In barely two weeks we are going to fly to our partner school in India. This means it is high time to inform the parents of the latest news from Lotus Valley, to hand out the schedule prepared diligently, and to answer the most pressing questions of all participants. Therefore, the German parents, some of the exchange students and me, being the participating teacher will gather at the Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium this Monday evening.
The most urgent question to answer will certainly be whether we will get our visa in time. Luckily, I got an email this week from the consulate of India in Munich guarantying us the help of the consulate. Thus, I feel more than positive that the visa problems of the last weeks are off the table and that there won’t be any more surprises.
As we also already got our tickets from our travel agent we are theoretically ready to travel, and the meeting is obsolete, isn’t it? That’s a hopeful but somehow naïve wish. The experience of several years of exchange have taught us that there are far more topics to clarify, not only to settle the parents’ worries but also to avoid further misunderstandings.
So, here is my checklist for all the teachers who must conduct such a meeting. I tried to make a list of all the topics that usually arise during the meeting and that I put in my presentation in advance. Please drop a comment if I forgot an issue.
I still remember the day Aditi asked me for her allowing her to go to a German exchange with pleading eyes.
It was her dream from the day she took German as her third language. She knew it’s her 10th and mid term after the vacations will be really hard, and I could say a “no” but with a big heart I allowed her because I knew, no marks or academic achievement can ever give her this opportunity of going on a cultural programme, living with a totally different family and being a part of their daily routine.
The opportunity to experience another culture firsthand, by living with a native family is a chance of a lifetime.
Good things and positive experiences don’t always come easy. I thanks my school Lotus Valley and their team for giving this chance to my son and will treasure forever.
This exchange program has impacted on his future in many ways like lifelong friendship, career goals, and personal goals.
(Mother of Lakshya Bhatia , class 10th vivevekanand )
The experience has been truly very inspiring and full of lifetime memories for him. The excitement of going with friends to an unknown country was itself so exciting for him as well as us!! Thanks to technology – Thomas ( his German partner ) and Uday chatted regularly before the trip so a certain comfort zone had set in. I was also in touch with Christine ( Thomas”s mom ) who was sweet and welcomed Uday with open arms.
Uday has made so many friends and learnt about the German way of life too ! From becoming independent and understanding self and growing in confidence to understanding responsiblity not only for studies but in other spheres too – we see tremendous changes in Uday after the trip.
The host family also took great care, both Thomas and Uday have become very good friends. We now look forward to having them over and reciprocate to their hospitality !!
Mona and Jai Bansal
Parents of Uday Bansal
class 10, Vivekanand
In only about one week the Indian students will be able to explore Germany. But they don’t have to do that alone. Their German partners and host parents will take care of them and will make their trip as pleasant as possible.
Aditi’s mother is completely aware of that fact and she is happy to know that her daughter will have a friend in Germany. That’s why she sent the following message to Erla, the German partner.
Aditi's mother has a special message for her daughter's partner, Erla.
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.