Subject: Deutschland Report #8


Hallo Leute!!


Firstly, let me apologize for my indecently belated report. I can’t

blame the fact of my extremely busy and intense life in Germany over

my simple laziness to write to you all. That aside, the last several

weeks have nevertheless carried some of the most exciting and

interesting experiences of my exchange so far. Let me begin with the

most noteworthy of these, followed by how my general attempt at

integration with into society is coming along.


I spent an amazing two weeks in September with my host family in a

small holiday lake-town called Wendisch Rietz. We arrived and found

ourselves at the shore of a beautiful lake with an atmosphere of

warmth and exuberance and an air of invitation and welcome. From our

two storey holiday house it was possible to wake up in the morning

with an amazing view of the smooth, undisturbed water simply by

drawing the silk curtains aside. When we didn’t spend the days lying

on the sand watching our skin take on a shade of red, we exploited the

little wind available to sail a hired boat across the flat, vast lake.

I also got the opportunity to visit Berlin for two days, which was

definitely far too short a time to make our way around such a massive

and awe-inspiring city. Potsdam was also an unbelievable experience

due to the fantastic architecture and interesting history surrounding

the famous city. My host brother and I managed to locate a leisure

park where we spent more than a few hours of our time kicking the

soccer ball around and giving my host-parents a little break from his

energetic presence. Altogether it was a holiday to remember, and after

two weeks of lazing around and enjoying ourselves it was time to

return to Soest.


Much to my disappointment, school began again that week, meaning I had

to return to the routing involving early mornings, school work and not

as much freedom as the break had allowed. Nevertheless it was great to

see all my friends again and to be able to meet and catch up like we

used to. I found that my German had improved significantly over the

two weeks in Wendisch Rietz as I had no chance to speak English due to

my isolation from the other exchange students, which made me slightly

proud. On the topic of my language skills, I am happy to say that my

German is doing quite well, as I can now express myself quite well and

I finally have my sentence syntax down pat. Although I am not

expecting my grammar to ever be perfect, and I don’t think anyone who

isn’t German should. It is seemingly impossible to master.

Nevertheless I am persevering and noticing the changes in the way I



When I returned from my trip, I also moved in with my third and final

host family. They have been so nice to me and have given me the

freedom any teenager desires, which has made me extremely comfortable

and almost weightless in my new home. Nevertheless I have still been

mowing the lawn, and hanging the washing out on the clothesline like

any ordinary son. I am still living fairly close to the city (5

minutes with my bicycle) and so it is very easy for me to return home

from school. A typical day will see me attending my classes at school,

returning home to eat with my family and talk about our day or what is

going on, then catching a train somewhere to meet with friends or

simply remaining in Soest and eating ice cream with the two exchange

students from Brazil and Mexico living in the city. So no matter what

I find myself doing, I am never bored as there are always new and

interesting things we visit or participate in. On weekends it is

typical to just spend time with friends; whether we go out for dinner,

go bowling, or simply head to the local bar to watch a Bundesliga

football match there are always plenty of ways to keep ourselves

entertained and always accompanied by plenty of laughs. My host father

is part of a flying club which owns several small planes. I was very

fortunate when he asked me if I would like to come for a ride with him

on the weekend. Suspended several hundred metres above my city, I

could view my school, the city centre, the train station, and even a

large ‘M’ my host mother had drawn with white towels in our backyard

for us to keep an eye out for. I also got the opportunity to take the

controls for about half an hour which was indescribable. The feeling

of control in the air was simply amazing.


Last week I traveled with my Mathematics class to Hamburg for five

days. I found this excursion unbelievable and a truly fantastic

experience. It gave me a chance to get to know some of my class mates

much better, and also to synchronize myself with one of the most

attractive cities in Germany. We visited museums and churches, took a

boat ride through the harbour, and a bus tour of the entire city.

Hamburg is a city that reminds me very much of Sydney. The layout of

it, the harbour, bridges and shopping centres all shared a resemblance

to the Aussie city. Every night we were given a curfew of 1am which

was a great opportunity for us to take a sneak peak of Hamburg by

night and meet up with other classes from our school that were also

there for the week. The four hour bus ride home, saw fifty weary

students sleeping and doing not much else after the tiresome, albeit

superb, week they had just enjoyed.


I have also been getting to know the new exchange students much better

now. Unlike the first half of the year when we had over one hundred

exchange students in our district, we now have around sixty. This is

still great, because it is much easier to get to know everybody and we

still have the opportunity to meet fairly often. In about three weeks

we will take a tour of Germany, visiting cities such as Stuttgart,

Munich, Cologne, Dresden and Berlin. It is bound to be an exciting

adventure with all the exchange students on board.


As I am come to the close of my exchange, I realise how much there is

still to do, how many more places there are to see, and how little

time there is remaining. I am anything but excited at the prospect of

returning to Australia, unwilling to leave such an amazing place and

such amazing friends, who are like family, behind. I miss Australia a

little, but I know it will always be there, unlike my exchange which

is slowly slipping away. That is not to say I am not looking forward

to seeing my family and friends again, after so long away, just that I

will leave this journey of a lifetime unwillingly. Nevertheless, it

has changed my life, and I don’t regret one moment. The laughter,

tears, adventures and challenges have shaped me in a way I didn’t

think possible and I am so grateful to have been given this wonderful

chance to take a crack at life in an unreal and challenging way.


Bis bald!!!


Yours sincerely as always,