In the famous 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” the main character Dorothy undertakes unforgettable adventures in a foreign country. There she avoids mysterious dangers, meets strange looking animals and makes friends for live. But at the end of the movie she feels a little homesick and by tapping her heels three times while thinking “There’s no place like home” she is magically transported in her home country.
Where is that country full of magic and miracles?
A movie? A fairy tale? Only fiction? For 17 students of Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium the trip to India felt exactly like that. They have heary of that magical country in the east. They have seen pictures of elephants and monkeys and they read about the dangers that can occur there. But they were brave enough to start that adventure and like Dorothy they all met wounderful people and became friends. They were allowed to experience the real India, the India full of colours, smells, noises and tastes and were guided through the dangers like traffic, smog or egotistic youngsters hungry for pictures. That previously foreign country became a second home.
Time to to go home
But like Dorothy our students missed their family members in Germany. Their pets, their parents and even their siblings. It was time to say goodby. Thats why an Friday the 10th we tapped our heels together and were magically transported by plane to Germany. But not before we celebrated an outstanding farewell party, cried and laughed a lot and promised to see each other soon.
On Saturday 11th a group of parents waited in front of Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium and went crazy when the bus with their children turned around the corner, opend the doors and released all the exchange participants.
We are gone – our love stays with you
The adventures, the friendship, the whole exchange will surely never be forgotten. And who knows when the next children will be transported to that foreign country full of miracles and wonders?
Thanks to everyone for your help, your patience, your love.
Today is the last day of the exchange. I don’t know how time flew so fast. It feels like they came to india yesterday and now they are going😭😭. I have learned a lot from this exchange. How to adjust, sacrifice etc. the best thing about the exchange is that the bonds we make stays with us our life. If we ever visit Germany I surely know that we all have a second home and memories there. I will miss them sooooo much. And for sure during there farewell we all will be sad and emotional and would be expressing our love for them. Today is one of the toughest day of my lifeee❤️🇩🇪😭❤️. I hope they all have a good and safe flight. bis später😭❤️❤️
There have been lot of times that my friends’ children have stayed with us but it is for the first time that we had a child from another country with different language, culture and of course taste, stay as a family member for a fortnight. The entire experience of hosting an adolescent child from a completely alien setup was an interesting and enlightening one. Our german guest child Val is disciplined, amiable frank , courteous , adjusting and inquisitive. He was interested in knowing our way of life and adventurous enough to taste variety of Indian dishes and of course logic behind doing certain things the way we do !!!
15 days passed very smoothly and it was indeed great to have him stay with us. We had our apprehensions around our ability to be a good host in accordance with the traditions of Indian culture of treating ‘guest equivalent to God’; but I am happy to say that Val is a nice person and cooperated all the way of being a wonderful guest and has indeed become part of our family for life!
Here, I sincerely compliment the stellar work done by the teachers in managing the exchange program intricacies meticulously. Partner selections were near to perfect as their interests matched and there is not a single dull moment – the theme of sports added lot of energy and action to the entire program. Continuous guidance from organising teachers in managing multi-faceted activities, programs and excursions was a big comfort for us and gave a sense of assurance around children getting holistic benefit from program and developing into a responsible and learned global citizen.
The last day in Germany! All students, parents and teachers gather once more to give the exchange an official ending. It is time to say farewell; but luckily the students will see each other again in October. That’s why you can see a lot of smiles; only sometimes you get a glimpse of a tear running down a student’s face.
The weather is just nice, when all family members of our exchange project arrive at Karmeliten restaurant in Straubing. Most of them are dressed in traditional clothes. Indian or Bavarian? That difference doesn’t bother any more. Even at the table teenagers and adults of both countries sit in a mixed way next to each other and chat about their last adventures. Mr Wolfgang Poeschl, teacher of Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium and project leader on German side, welcomes all guests and invites them to start with the official dinner. Indian curry, Bavarian dumplings and pasta – even the food is multicultural this day.
In the official speeches, the teachers thank the parents for their patience and love, they thank the principals for giving consent to the exchange and of course they congratulated all the students which behaved so well and were great represents of their home countries. All of them get certificates in which every official activity of the project is mentioned. Mr Poeschl also handes over a trophy for Lotus Valley International School. This cup should remind every student of the project “Different country – different sports” which’s German part officially ends with the farewell dinner.
In an now following informal part of the farewell dinner a Bavarian musician plays famous German songs at a hand organ. The German teachers Mrs Wiedemann and Mr Poeschl have to sing along and the laughter is a worthy closure of the evening and the unforgettable stay of our Indian friends in Germany.