German Amity Scholar Pia Bruch spends a semester as a Falcon


Herr Crites and Bruch work with the overhead projector during their first hour German 5 class. Photo by Lauren Allison

Ms. Pia Brüch excitedly begins her day in Herr Crites’ German room, looking forward to sharing stories and cultural insight from her home in Germany to many eager students at RHS. As she fondly recollects memories from her home country, she is just as eager as the students she teaches to immerse herself in American culture for a semester of studying abroad, and can’t wait for her bright future of teaching back home in Germany.

“I wanted to do the internship because I wanted to get more first-hand insight on what American schooling feels like since I’m going to be an English teacher in Germany,” Ms. Brüch said.  “(School here) is a lot different from how it is in Germany, because German classrooms tend to be very strict. I like how playful it is (at RHS), and I think it’s an awesome change.”

While Brüch looks forward to the school year in the new atmosphere within RHS, Herr Crites and many students are excited about the learning opportunities, both linguistic and cultural, having an Amity Scholar in the classroom will bring.

“I think it’s really cool how she can offer another perspective, as even though I’ve studied German and I’ve visited Germany, she’s lived it,” Herr Crites said. “There’s only so much that I can share with the kids because I can only go off of my own personal experiences; I’ve never been to Oktoberfest because I’m always teaching during the fall months, for example, and Pia is from Bavaria, where it takes place, so she did a really great presentation on that a few weeks ago. I love having her here because she can add so much cultural insight to the class.”

While Pia prepares different presentations to teach the class as a whole about German culture, through staying with different host families of seniors (Louis Rolland during first quarter and Claire McPherson for second quarter), she has the opportunity to make a connection with specific students who plan to use German in their future careers.

“I’m staying with the Rollands right now, and they’re French, so it’s funny because we’re like a European Island in the middle of Rochester Hills,” (Bruch) said. “They’re really nice, and we’ve been doing a lot of cool things together like going to different museums or football games. I love being able to see American culture through living with a family like this.”

Rolland loves being a part of Pia’s host family for first quarter, and showing her around Michigan as well as the opportunities for cultural exchange between them are his favorite parts of having her stay with his family.

“(Hosting Pia) is just like having an older sister. We like to have dinner together and watch TV and everything, and we’ve been able to show her around Rochester and Detroit, too,” Rolland said. “She said life is really different here from how it is in Germany, but she really likes it and the opportunity it gives her to see our culture, and we love having her stay with us.”

Through having Bruch as an honorary part of his family for the quarter, Rolland appreciates her help in advancing his German education for the purposes of his aspiring career in engineering even after he finished German 5 as a junior.

“I’m actually doing an internship at an engineering company right now, and so they’re asking me how well I can know German technical terms because, and Pia has been a huge help with that for me,” Rolland said. “She’ll talk about things culture-wise that are really interesting, too; it’s mainly just really nice to be able to talk to someone that’s actually from Germany, rather than an intermediate.”

Senior Claire McPherson is very excited to be a part of Bruch’s host family for second semester, and, much like Rolland, looks forward to discussing her future with the German language with her.

“I’m taking German when I get into college, so I thought it’d be really cool to get more insight on the culture from hosting her,” McPherson said. “I’m probably going to do the exchange program once I get into a university, but this is super convenient for right now, especially because it’s only for a quarter. Pia is obviously older than me, so she has more experience with life and with being an exchange scholar, and since she’s a student, she can tell me about what college is like in Germany, too.”

In addition to discussing differences in schooling with her host student, Bruch is equally excited to stay with the McPhersons to celebrate the American holidays that occur during the late fall to the early winter.

“I change to (staying with) the McPhersons next quarter, and they’re a really American family, so it’s even more different from what I’m used to, and I’m definitely looking forward to that,” (Pia) said. “I’m especially excited for Christmas with the McPhersons and having a cultural exchange there with them, and teaching the class about German Christmas traditions, too.”
McPherson is equally excited add to the cultural exchange taking place through having Bruch stay in Rochester Hills, and is also looking forward to showing her these traditions as well.

“I’m excited to show her how things are in America because my family does so many stereotypical American things, especially around Christmastime, and she’ll be staying with me for that,” McPherson said. “I’m excited for her to learn more about our culture even just in Rochester Hills, and to be able to kind of delve into her culture first-hand while she explores ours.”