Exchange student off to the Alps

DALLAS -- Dallas High School's Joel Shetterly will get a good test for his German speaking in the coming months.

Dallas' Joel Shetterly brushes up on his German

DALLAS -- Dallas High School's Joel Shetterly will get a good test for his German speaking in the coming months.

Shetterly, a Dallas Rotary exchange student, will spend his junior year at a culinary economics high school in South-Central Austria.

He'll be in the small town of Gnesau in the province of Carinthia, in the Swiss Alps near the Italian border.

The people of Carinthia speak German, a language Shetterly has studied.

He said he didn't want to commit to a language until he knew where he was going. He found out five months ago. Since then he has been working with a German tutor as well as attending preparation classes provided by the exchange program.

Shetterly didn't choose which part of the world he would be visiting, but said he is excited with Austria.

"You don't choose. It's more of, "Sit back and let rotary take you for a ride,'" Shetterly said.

When he arrives in Austria next week, he'll be placed in an intensive German language immersion class with the other exchange students at his school. After that, it'll be classes as usual.

"I'll be attending all the regular classes and will be expected to keep up ... I'm really interested in the culinary focus of this school," he said.

Shetterly will leave for Austria on Aug. 9 and will return home sometime next June. Like the Rotary student who will be staying in Dallas, Shetterly will live with three different families during his year abroad.

As of now, he knows nothing about them -- except that the father of his first family is the school's headmaster.

"And I only found that out by chance. I know nothing else about him," Shetterly said.

To aid students in adjusting to the new culture, they aren't allowed to have contact with home for 90 days. After that they are encouraged to contact their families on a limited basis.

The idea is to keep students from dealing with the cultural shock they may feel by depending too much on contact from home.

Shetterly's parents plan to visit him in Austria before he returns.

For more information: Rotary Exchange, Russ Dimberg 503-831-3626 or


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