was really fun. The most fun part was seeing his hometown last summer and meeting his friends and like having fun with them” Davies said.

Last semester, junior Jonas Kra-Kaskey studied abroad in Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas. He attended an island school with other students studying abroad.

“I definitely think that the work environment there is unlike the work environment at Piedmont, it's much more laid back, but it also gives you more time and easier access to teachers, so you can get help with your work more easily,” Kra-Kaskey said.

Kra-Kaskey was in Eleuthera for 100 days, from early September to the middle of December.

“I felt like I learned more there than I would have had at a semester at Piedmont, because of the access to the teachers, the availability of always having people to study with, and the designated time for studying… I feel like the work environment there was beneficial” Kra-Kaskey said.

Kra-Kaskey lived with roughly 50 other students during his stay, which he says created a welcoming social environment.

“The social environment was pretty great… I lived with like 50 people for 100 days, so I'm super close with everybody there now… It's an experience I don't think I'll ever forget,” Kra-Kaskey said.

Kra-Kaskey didn’t originally want to go to the Bahamas, but his parents suggested it to him.

“(On his reason for going) I was struggling, you know, COVID sucked and everything. Life was weird. My parents showed me the school, and I was like, sure, why not apply… I did, and I got in” Kra-Kaskey said.

Kra-Kaskey said he had to take an entrance exam to get into the program, with around 400 applicants competing for about 100 slots.

“(On his least favorite part about traveling abroad) The lack of contact with the outside world, because while we were there, we weren't allowed access to the internet or phones, so if something bad happened I just wouldn't know that until my allotted phone time that week,” Kra-Kaskey said.

He said that his lack of time with a cellphone connection caused some issues and irrational fears.

 “It was just a little scary sometimes… Sometimes I’d end a phone call on an ominous note, and I’d be wondering all week, like what happened?” Kra-Kaskey said.

According to Kra-Kaskey, the culture around academics in his island school in Eleuthera was different from the way it is at PHS.

“The school here (PHS) is definitely a lot more academically focused… At the island school, people wouldn't compare grades, it would just be like school is there to help support you and help you grow… (In Piedmont) it's definitely like a big academic culture,” Kra-Kaskey said.

Kra-Kaskey says that any students who plan on pursuing a semester studying abroad should make sure to research the place they are planning to stay in thoroughly.

“I didn't research it (the island school) well at all… At first, it wasn't what I expected it to be, which kind of made my experience worse at the start, but it all panned out… So I’d definitely say, make sure you know what you're getting into,” Kra-Kaskey said.

Kra-Kaskey said that his favorite parts about studying abroad in Eleuthera were the “expeditions” the school occasionally left to partake in.

“There was a two-week period where we went kayaking… Then we visited sites on the island for a week… It was just so much fun, and it was like a small group of 10 kids” Kra-Kaskey said.

According to both Burchardt and Kra-Kaskey, studying abroad was a fascinating cultural experience that neither will ever forget.

Donate to The Piedmont Highlander

Your donation will support the student journalists of Piedmont High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Micah Temple
Micah Temple, Managing Editor
Micah Temple (12) is a managing editor for TPH. Outside of school, he works as a lifeguard, swims for several teams, and is an intern at the Piedmont Post. Micah is also a tenor for the Piedmont Troubadours, plays jazz piano, and enjoys going to the gym with his friends.
Donate to The Piedmont Highlander