TYLER - As another school year ends, a family begins their 5,000 mile journey home.
Friedrich Troeps is a Christian school teacher and school administrator from Siegen, Germany who spent the year teaching at Grace Community School in Tyler.
"I'm here right now at Grace teaching a German culture class," he said.
Troeps and wife Svenja began planning the year-long sabbatical to Texas in 2012. At the time, they had three children.
"We found out half a year before we were scheduled to come that we would have a big surprise," Mrs. Troeps explained.
"Of course, people told us 'that means you will not go and do your exchange in the States," said Friedrich.
On August 26, the couple's fourth child, Kaleb, arrived at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler.
Kaleb's birth might bring changes to the year his older siblings had planned abroad, but Bennet, Josias and Phinea didn't mind. The three took in all East Texas had to offer.
"It's just different culture, so we've learned about y'all's culture," explained Bennet.
Although they took English classes in Germany, the kids said their skills improved ten-fold while living in East Texas.
"They have broadened their whole life perspective and horizon, and they have friends for life," said Friedrich.
Even more so, he said they grew as a family.
"Our family has greatly benefited from our stay in the States just as a family spending time together," said Friedrich. "So that's a really great thing for us."
On June 4, the Troeps family will return to Germany as a family of six.
A group of students from Grace Community School will visit the family's hometown of Siegen this summer.
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