Hannah Vokes & Alex Cranston 2015-16
German Exchange: 2015 – 2016
The German Exchange of 2015-2016 was a trip of a life time for all of us keen travelers! It was so appealing because it was an immersion with the language we were studying at school so we weren’t completely thrown in the deep end though it was still a positive shock to the system. Not only did we broaden our language, but we got to experience a real insight into the life a German family, which enhanced our understanding of their culture. It was great to make what we were learning about in class, a reality. We are so appreciative of the way we now view, not only German culture but Australian as well, it makes us feel like we have obtained a more mature and experienced perspective on what unites people from opposite ends of the world.
We would like to thank our travel leaders, Ms. Karen and Mrs. Sylvia Rucker. The tour group greatly appreciates the way they looked after us so well, putting up with more than twenty teenagers and trusting to explore independently. Also to Linda Mains, for making this trip possible, it wouldn’t have been as great of an experience without your hard work and organisation! It truly was a life changing trip and wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Alex and Hannah, two students from the recent exchange, share a short recount of just one of the many exciting adventures during their stay in Germany:
Hannah: Throughout my stay in Germany, my host family had a small shack on the coastal of Netherlands, where they travel to every year for New Year’s Eve. When visiting the Netherlands with my host family, I was interesting to hear their accent, which seemed to me like it was half English half German. On the day of New Year’s Eve, Birte, my host sister, and I went out on a shopping spree, not to buy clothes, but to buy fireworks for the evening’s celebration. It was strange to see children at the age of 8 buying fireworks and some families spending over $500 for a nights worth of fireworks. That evening my host family and I walked up onto the dunes to light our fireworks and at 12 o’clock it was the most spectacular, almost birds eye view, of the millions of fireworks coming from the houses that stood below us.
Alex: While I was so excited to experience a different culture and practice my German, I was quite scared to spend 6 and a half weeks with a family that wasn’t my own. I was terrified of offending them with my ignorant Australian ways but when we arrived in Frankfurt airport the welcome I received was so lovely it put my fears to rest and other than falling down their attic I didn’t have one bad experience. My host mother and host sister even took me to Berlin which was absolutely amazing, it was -14 degrees at the time but the East Side Gallery was so inspiring you forgot about the fact you couldn’t feel your hands, at least for a second or so. Meeting so many lovely people was such a highlight for me and traveling in the south of Germany and Austria really opened educated in in the German culture. We had so much fun on the tour, became closer friends and made lots of new ones.
2015-16 group in Melsungen
Report by Taylor Zapantis 2013-14 / QASMT
During the Summer holidays, I had the privilege to go to Germany for a 6 week exchange. Myself, along with 10 other Australians from different schools across the state made the arduous journey to Germany where we would then separate to live with our host-families. While living with my host family, I was immersed in both the language and culture, being forced to go to a German school on a daily basis and interacting with my host family in the mornings/evenings with my host-sister Rebecca’s constant help and guidance. Although spending both Christmas and New Year’s away from my family was difficult, my host-family welcomed me with open arms. It was possibly the best Christmas I’ve ever had. Only a few weeks into my stay, the Australian exchange students met up again to go on a one week tour around Germany and Austria. During this tour, we had countless opportunities to wander the cities we visited, allowing us to be independent and have to use our German in order to navigate around the city.
I had just as much fun when my host sister came to stay with me for 6 weeks earlier in the year. She was able to significantly improve her English and build confidence within herself.
Overall, I would definitely recommend for any student doing German to participate in the SAGSE German Exchange program. Not only will it improve your German by a huge margin, provide you with an unforgettable experience, but it will also give you a friend that you will keep for life.
Taylor Zapantis 2013-14 / QASMT