This school year, Put-Bay High School has an exchange student from Germany. She’s 15-year-old 10th grader Anna Stilla from across the Atlantic Sea in Cologne, Germany. Anna’s parents, Petra and Angelo, both professional people working in the banking business, encouraged Anna to attend school in the U.S. so she could improve her English which she has studied for the last five years. Anna arrived in the United States in August where she got a chance to tour New York City before coming to Put-in-Bay. Her guest family on the island is the Domer family consisting of the island postmaster, JR Domer, his wife Cathy and daughter Molly whose birthday is only two weeks away from Anna’s.

Cathy initially wanted an exchange student and found the organization on the Internet Anna had applied to become an exchange student. Anna, a very very petite and personable young lady with a great sense of humor, said she and her family looked up Put-in-Bay on the Internet before deciding to come to the island. At first, they didn’t know what to expect and were a bit concerned because of all the “party” sites and the amount of alcohol, but they soon found information about the more normal things in the community and realized there was more than just alcohol here.

Anna says “I’m glad to be here and staying with an awesome family,” although at times she admits to missing her younger sister Lisa and home. One of the first things she did when she got to the island area, was to take a trip to Cedar Point. When interviewed just before the ferry quit for the season, Anna was concerned about what winter life on the island would be like, but in the same breath said she was looking forward to going out on the ice. Anna says school here in America is different than in Germany. Anna’s school in Germany has 2,500 students, so Put-in-Bay School is quite a change as an exchange student. Some subjects are harder, some are easier, and changing rooms for different classes is unlike school in Germany where students stay in the same room and a different teacher comes in to teach different subjects. Anna’s classes this year include Spanish, U.S. History, Grammar/Speech, Math, Gym and English and Biology, her two favorites.

There are also no school-sanctioned sports in Germany. Parents pay to have their kids participate in sports at sports clubs. Anna is one of the Put-In-Bay Panther cheerleaders this season. Cheerleaders are not to be found in German schools. Anna’s English is excellent, but she says she’s having problems saying her “r’s.” When she first arrived here, she sometimes didn’t understand everything that was said. She would nod and smile pretending she understood, but her English has improved immensely just in the few short months she’s been here. She also tells us her Facebook page is all in English. That’s pretty good for a young lady who has also studied French and Italian. Anna is not a stranger to foreign countries. She has traveled to Denmark, Italy, France, Turkey, Greece, England, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, and to the Dominican Republic with her parents on a two-week holiday.

After high school, Anna wants to go to the University and study to be either a lawyer or a psychologist. And, by the way, if you see
Anna this month, wish her a happy birthday. She turns 16 on the 28th of January.