German students get ready for the exchange

Nineteen German students have applied for the recent exchange with Lotus Valley International School. They all are eager to explore India, to get to know the food, the people and the culture. Furthermore, they are looking forward to hosting a foreign student in their house.

But hosting a guest as well as traveling abroad is not a task to manage easily. That’s why both projects must be prepared accordingly and that’s also why the German students met this week to train for the exchange.

The German students write down their first thoughts on India.

At the beginning of this first meeting, the students played a little game. They had to greet themselves with different greeting rituals from all around the world. These rituals varied from shaking hands, to touching food or to the traditional Maori hongi. Afterwards, the pupils of Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium talked about the awkwardness they felt during that game. Next the teacher in charge Wolfgang Poeschl explained to them, that this awkwardness can happen when different cultures come together. “What´s quite normal in one culture can be fairly awkward in another.” Therefore, the exchange students always must keep in mind that it is essential to learn about each other’s culture before meeting our friends from India. Only with such a cultural preparation we can avoid misunderstandings and can even show our Indian friend respect.

After that little game the participants agreed to learn some words in Hindi to welcome our new friends properly. And even if the pronunciation wasn’t perfect all the students had a lot of fun.

The one our meeting went on and the children described their expectations towards the exchange. They talked about their fears and about practical preparations like a valid passport.

But the most important topic that was addressed by the students was the profile they have to write about themselves. Only with a good description of their hobbies, their allergies or their diet it is possible to find the matching partner. In the next week, all the German students, therefore, will fill in a “small letter of introduction”. Perhaps they will already get to know the names of their Indian partners when we meet next time.

Media Rules – Thoughts on the recent project

When Donald J. Trump was informed that his inauguration speech was attended by far fewer people than Obama’s he claimed that it is all “fake news”. And even now, two years later the President continues to accuse the press of lying and even doesn´t hesitate to call the whole mainstream media “the enemy of the people.” That mindset is the reason why he creates his own news feed using Twitter to present alternative facts which often are in direct contradiction to proven pieces of evidence.

Firing his tweets several times a day the President of the United States demonstrates in an unprecedented way that today everybody can create his own reality. And many have followed his example and they post their personal thoughts in numerous blogs, on facebook or youtube neglecting the facts and presenting their crude ideas as the only truth.

But that is not how media should work! No media station, not even a private news channel should send unchecked stories, should mix conspiracy theories with proven facts. There are certain rules of quality to follow!

Free-Press - Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay.com
This project will explore the need for a free and independent press.

The participating students of our Indo-German exchange should learn these rules during our project. By talking to professional journalists and by visiting radio stations they should get to know the standards of an exacting investigation and the need for digging deep into a story before publishing false facts.

But only watching the media people is not enough. During the exchange, the students get the chance to create their own media too. Guided by journalists and reporters the children will attend workshops for creative writing and will publish articles about the trip. These professionals will also teach them about data privacy and about the need to ask people before publishing their pictures online.

Additionally, in a big movie studio, the German and Indian students even will make a small movie about the role of media in contemporary times. While doing that they will always have to question themselves whether they really fulfill the wanted standards of good media or whether they also only present false facts misguiding the consumer of media.

This year’s exchange named “Media Rules!” is therefore a project about making and receiving media. It is a chance to get to know the media culture of two countries and to discover that high-quality news always have to follow high-quality rules.

If one doesn’t understand this and if one can’t tell the real “fake news” from the truth, demagogues will win the crowd and the unadulterated truth will never be heard.

Looking back – Our visit in Germany

What did you do in Germany? Was your trip all just about sightseeing and food? I think, students and teachers of LVIS likewise are annoyed to answer such questions. 

Of course there was more! There was family live, our famous project work about small and middle sized companies and yes, there also was some sightseeing included. The following video, shown during the 2018 welcome Assembly and the 2018 Potluck Lunch with the parents gives you a small glimpse of our adventures.

Due to copyright issues the video is without sound. Just sing along any happy tune you know 😉

My Amazing Guest From Germany

Ameya and Wolfgang
The author of this article and his German guest.

In the summer of 2018, my mother had gone to Germany. This trip wasn’t a private trip but organised by the school. Of course! You must be wondering which school sends teachers away for a gala time. No school does that. As she was the in charge of the “Indo German exchange 2018” she was on duty with a group of ten students to Germany. She stayed there with a lovely and fun family. after 3 months, it was our turn to host the German in charge, Mr Wolfgang Poeschl.

Mr. Wolfgang Poeschl arrived with his student on the 27th of October in India. He was coming from Straubing a peaceful town in the South East Germany. My mother had told me that he was a great man.

At first, I thought that he would take time to adjust with the spicy Indian food, but when we ate lunch, I saw that he ate a whole big red chilli in one bite! I was really astonished. I found that Mr Wolfgang already was well aware of Indian environment, food and culture. I even noticed that he was not a person who just ate one kind of food but adapted with Indian food really quick. My mom was always so tensed that what would he eat but he always praised her food and never made a fuss.  Mr Wolfgang was always ready to try something new, something Indian. This made my mom’s job even easier.

He is a really jovial, knowledgeable person and of course I grew fond of him. Even my grandmother liked him a lot. It was always a fun to be with him.

Mr Wolfgang taught me Chemistry, how to play cards, make pancakes, emperor’s dish and even how to bargain!

Time flew past like anything and my whole family enjoyed every moment with him, especially all dinners and going to CP via Metro. This Diwali was a special one for us as we celebrated it with Mr Poeschl.

The most fascinating thing about Mr Poeschl was that he knew about the Hindu Mythology much more than us. He loved our crowded places. Photography is his passion and his keen observation could be seen in amusing pictures clicked by him.

I hope he enjoyed his stay with us as much as we did. I would like to host him again whenever he comes to India.

Written by AMEYA B.

Back in Good Cold Germany

It’s over, isn`t it? After a fantastic year full of joy, excitement, anticipation and loads of planning the German students finished their trip to India last week and arrived safely in Straubing, Germany.

Since last November both teachers in charge of the Indo German exchange stayed in permanent contact and designed the exchange project “From Mittelstand to Global Players”. They organised parent-teacher meetings as well as they continuously gathered the participating students. And finally, after several months of training and preparation the Indian delegation arrived in Bavaria and stayed there for two wonderful and enjoyable weeks.

Unfortunately, in the first weeks of June the Indian group departed and it began a seemingly endless period of waiting. But at last, at October 26th ten students of Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium boarded an airplane to New Delhi and were happily welcomed by their friends and host families. What followed were again two weeks of hard project work, joyful evenings with the families and the astonishing opportunity to be part of the Indian Diwali preparations.

During these two weeks the German children got the chance to get a glimpse of the Indian culture, to explore a foreign country and to be part of an Indian family. This experience was only possible due to the tremendous work and patience of the host parents and the Indian teacher in charge. Thank you, to all of you!   Continue reading “Back in Good Cold Germany”

Diwali on Whatsapp

As you all know, social media is a big thing in India. During the exchange projects with Germany various groups have been created in which the Indian students, parents and teachers are able to talk to each other and to organize the different trips.

During Diwali these groups were full with the usual greetings and wishes for a “Happy Diwali”, but in between one could also find pictures of families creating colourful rangoli or holding pujas. And if you really looked closely one got the glimpse of one or two Germans in traditional Indian dresses doing an aarti or kneeling in front of the gods. 

The following gallery is just a small, random selection of these pictures: