Although she graduated from Uni High last spring, area resident Annemily Hoganson will be attending an extra year of high school — and for good reason.
As part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, Hoganson will spend a year in the northern German town of Rosengarten, just outside of Hamburg.
“I’ve been studying German in school for a few years, and I heard about it through my German teacher,” she said. “It sounded like such an amazing experience.”
The program, which began in 1983, was created by the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag in order to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Hoganson leaves for Germany on Friday, and after arriving, she’ll begin a month of classes with the 349 other students who were awarded the scholarship.
This won’t be the first time she has lived overseas. When Hoganson was a freshman in high school, she and her family lived in England, where her parents, both University of Illinois professors, studied.
That year abroad, when she traveled all over Europe, gave her a worldview she didn’t previously have, she said.
“It sort of gave me an idea of how people outside the U.S. think about the U.S.,” she said. “Especially in a place that was an English-speaking country, I was really expecting it to be similar to the U.S. culturally, and there were things that were different, and it just opened my eyes to what certain things are inherent to U.S. culture and the culture in Champaign.”
In Germany, she’ll see yet another culture. Although she visited that country during her year abroad, she didn’t visit its north side.
Living with German host parents will have a huge impact on her experience, her mother thinks.
“When we were overseas together, she was still living with her anglophone parents,” her mother, Kristin Hoganson, said. “We would speak American English around the dinner table. We were all outsiders really struggling to figure out a brand new system over time. I think having the insider connection will make it a very different experience. I think she’ll really get not just a touristic sense of a country or the type of learning she can get from a book. I think she’ll get a much more insider view of German culture and society. I just think it’s an extraordinary learning opportunity.”
Hoganson was matched up with a host mother who is a Swedish-to-German translator and a host father who is an architect, and she’ll head to a prestigious high school, called a gymnasium, where she’ll study for a year.
It’s easy for mom to tell how excited her daughter is. For months, Annemily Hoganson has been working on a quilt to give to her host family.
“She only would do something like that for someone who she’s really grateful for or appreciative of,” Kristin Hoganson said with a laugh. “I think she’s very adventuresome. She is up for challenges, she’s very curious, but she’s also a bit of a bookworm, so I think it will cause her to dig deep into herself and go outside her comfort zone to meet new people and learn new things.”
In a year, the recent graduate will head to Carlton College in Minnesota, where she hopes to study either math or law. But for now, she’s looking forward to the new experience ahead.
“I like to go on adventures and try new things, but definitely living in the U.K. makes me feel confident for the coming year,” she said. “It’ll be a really interesting experience.”