From Germany to Modesto – Tom Barysch’s journey from Lower Saxony to California’s Great Central Valley

After being inspired by the Great Gatsby, Tom came to the United States to learn more about American culture


Nicole Sheaffer, Activities Editor

Tom Barysch is our exchange student from Brunswick, Germany. He is technically in 11th grade back home and came to experience what it’s like for us seniors here at Enochs, therefore when he goes back home he is going to finish 12th and 13th grade. During the first two months, he said it was incredibly difficult to adjust to being away from family, adjusting to the different food, and of course a new life here in America and how different culturally we are. He said distracting himself and meeting friends with football, and the other foreign exchange students have helped. 

I was curious to know how different Germany and the states are. He told about how the people here in the States are more talkative but can come off fake sometimes. Otherwise in Germany people are more focused on themselves when interacting in public but are genuine. Also, people work shorter work days in Germany with more time to focus on other things. Considering food, the food is much fresher and you have to go shopping for food much more frequently than in the States because of all the preservatives we put in our food. College is also free where he is from. 

Tom’s hobbies include football, weightlifting, playing piano, and spending time with friends. He states getting involved really helps to make friends and stay busy. He stays with the Strong family, after coming from a different host family and attending Modesto High School. He loves and gets along with his host family very well. After finishing this exchange year and finishing his last 2 years in Germany, he would like to attend college and become a surgeon or engineer. He had the choice of going to Japan, Australia, or here, and after reading The Great Gatsby, he wanted to come here. After asking if he would ever come back to the U.S. his response was “Absolutely, I love New York and Santa Cruz.” 

He has traveled to Poland, France, Spain, Croatia, Africa, Austria, and many more. He has had a great time here in the States and has learned so much about different cultures adding America to his list of places he has been to. He says to anyone thinking of taking an exchange year, to do it because it is so worth it. He encourages everyone to travel, see the world, and experience all the different cultures for themselves.