We stood together, our hearts racing with goosebumps on our hands. It was a truly glorious moment.
We were representing INDIA! A cold shiver went tickling down our backs as we sang the national anthem for the
International Youth Exchange Programme in Germany.
This Exchange Programme has changed us all, and moreover given us a clear insight of the country reckoned differently by people across the world,Germany. This life-changing experience has been wonderful from the start. We all formed an unbreakable bond and memories that we will cherish forever.
It all started on 12th May. As soon as we walked out of Frankfurt airport, we were greeted with beaming
smiles, gifts and a lot of love. Our host sisters were ecstatic to host us and had gone out of their way to
ensure that we felt comfortable. We spent our first weekend familiarising ourselves with our surroundings
and getting to know our hosts better.
In our first week there, we attended lectures at the Theo-Koch Schule. Initially, the lectures were a bit
boring since they were all in German; a language we have never spoken but after a few classes, we became
friends with other German students and started actively participating in class. It was very kind of
the teachers to invite us for all the bilingual lectures where students spoke in English as well. We made an
interesting observation during this entire exchange — all the German students spoke primarily in German
but they were fluent in English as well! However, this practice has only been there for the last few years;
the previous generations do not speak much in English.
The week passed by very quickly, with us comprehending the differences in the education systems, culture,
etc. A week later, during our trip we visited THM, a university in Grüenberg. In the same week, we also
visited various places like ‘Level 8’ for rock climbing, went swimming, visited the Indian Consulate, had an
amazing barbecue party, visited refugee students and had a day dedicated to showcasing Indian culture. On
the cultural day, we danced, sang, had a PowerPoint presentation, and also made the Germans dance. They
said that they had never enjoyed that much on our Bollywood songs before! It definitely was an evening
none of us will ever forget.
In the following week, we went to many places frequented by tourists including Giessen city, where
a World War II bomb was spotted (and the town was excavated while we were there). We also went to the
Mathematics Museum, a vintage car workshop, textile industry and the war cemetery.