Before the exchange – Jakob’s first impressions

And again a student writes about his preparations, his hopes and his plans for the German-Indian exchange project. This time Jakob, a student of Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasiums tells about his first impressions.

Anspannung, Vorbereitung und Vorfreude

Nur noch 11 Tage. Nur noch 11 Tage, dann kommen endlich unsere Gäste aus Indien. Ich bin schon sehr gespannt. Ich hoffe, ich finde durch diesen Austausch ein paar neue Freunde. Ich bin schon sehr gespannt, wie das Alltagsleben ausschaut, es sind ja zwei so unterschiedliche Kulturen. Ein bischen leichter wird es aber trotzdem für mich sein. Wir durften nämlich schon zwei Inder bei uns aufnehmen. Meine Mutter und meine Schwester haben ebenfalls schon bei diesem Austausch teilgenommen.

Trotzdem: Jetzt ist es etwas ganz anderes. Mein indischer Austauschschüler kommt ja schließlich zu mir und nicht zu meiner Schwester.

Mein indischer Gast wird sein eigenes Zimmer bekommen. Unser Gästezimmer. Das haben wir auch schon ein bischen hergerichtet.

Auch Jakobs Mutter hat schon am Indienaustausch teilgenommen
Jakobs Mutter hat 2014 auch schon am Indienaustausch teilgenommen

Wir waren sogar schon am Flohmarkt und haben Sachen verkauft, die in diesem Raum überflüssig waren, um noch mehr Platz zu schaffen. Ansonsten versuche ich es auf mich zukommen zu lassen. Vieles haben mir meine Mama und meine Schwester schon erzählt.

Ansonsten freue ich mich eigentlich riesig auf diesen Austausch, bei dem zwei Welten, die unterschiedlicher kaum sein könnten, aufeinander treffen.

Is there something like the perfect guestroom?

What does the perfect room for an exchange student it look like? Because we can’t offer a full appartment to my guest, I tried to create such a perfect room once again, yesterday.

Guestroom used by our Canadian guest
Guestroom used by our Canadian guest

Since yesterday we are hosting a Canadian teacher in our house (my wife is also in charce of some exchange projects). Unfortunatelly we only can offer our tiny  so called ‘book room’ which in addition is  crammed with all kind of odds and ends.

Although it is not very big, it can guarantee some kind of privacy to the guest. Prepared with some extra gadgets it can become home for the two week stay of our Canadian friend.


  1. bed – ok, it is only a day bed and once unfolded you can’t fold it up again easily.  Using most of the space of the room it has to be a multifunctional furniture on which you  sleep, sit, relax and work.
  2. wardrobe – Not all of it, but we could empty the mddle space. Nobody likes to live out of the luggage for two weeks.
  3. wifi password – we just activated our guest network of our router and the guest can talk with the home country, can read international news or just watch funny cat videos. Hey, it’s not the dark ages any more!
  4. multiple plug, because there are never enough power socket. Especially when you think of all the laptops, cell phones, speakers and other stuff without a young person can’t survife.
  5. an extra blanket and cusion. Most of the guests won’t dare to ask. So we put them in a visible spot in advance.
  6. some water and some chockolate to sugar the first night a little bit.
  7. towels – they can stay in the bathroom later, but it looks nice if the guest sees that everything is prepared.
  8. Mirror and hairdryer – it shortens the time in the bathroom 😉
  9. alarm clock – better be safe than sorry
  10. pen and paper for short notes
  11. some books to read
  12. as you can see on the picture, our guestroom comes with a sleeping cat on the couch. Our guest loves cats and our tomcat sensed that immediately and leaves the room very rarely.

And of course there will be a short introduction in the use of heating, shutters and our strange German windows. Most countries use different kind of windows and a lot of the guests have problems how to open them in different ways.

We hope that our guest will enjoy this little room. Did we forget anything? Please tell us in the comments!


