South Australian German Teachers Association
Report from a previous winner of the PAD-Goethe Institut Year 10 Scholarship.
Over the winter school holidays I was invited to spend 5 weeks immersing myself in German culture, speaking the language, learning about the history and spending time in a German school, by the Pädagogische Austauschdienst, part of the Goethe Institut. This scholarship brought together German students from over 40 countries, and as a result we were able to form many new friendships and vastly improve our language skills.
The trip began with five days spent in Bonn, where we were encouraged to get to know our groups of 13-14 and get used to speaking as much German as possible. We spent time exploring Bonn and its history. This was the slowest paced part of the trip so we had plenty of time to form what would become very strong friendships. The week finished with the Internationaler Abend, where every country gave a presentation. The next two weeks were spent with a homestay family, which for many people, including me, meant barely speaking a word of your first language. It was here I learnt the most German and most rapidly improved. I am extremely grateful for having such a kind, hospitable and accommodating family. In the two weeks with my homestay family I attended school and hung out with the students, getting a taste of life as a German teenager and seeing the sights of the Rhineland. The next ten days were spent in Berlin and München, trying to take in as much of the cities as possible in a short amount of time. Often, we would leave the hotel at seven in the morning, and not return until almost midnight, with the day crammed full of activities and sightseeing.
Some of the highlights of the trip were visiting the Reichstag, where we were able to witness all the leaders of the EU come to give speeches and vote on the support of Greece, visiting the Zugspitze outside Munich, this was the first time I saw snow, and the entire two weeks in the homestay, especially going out for day trips with the family, and spending time at the lake.
I feel incredibly blessed to have been granted this opportunity. It has provided me with invaluable experience and skills to advance my German. Simply being around the language and hearing it, outside the classroom environment has granted me many skills of learning and a new appreciation of the importance of learning a language, and the way it can broaden your horizons. In this experience, I made many lifelong friends, and I cannot wait until I am able to return next. I would especially like to thank my German teacher for her guidance and introducing me to this opportunity.
The 2017 PAD scholarship is now closed.