Culture Collaboration: Lara Prokop


Provided by: L. Prokop

Lara Prokop enjoys her vacation to Poland while taking a stroll on the boardwalk. Since Poland used to be a part of Germany during World War 2, many building characteristics are very similar, as you can see in the picture above.

Abby Van Kula , VIdeographer

  Thanks to Millbrook’s foreign exchange student program, we are able to meet people from all over the world. One of our foreign exchange students this year is Lara Prokop, a student from Germany. Germany is roughly 4,308 miles away from Raleigh, meaning that in order to get there,  you would have to fly over the Atlantic Ocean. 

  School in Germany is very different than it is here in America. One major difference that Lara has noticed is the amount of students at the school. At her school back in Germany, she had around 400 students; Millbrook has almost 2,500 students, which is about six times the size. She also noticed the differences between the American school system versus the German school system. In the United States, students take multiple quizzes and tests throughout the school year, which was new for Lara. Since she did not take these multiple choice quizzes or tests at her school in Germany, it was much easier. However, she enjoys the range of electives that Millbrook has to offer that her other school did not. Another big difference that Lara realized war  in sports and how much they play a role in our school community. German schools do not have sports teams, so if a student wishes to participate in one, they would have to do it outside of school in clubs. She also said, “I’ve been living here for about three months now, and I still don’t understand why everyone is crazy about football, but I guess it’s kinda fun to watch even though I’ll probably never understand the hype or the rules.”

  Many people across the globe participate in different traditions, whether it is one based on their culture or if it is simply a family tradition. One of Lara’s family traditions is making chili every year during Halloween. She helps her family cook the chili, and they make a special vegetarian version for Lara. She will also get to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with her host family and their neighbors, which she will be helping to organize and cook for. She mentioned how she was extremely excited for her first American Christmas, as well. 

  One big part of Germany’s culture that Lara mentioned was Bavarian meals, such as pretzels and beer, which are popular in southern Germany. Another more commonly known celebration of her culture is Oktoberfest, which is mainly celebrated in Munich, where there are parades and other festivities. The cultural difference also depends on which part of Germany you are in, such as the warehouse district, which is located in Hamburg.

  We are glad that students, such as Lara Prokop, are able to come to our school and have many different experiences than they would have somewhere else. Staying educated on other cultures is very important because it gives you different perspectives, and it becomes much easier to understand other people.