Before the exchange – Anya’s first impressions

In the column “before the exchange” the German and Indian students explain why they participate in the exchange project. They write about their first preparations and their first contact with their partner.

Today Bhavya, a student of Lotus Valley International School, tells us what she is looking forward to, how she stays in contact with her partner and why she is participating in our students exchange.

Speeking the German language quite fluently, she wrote his full statement in German:

Ich bin Anya Kalra von Lotus Valley Internationale Schule. Ich wurde ausgewählt, zur Teilnahme am Deutsch-Austauschprogramm mit 15 meinen Freunden.

Unterschiedliche Kleidung in Bayern und Indien
Students wear different traditional clothes in India and Bavaria

Ich freue mich auf neue Bekanntschaften, neue Freundschaften, neue Orte,  unterschiedliche Kleidung, neue Kulturen usw.

Ich habe schon mit meiner Familie in Deutschland gesprochen und telefoniert. Deutschland ist  ein schönes Land und ich habe es schon besucht. Aber jetzt werde ich mit meinen Freunden es erfahren. Ich habe gerade angefangen , Videos auf Youtube von Jugendlichen und auch ein paar Interviews von den Menschen in Deutschland zu sehen. Ich bin sehr glücklich, diese Chance zu haben. Ich bin in Kontakt mit meiner deutschen Partnerin durch Skype, Snapchat usw… Ich bin sicher, dass das ein unvergessliches Erlebnis wird. Ich werde so viel über Deutschland wissen. Ich möchte auch lernen, wie man mit einer fremden Familie lebt.

Ask a parent – more thoughts about the exchange project

The parents are deeply involved in every exchange process. Not only do they pay for the tickets, they invite a foreign teenager to their house and invite him to become a family member. For two weeks they have to take care of one more child.

Is it really worth that work?

Again, we interviewed a mother and a father of the Indian exchange students to get the answers:

The mother of Muskan talks about the exchange with Germany
Thoughts of a father - why should somebody take part in an exchange with Germany


Different countries, different customs

How to avoid missunderstandings

In our recent posts you can often read about misunderstandings that can happen on both sides during an exchange project. But how can you avoid those misunderstandings and why do they happen so often?

An mathematical example

It shouldn’t take you too long to get the result for an easy calculation like 8 – 2. But how long will it take you, when the well known rules of calculation do not apply any more. Imagine the symbol plus is now representing a division and when you see a division you must multiply. Try to solve the following equations as fast as possible. Use the following new rules:

+ turns to /, / turns to  *, * turns to and turns into +

8-2 =
12+4 =
4*3 =
6/2 =
12*2 =
20+10 =

Was it more difficult than ususal? It gets better when you practice more often. But you still have to stay concentrated all the time. Otherwise you fall back into old patterns.

Different countries, different rules

When you enter a foreign country you also have to apply to new rules. But contrary to the example above nobody tells you these rules, you have to figure out the norms and conventions all by yourself. And when you finaly get to know the right rules you have to apply to them accordingly all the time.

Can you imagine how exhausting it is when you try not to make any mistakes and you  ponder all the time how to interpret certain customs the right way?

If you make a small mistake only once, you create one of our so called small misunderstandings!

How to avoid misunderstandings

But you can get rid of those misunderstandings. First you have to show tolerance when somebody doesn’t act like you expected. Second, you have to to project your self into the other’s perspective. What could be the real purpose that you guest acted like he did?

At the Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium we do a lot of role plays during our intercultural training. The students act and diskuss different scenarios. In all those stories somebody behaves different and therefore doesn’t answer your expectation. With the help of an experienced teacher the students talk about the situation and consider the actual reason for the strange behaviour.

My guest stays in his room all day! Why doesn’t he/she eat our food? Doesn’t he like what we cook? Why doesn’t he want to attend my training  with the football club?

Just read our worksheet about this problem (in German language only). Or tell us your story! Could you solve a misunderstanding with the guest you hosted? Or did you even cause a small misunderstanding? We are looking forward to reading your comments!