Posted on Jan 27, 2019

Elisabeth with her AFS friend, Marianna, from Mexico.

Taken at Holy Hill where her ski team was competing.

Enjoying a no-school/snow-day tobogganing with her first-time-playing-in-snow friends from Mexico and Cameroon.

Our German RYE student, Elisabeth Burschel, has been living with Jan and Bob Blazich since early December. After spending August with Blazichs, she moved to the Timmer family home (behind Pukaite Woods) in September and will be with her third family, the Tischers, starting sometime in March. The Tischers live about a mile north of Freistadt. Her planned second family fell through when the father took a job in Denmark and the high school daughter decided to attend school in Spain.

Elisabeth is a very bright, caring and social young lady. She tends to be high energy and often challenges herself by keeping a very full and demanding calendar. She tries to keep a balance in her life, but the requirements of her coursework and activities often dictate how she uses her time. She knows that she pushes herself too hard at times, but resists cutting back on her schedule. She lives life to the fullest, and that is especially true during her short year in the US. Why else would she take the Polar Bear Plunge on New Year's Day?

Elisabeth is an outstanding student. She is currently taking AP Latin 5, Honors English Literature, Art, Orchestra and US History. She is on the Homestead ski team, plays violin in the chamber orchestra and is part of the pit orchestra for the upcoming spring musical. Elisabeth earned Senior High Honors for her first trimester at Homestead and played on the JV tennis team in fall. She recently started attending the Homestead Interact meetings when her schedule allows.

Elisabeth has built a wonderful circle of friends during her months at Homestead. This is often one of the hardest tasks for our visiting students. Elisabeth has three best friends and about 7 or 8 other friends. One of her best friends is an AFS student from Mexico. She has gotten to be very close to the other Rotary students in our district and hosted a group of them for an overnight on New Year's Eve. She recently attended the Homestead Winter Formal with a group of girls and hosted 8 friends afterwards for a sleepover party at the Blazichs’ house. Nearly 20 girls attended her 16th birthday party at the Timmers' in late November. When she has free time, which is rare, she enjoys going for coffee, connecting on the internet or attending house parties with other students. The Blazichs’ two dogs are her constant companions when she's home, and she willingly helps with meals, dishes and general tasks around the house.

Being 4000 miles from home hasn't always been easy for Elisabeth. Shortly after arriving in the US, she learned that her mother had significant heart problems and was not able to work for almost 2 months. Barbara, her mother, is doing well now. Of course she missed her family over the holidays, but was able to connect with them often thanks to the internet. Elisabeth has kept up with several friends in Germany, but that can be good and it can be bad depending on how her friends back home are doing. She enjoyed a short visit with an aunt and uncle in early January, and her parents and brother will be coming to visit her later in the school year.

Elisabeth is now just over half way through her time in the US. Upcoming events for her include attending a Latin convention in Madison, joining the Homestead lacrosse team in spring and taking the RYE student west coast trip after graduation.

-Images and Story courtesy of Bob Blazich