Foreign exchange student brings talents from Germany

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Stahnke plays against Lawrence Central as a midfielder with the girls soccer team.

Lucy Pappas

Fabienne Stahnke, a foreign exchange student from Germany, came to the United States in August with the PAX-Academic Exchange Organization. 

In the fall, Stahnke played girls soccer on the junior varsity team as a midfielder. She came to NC after tryouts  already happened, so she tried out independently. After making the team, Stahnke had to complete 10 full practices before being cleared by the athletic trainers to play, causing her to miss out on some of the first games of the season. 

However, after being cleared, she became fully assimilated to the soccer program at NC. It was a different experience than what she was used to in Germany. 

”I played in Germany with my team, but I like it a lot better in America. It was so much fun to play here because everyone came together and there was a lot of team spirit,” Stahnke said

Germany organizes their athletic programs differently than many high school sports in the U.S. 

”In Germany, there are no school athletic teams, so I played on a club team. I think it is so much better playing for a school because the people you know and see at school come and support you, and you can say hey to your teammates during school,” Stahnke said. 

Stahnke does not plan on ending her athletic career playing soccer as a Panther. She is hoping to make the tennis team in the spring. 

”I want to play tennis because the experience I had with the soccer team helped me meet new people, and I really enjoyed being a part of a sport,” Stahnke said. 

She added, ”I also want to improve my tennis skills because I only played for two years in Germany.”

Stahnke adapted to the culture of high school sports in the U.S. during her time on the soccer team. It was a much larger commitment to play a sport in America than it was in Germany. 

”In Germany, we would have practice twice a week and do random drills. Here it is a lot more intense with practicing every day and playing a lot of competitive games,” Stahnke said. 

Stahnke is currently spending time in the weight room with the tennis team, preparing for the season to start in the spring. She has built strong relationships with her soccer and tennis teammates and looks forward to having memorable experiences through NC athletics.