Schüleraustausch Kreisgymnasium Heinsberg – Pheonix High Secondary Manenberg

Germany in June has been nothing short of amazing according to both teachers and the four learners. For our entire group this international travelling was a first and boy oh boy, it was indeed a first to remember forever.

Fourteen hours in total was the flight one way from Cape Town to Germany. A flight that changed our view on life completely. From the moment we reached our final destination (Heinsberg) until the very last day of the two weeks were filled with adventure.

We were both nervous and excited as what to expect was very unknown to all 6 of us. We were warmly welcomed by the learners and Mrs. Wolff the moment we met up at Dusseldorf airport. It was very overwhelming in a very positive way. We worried about language barrier as well as difference in culture and just difference in everything.

From the moment we would open our eyes till the evening we went to bed was a different experience of life as we’ve known it all our Lives. Germany is a beautiful country, the air seemed somewhat fresher and the day was way longer than what we have ever experienced before in our life, literally.

We visited beautiful places including the Netherlands, Aachen, Amsterdam as well as Cologne.

We also met amazing people including the Mayor, fellow teachers and Principal of Kreis Gymnasium Heinsberg as well as other un mentioned people.

The group would need an entire book to talk about our experiences individually.

Moesfieka was home sick for the first few days but we can safely say she did not want the last day to arrive after she had so much fun between the trees doing zip lining for the first time in her life.

Overall what stood out for us as South Africans was the kindness we were treated with by everybody. Kay-Cee, another one of our learners, always prominently called her host family “my family”.

It was not easy to be apart from our families for two weeks and so so far away in distance but we can comfortably say we have added to our family because now we have a Germany family.

Bashir enjoyed himself with his peers, both boys and girls. He felt no difference between himself and the learners from Germany. He could be his 100 percent self and therefore he enjoyed the entire journey. For both the teachers as well as leaners it was amazing to hear about some of Germanys history, which Mrs. Wolff always enthusiastically told. We visited some museums and beautiful Churches, the biggest churches that we have ever seen in our life and did I say, beautiful too!

Bashira, our fourth learner seemed as if she stayed in Germany all her life. She definitely seemed and felt like she fitted into the culture of the teenagers in Germany. She enjoyed the train trips and the grade 12 Abitur so much. As a grade 11 learner it made her excited to know that she would soon also have her Abitur experience back at home.

Germany in June was an experience that goes beyond words for our group. We are thankful and beyond greatful for the relationship we have built and the kindness that was shown overall. Every place we visited in Germany engraved a memory on our souls.

A special thanks goes out to, Mrs caroline Wolff (and Family), Anke(and family) Norbert and every host family that made our Germany in June visit extra special. We definitely would love to some day catch up again and look forward to seeing the German learners for our next exchange!