Lust auf Deutschland? – Natürlich!
Guten Tag, Schüler und Schülerinnen, wie geht’s? One of the most fantastic parts of Box Hill High School is its superb German program. German is taught from Year 7 all the way up to Year 12, and this provides many fantastic opportunities to learn about German culture along the way.
Box Hill High School has recently become a PASCH school, and this means there are now even more opportunities to embrace German culture. One of the privileges of being part of a PASCH school is that every year in January, two students from Year 11 have the opportunity to travel to Frankfurt, Germany, for a 3 week scholarship to learn German with other students from all over the world. All expenses are paid, and participators even get some pocket money to spend while being in Germany!
Students in Year 10 can apply for this scholarship to take part in the course the next year during the January school holidays. The application process is relatively simple: last year, students were required to make a poster or a brochure (in German) explaining how German is a part of their lives. Posters were submitted to the Goethe-Institut, and a smaller group of people were selected for an interview. Only a very short period of the interview was in German: for this scholarship, German skills are not a large part of the criteria. It's mainly about who would get the most out of the experience. Two students are then selected from this to go to Germany for three weeks - for free!
We did many amazing and memorable things in Germany, and met people we will never forget. There were 61 people in total in 2018, 6 of whom came from Australia; two from Melbourne (the authors of this article), and four from two different schools in Brisbane. There were also people from New Zealand, Brazil, Panama, Indonesia, Peru, and so many more countries, giving the students chosen the opportunity to meet people they never would've been able to meet otherwise. We stayed in Frankfurt, a modern city next to the river Main in Germany. We didn’t go swimming though: temperatures were in the single digits most of the time! Our accommodation was “Haus der Jugend”, a youth hostel near to the Frankfurt city centre. It was great to have the experience of staying in a youth hostel, neither of us had stayed in one before, and it was very different from staying at a hotel!
The scholarship is set out so that there is always something to do. On Monday to Friday during the scholarship, there are lessons in the morning (similar to a school timetable) at varying levels of proficiency in German. Lessons are good fun, often you play games and have opportunities to meet the people in your class. You also get the chance to take a Fit in Deutsch exam at the end of the course, which is an officially certifies a student’s level of German. In the afternoon, a range of activities can be done: like laser tag, various crafts, games, and even free shopping time in the city with your friends. In the evenings there are also many things to do: again, there may be organised activities or games, or sometimes parties! One night was called “Culture Night”, and in this the students from each country prepared a presentation conveying the culture of their country. In our presentation, we called up volunteers from other countries to taste some Vegemite, and it was hilarious to see the ways that they reacted. On the weekends there were often excursions, our personal favourite was when we went to a castle and then later the Feldberg mountains and got a chance to see snow. The opportunity was truly unforgettable and something both of us will hold dearly forever. We couldn't recommend this enough. So continue German! You could win a free holiday.
By Miranda Bromage and Bernhard Andersson