Student Spotlight

A Computer Whiz on Exchange in Washington

Florian in his Computer Assisted Design class at his Washington high school.

From a YouTube clip to advanced 3-D renderings, Florian’s exchange journey from Germany to Washington state has been full of what he loves: computers. Read below as Florian shares his story in this fantastic student spotlight:

I made the decision to come to the US about one year before I got here. I was watching a guy on YouTube who does some funny videos and he decided to do an exchange year. So I was looking for some information in the internet and decided that I want to do the same. Late in the evening of that day I went to my dad and told him that I would like to do that and at first he was surprised but then he said that he would totally support me and so he did. On some days it looked like that he was even more excited than I was. The best part than was to get the call “you got placed.” The biggest fear that I had was not being able to understand the Americans, even so I was one of the best English students in my school.

My biggest passions are working on the computer and solving Rubik’s cubes. Here in America I found some other people that can solve the Rubik’s cube and it was nice to exchange techniques or race against each other. A big surprise was on Christmas where my American mom and dad got me 18 Rubik’s cubes and I still have a hard time figuring them all out. A big wish that I have is to get a trip to the Microsoft headquarters, because that’s not far away. Some years ago I had the dream to work there, that has changed, but I still want to be able to say that I was ‘in’ Microsoft.


Florian and his host parents visiting Mt. St. Helens together.

One part about the life in my new family, that I really like and enjoy is the way we live or do stuff together. I’m not talking about simple activities, like me and my mom playing cards together. It’s more about that we laugh about the same stuff, have the same taste, like to watch the same stuff in TV or other stuff of the daily life. A major ‘event’ happens every time my brother has a show. He is driving and repairing Monster trucks for a living and he is traveling with his team around America. Every show nobody here at home can wait to see the results, what place he got. Overall it’s just like living in a normal family, with the exception that I discover many new things every day.

The most surprising part was the school. One of the best things is how nice the American students are. I know that I’m not the most sociable person and so I thought that I might have some trouble finding friends, but that was actually very easy and fast and I’m happy that I know the friends I know. Going to school is a lot of fun for me and the time is going by so fast that I never know which day it is.

By far my most favorite class is CAD (computer-assisted-design). This is a class where we learn to assist the creation, modify, analyze or optimize designs. I started out in basic CAD, but my teacher quickly saw that I’m better placed in the advanced part of the class. By now I’m working with my laptop and a second monitor plugged into it to improve my workflow.

Later in life I want to be a 3D artist for movie VFX, which means I do stuff like putting Spaceships in Star Wars. Because the biggest and most awesome VFX companies are in America, it is very important for me to be able to speak English very well! Just recently I got to know some very nice institutions where I could make a master in fine arts or animation. I’m not sure yet if I want or can do that master degree, but I’m going to do my best.