You can learn the differences of other cultures and countries, but living it is more shocking. A student can understand that in Germany there are seasons and that in January it is cold, but when he leaves the plane in Frankfurt and feels minus ten degrees Celsius, the impact is different and captures all the implications this brings in terms of clothing, traffic, the way of building houses," says the Principal of the German School Medellin, Dominik Scheuten.
The three weeks spent in Germany by sixth formers (Klasse 6) and the six months spent by tenth formers (Klasse 10) are the ideal test of their knowledge of the German language and their commitment to being autonomous. "Here we have the list of summit events, but the Klasse 10 exchange is the crowning glory of it all, it is the most formative, the most impressive project, the one that generates the most anxiety than any other event," says Principal Scheuten.
Exchanges to Germany are very important within the educational process of the German School. Accompanied by teachers, the students of Klasse 6 put their knowledge of German to the test, and for the first time, this experience makes many students decide to return to study their career in Germany," considers the exchange coordinator of the German School Medellín's International Relations Department.
"We have alumni - who graduated many years ago - who still have contact with their host family in Germany. And that is a goal of an exchange: to create links between two cultures, between two countries," summarizes the Rector, who is looking forward to the annual trip of 58 students from Klasse 6 and 60 from Klasse 10, whom with their experience get it into their skin and give meaning to Goethe's words: "thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.”
From an intercultural perspective, the exchanges are linked to the raison d'être (reason for being) of the institution.
The exchange coordinator of the German School of Medellín's International Relations Department explains that the exchange experience "becomes a life project, it opens the doors to learning about oneself, to making decisions, to gaining new insights and to being more autonomous and responsible".
To make the exchange experience a success, workshops are held to prepare students and informative talks are given to parents. Thus, before stamping their passports, the sixth graders have already learned how to deal with situations that may arise and, through different activities, they prepare themselves to have better processes of coexistence and autonomy from the resolution of tasks and challenges in everyday life. Therefore, as soon as they get on the plane, they begin to work on their logbook with the hope that it will be awarded as one of the best and that it will be a testimony of a very enriching experience.
At the same time, since they arrive at Klasse 9, the preparation for the exchange of the tenth-year students begins with monthly workshops to resolve doubts and fears, to understand interculturality, to take preventive measures and to learn first-hand with the students who have just returned from the exchange and with their parents in order to make the most of this adventure in order to graduate as citizens of the world.