Jonas Boseila, center, with his Delphos host parents Ann and James Benfield.
DELPHOS — Traveling and studying foreign languages is not a new thing for 16-year-old visiting German student Jonas Boseila, His decision to come to the United States was centered around language as well as cultural curiosity.
“I wanted to improve my English. My pronunciation wasn’t so good,” Boseila said. “English is the world’s language and you need it for most jobs. I also wanted to see the American culture and people.”
In addition to German and English, Boseila can also speak French and Arabic.
“I learned how to speak French when I was in Italy,” he said. “I know Arabic because I was born in Egypt and lived there until I was 10 with my mother and my younger sister Sarah. My mother is German and my father is Egyptian. My father is a doctor and he was living in Germany because he could make more money there. When I was 10, we moved to Germany to live with him. My mother used to be a nurse but now she works in a private practice as someone who takes calls and my father is head of thoracic surgery in the city hospital.”
During his time here in Delphos, Boseila has been enjoying himself.
“I visited Niagara Falls with my host family. It was very beautiful,” he said. “We also went to Amish Country, which was interesting. We had a lot of fun there, too. I like the mall in Lima. We went to Cedar Point, too, and there’s the Chicago trip this month with all of the other exchange students.”
Even arriving in the United States was exciting for Boseila.
“Our flight from Washington to Detroit was canceled for some reason, I’m not sure why,” he said. “We had to stay the night in a hotel, which was great. It was actually a lot of fun because it was Washington, D.C.”
Back in Germany, there are no school teams for sports but Boseila has a soccer team he plays with regularly.
“I miss my soccer team. I just miss getting to play with them,” he said. “They still invite me to things on Facebook and I have to get on there and tell them no, I can’t come because I’m not there. I get to play soccer here, too. I practice with Dominik, one of the other exchange students. I’ve also been lifting with one of the girl exchange students, Alicia.”
Back home, Boseila says he meets his friends to hear music in the city, go to the cinema and play basketball, soccer or tennis for fun. Here in the United States, he’s able to do some of the same things and add some new recreational activities, as well.
“I like to watch the football games. I don’t really like the rain and the cold but the games are a lot of fun,” he said. “I also got a chance to play golf and that was very fun, I would do it again. We’ve been to the theater to see The Bourne Legacy and Dark Knight Rises. I also really enjoy the television show Necessary Roughness, the one with the football player.”
Boseila says school is where he notices the most differences between the two countries.
“Here at St. John’s, the periods are right after another. In Germany we have breaks in between. Also, we don’t have uniforms back home. In Germany, my favorite class is gym but here you only get 30 minutes and by the time you’ve warmed up you don’t really have time to do anything,” he said. “My favorite subject here is biology but only because I like the teacher.”
Boseila’s host parents Ann and James Benfield make him feel comfortable and at home, which helps with homesickness.
“I miss my friends and family of course, but I get to Skype with them. I’m very busy, though, so I don’t worry about it. Plus I have a nice family here now and my host parents tease me, too, so they’re like real parents,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends. I go to school with Dominik back in Germany and I’ve become good friends with the girl exchange students here. My host parents have a grown daughter who has a son that I hang out with a lot, too.”
When he graduates, Boseila says he would enjoy coming back to America.
“I would like to maybe come back to go to college and play soccer,” he said. “I have a friend at home who would like to come with me. I think every kid in Germany would enjoy coming here at least once. We really like fast food but we don’t eat a lot of it. I like the clothes better here too. It’s been very interesting and I think it’s been a good experience for me. People here are so nice and helpful. In Germany, not everyone will say, ‘Hello, how are you?’ when you’re walking down the street but they do here. It’s nice.”
Boseila and the other German students will return home on December 8.