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German exchange student slam dunks in America

By Lindsay Brown
June 7, 2023

German exchange student Luke Neuhoff is far from his native land, but he feels right at home on a basketball court.

Neuhoff visited McNary and Keizer back in April as part of the two-week German exchange program. He stayed with freshmen Arrow Phillips and his family.

Neuhoff loves playing basketball and currently plays on a team consisting of 16-17 year-old boys back in Germany. 

“We’re really bad because people are coming to us now who've never played basketball before. They can't even dribble a ball so it's really bad,” he said.

It's very difficult to have a successful basketball team in Germany because most teams don't even have coaches or great players, he said.

Basketball in Germany is not quite as popular as it is in The United States, he said. Because soccer is the most popular sport in Germany they have many sponsors and almost every school has multiple teams that come out of it and feed into the professional leagues. 

Stuttgart has one basketball team, the International American School of Stuttgart, but according to Luke they're bad, really bad. “We beat them 125-24 when we were 12,” he said. 

Basketball is not the only difference he has noticed between Germany and the United States.

He said his host family eats a lot of fast food, which is very different from people in Germany, he said. 

“In-N-Out Burger is great,” he said,  “but Taco Bell is really gross.”

He has sampled some Italian, but said it wasn’t real Italian food. “There's too much fat, sugar, salt, or tastes like nothing,” he said. 

Teenage life is very different here, he said. 

“It's kind of cool that everyone has a car and can drive around, especially as a teenager. I would love to do that,” he said.

Neuhoff said kids back in Germany don’t date each other that much from their same school. “It's like an unspoken rule at our school because it quickly gets weird. Because there's only 500 students and everyone knows each other,” he said.

He said he felt that the boys here treat the girls with a lot of disrespect, and that there's a lot more respect when students tease each other in Germany.

Neuhoff enjoyed his experience in the United States. “My host family are really really kind people. I'm really good friends with my host partner, Arrow  Phillips.”

“It's sort of feeling like visiting your aunt, uncle and cousin right now.”