Hudson High School student set to study in Germany – Hudson Star Observer

Ben Mertig, rising Hudson High School senior, will spend the 2022-23 school year in Germany as an exchange school.
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It was seventh grade when Benjamin Mertig was first introduced to the German language. 
He and his classmates were given the opportunity to study Spanish, German or Mandarin. 
Ben Mertig, rising Hudson High School senior, will spend the 2022-23 school year in Germany as an exchange school.
Five years ago when Mertig made that choice, he couldn’t have predicted it would set him up on an airplane to spend a year abroad in Germany. 
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program chose 250 high school students from across the U.S. to participate in a stint abroad next school year. 
Though not the first of the Hudson high schoolers to receive the award, Mertig is the only one to have received the scholarship for the 2022-23 school year. 
The specific program Mertig is participating in began in 1983 to strengthen the relationship between Germany and the U.S. It is jointly funded and operated by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag. 
“When I took the German [class]… it kinda just clicked with me,” Mertig said about his seventh grade experience. 
Since then, he’s been amply interested in German culture, history and the language. 
When high school came around, it was a no-brainer that Mertig wanted to continue with his German curriculum.
Come junior year, the opportunity to apply for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Experience was presented to him through his continued studies of the language. 
“I kind of pondered [applying] for a bit,” Mertig said. 
“Do I want to sacrifice my senior year?”
“Do I want to stay home and be comfortable?” 
He thought he may as well apply. If it doesn’t work out, nothing is lost. 
“But what if it does?” he said. “Then it might change a lot.” 
Between one and three students may apply to this program from Hudson High School in a given year. 
This August, Mertig will be the one to hop on the plane. After flying overseas for the first time in his life, Mertig will spend a few weeks at what he called “language camp,” before taking a train to his host family. 
There, he will experience German culture, firsthand, as a high school student during the school year – about nine months. 
“Mainly, I’m excited,” Mertig said. 
Of course there are nerves, but the things he’ll get to try and experience are too intriguing to let nerves get the better of him. 
The days are creeping by and his take off date in August is quickly approaching. 
Though Mertig won’t be graduating with his Hudson High School class in the spring of 2023, he’ll have worlds of stories to tell them when he returns. 
Written By
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The Star-Observer is a weekly newspaper established in 1854 covering St. Croix County, Wisconsin. publishes new content daily. Our beat reporters are on the ground covering local government, schools, sports, business and culture.



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