Indo-German Exchange 2015-16
The tenth rhythm of the Indo-German Exchange was a truly wonderful experience for all 16 students who were a part of it. It gave them experiences that they would always cherish, memories they would always treasure and people they would always remember.
Itallowed them to make ties that cut across all boundaries of religion, culture, region and language and link hearts, which were thousands of miles away, together. The Exchange was with 3 German schools namely Gymnasium bei St. Michael and Erasmus-Widmann Gymnasium of Schwabisch Hall and Lisa-Meitner Gymnasium of Crailsheim.
The odyssey to the German leg of the Exchange began on 26th March 2016 with 16 students and a teacher flying down to Germany for four weeks. Everyone was greeted at the airport with warm smiles and pleasant weather. The first week was Easter Holidays and thus the perfect time to connect and bond with the host families, who had organized visits to the most beautiful and interesting places in Germany for them and also took them for different activities that helped familiarize them with the German culture. The Indian students also went Easter egg-hunting with their families and received the traditional Easter gifts. They experienced the everyday lives of Germans to the core.
The second week marked the beginning of all the major activities organized by the schools. The students were accorded a warm welcome in all the three schools. They showcased Indian culture and heritage through their presentation of Indian songs, dances, both classical as well as Bollywood and through a comprehensive power point presentation highlighting our incredible India which was appreciated by one and all. The experience in the school commenced with the introduction of a project being taken up and that was the radio show, which was to occur in 2 weeks. The prospect of being live on the radio enthralled all the children as they started preparing diligently for it.
They were all enthused to experience the teaching-learning practice of Germany by being a part of their classroom lessons. All the Germans were very enthralled to meet the Indian students and asked them a lot of questions as they tried to quench their curiosity about Indian culture and people. The students visited the facilities of a solar complex later in the week in Crailsheim and then also visited a factory of Voith Turbo there.
The excursion to the Audi Forum in Neckasulm gave the third week an enriching start as they studied the intricate methods of manufacturing and designing involved in the making of an Audi. The children also got to see Bosch, the German multinational engineering and electronics company. The factory tour proved to be very knowledgeable and fascinating for the students. Later in the week the students set out to Stuttgart to visit the Mercedes-Benz museum and understand the history behind the decades-old brand.
The radio show on the first day of the final week in Germany went marvelously well and everyone was appreciated for their contribution in making the radio show a success. The students also attended a seminar on National Socialism and learnt a lot more about German history. Trip to Munich was superb and fun-filled.
The Cultural Evening held in Gynasium bei St. Michaelwas a big success. The foot-tapping, scintillating dance performance by the Indian students left the audience spellbound and speechless. The German students also joined in the dance and all parents were stunned to see their children and their partners dancing so well. The Indian students received a huge round of applause for their performance. Students also shared their pleasant experiences in Germany and ended with thanking all their host partners, host families, teachers, parents and respective schools for everything that they did for this adventure to be possible.
Bidding farewell brought tears in everybody's eyes. Germany had become their home and it was heartbreaking to say goodbye. The stay in Germany culminated with lifetime memories of the majestic place and lasting impressions of the people. This Exchange was a cultural awakening for all the students and helped rid them of many biased feelings and myths which they had in mind. It was a milestone in theirpersonaljourney of knowing each other’s country and people. The visit taught them that one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. This was not the end but just abeginning. As they say," often in life a new chapter awaits, you ride off into the sunset and discover it's the sunrise"
Not only did this programme help bridge the gap between such contrasting cultures, but it also helped students learn numerous new things about their own cultures as well. They have all turned out to become mature, independent young adults after this wholesome experience. It has given them all a second family and memories that deserve to be cherished for eternity.