What a day! For our ten German students the day officially began at 7 am in Straubing when their bus headed for Munich airport. As soon as they reached the exchange participants managed to check in and to drop their baggage without further problems. They went through security checking and passport control and after one and a half hour finally they settled down at gate L15 to wait for boarding.
Till then the atmosphere in the group was quite relaxed. The trip still felt like an average school excursion and not like the big adventure they all have been waiting for since their partners from Lotus Valley International School left Straubing several months ago.
But this feeling slowly changed when the students from Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium entered their airplane and took their seats. There they could listen to the voices and accents of the many people who also were on the way to India. Additionally the students were severed their first Indian style airplane lunch and at last they realised: We are actually going to India! We are going to see our friends! We are going to explore a new culture! All these thoughts in mind they became more and more nervous and when the plane landed at Delhi International airport one could feel the excitement among them.
Luckily the now following procedure at the immigration control went well and the German group could head towards the exit. At this time it was already 11 pm but nobody felt tired yet. It was quite the opposite; when the exchange participants entered the arrival hall of the airport the suddenly felt alive and full of energy. The host families were waiting their waving posters and cheering wildly. What a welcome. The partners rushed towards each other and hugged.
The next two days the German exchange students will stay with their families to get comfortable with the weather, food and habits. After that out tough project schedule will start. I am looking forward to all the adventures to come.
The excitement was on its high when we all went to Indira Gandhi Airport to pick our partners. Really excited to meet all of them. And the time comes, they arrive at the airport and after a long queue of formalities they finally came out of the airport. It was really good to see them again. We all met each other and conversed a lot. Then we left the airport for home and came home to get some good sleep.
It is 4:15 am, we are already awake for 1.5 hours and we fought our way out of the warm bedsheets to the cold parking lot of the school. To make it clear, we are none of these overexcited teachers, who want to be first at the copy machine! We are Bavarian exchange teachers, who collect a group of exchange students from the Munich airport!
Today is the day! After an 8 hour lasting direct flight our guests arrive at MUC airport. But it still takes some time till we can welcome them. After the arrival the Indians have to show their visa, passports and their invitation letter to Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium. After that they hopefully will be allowed to enter Europe. The procedure continues whith baggage collect, German customs, last visits of the restrooms and first calls of the Indian parents. Depending on the time and day of the week it can take some hours till a group of young travelers finally arrives at the airport’s lobby. That’s one of many reasons why only two German teachers are waiting to greet the guests from Noida. And who knows, how long they still have to wait?
After the luggage is stored at the coach the students enter the bus in silence (they are tired, too). From time to time you can hear some snippets of conversation, or you can get the idea of the beat of some bollywood musik leaking from some headphones.
But as we get closer to Straubing the students talk more and more. Even the participating teachers ask happily about the school, weather and family issues and …
The conversation stops abruptly as the bus enters the parking lot of the Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium. Nobody is on their seats any more. Noses are pressed against the windows. The parents and the German students are standing at the corner. Some even wear the traditional Bavarian costumes and wave banners and flags. You hear the warm noise of welcome cheers!
Everybody is leaving the bus, hands are shaken, some try to make a formal bow, suitcases are carried over the place. After some time the parking lot is nearly empty. Only four tired but happy German and Indian teachers stay back, looking forward to get some big breakfast.