Eine Reise nach Deutschland
Larisa Sabou, a 5th year student of German at MMC, travelled to Germany during summer 2015, on a 4 week scholarship awarded to her by the German Government. This international scholarship was awarded because of her outstanding Junior Certificate result in German and her interview in German at the Goethe Institut Irland in Dublin in March 2015. In the article below, Larisa describes her trip to Germany.
” Hallo Leute! My name is Larisa Sabou and last summer I travelled to Germany for a month as part of a scholarship programme organised by the German Embassy and P.A.D. ( German Pedagogical Exchange Service).
Zugspitze : Larisa is pictured in front row 2nd from the right
Students from all over the world including Chile, Guatemala, Holland, Estonia, Greece, Armenia, Ireland, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mongolia met in Bonn for a 5 day induction course. Bonn welcomed us with open arms and there we toured ‘das Haus der Geschichte’ (a history museum) . On the first day we also played games to get to know each other and we all became friends so quickly it seemed as though we had always known each other.
We took a day trip to Cologne on day 2 where we had a guided tour. We also climbed the 533 steps of the ‘Kölner Dom’ (Cologne’s world famous gothic cathedral) and the view from the top made it worthwhile !
The next day we took a boat trip to Drachenpfelz where we learned about the legend of the dragon who protects the forest and went hiking. We then returned to Bonn and further explored that city.
On the 5th day we had an ‘international evening’. This was a cultural night where each student presented his/her country’s traditions and folklore. This is one of my favourite memories from my trip to Germany because it was so interesting to see all the traditional food, music and dance from all over the world.
International Evening: Larisa is in the back row 2nd from left.
The next 2 weeks were spent in Celle where we lived with host families and went to school every day. I became very close with Lisa, my host sister, and I’m sure our friendship will last a lifetime. My host family were extremely welcoming and made me feel completely at home. They organised so many fun activities such as barbecue parties, shopping in Celle, kayaking on the river, cinema in Hannover, funfair, Heide Park, lazer day and many others. I could not have asked for a better host family!
Attending a German school was a very interesting experience as German schools are very different to Irish ones. Whilst attending school we also took day trips to ‘Autostadt’, a car museum in Wolfsburg, and to Hamburg, where we took a boat trip around the port and visited the ‘Miniatur Wunderland’ museum.
The following week was spent in Berlin! Berlin was my favourite city due to its rich history and colourful atmosphere.
Larisa is pictured 2nd from left with Brandenburg gate in background
Whilst there, we visited the ‘Brandenburger Tor ‘ (Brandenburg Gate), did a city tour, visited the Eastside Gallery and had a guided trip of the Berlin Wall. Our tour guide was a history teacher, who, at the time of the fall of the wall was our age i.e. 16-17. His tour was the best guided tour we did as he spoke about his own experience at that time in recent history.
We visited one of Berlin’s top universities, the T.U. Berlin. We also took a day trip to Potsdam where we visited 18th century castles which are immaculately preserved.
Back in Berlin we visited the Reichstag building where we got the special opportunity to stand in parliament and see Angela Merkel discuss the Greek Crisis with other MPs.
We went to the ‘Museum Insel’ – a unique collection of museums – and visited the Egyptian museum where we saw the bust of Nefertiti.
We saw a musical called ‘Hintern Horizont’ performed by the official Pankow Orchestra and the Berlin Theatre.
We also took another day trip to Lehde where we had a boat trip on the small lake and fed the ducks.
We spent the next week in Munich. There we went to see Improv Theatre whilst having dinner at a restaurant. We did a guided city tour and enjoyed taking pictures with waiters and waitresses dressed in the traditional costume of ‘Lederhosen’ for men and ‘Dirndl’ for women.
We visited the concentration camp at Dachau. This was probably one of the saddest, and yet most eye-opening, experiences I have ever had.
We enjoyed contemporary dance performances.
We also visited Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain where we had a snowball fight whilst wearing shorts! This was followed by lunch in Austria!
On our last day we visited the famous football stadium Allianz Arena and had a farewell party in a restaurant.
This trip to Germany has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life to date. The amount of knowledge I acquired during this trip – not only about the German language, culture and history – but also about friendship, teamwork and about myself is invaluable.
The Germans organised everything down to the last detail and as a result our trip was filled with adventures and discoveries every step of the way, from the moment we awoke each day to the time we fell into bed exhausted each night. The days were filled with a wide range of balanced and varied activities. In short, this amounted to perfection!
The international group of friends I gained through participating in this trip will always be my family just as they were for that month. The friendship we now share cannot be described in words. As we all hugged each other on the last day, tears spilling from our eyes, it was obvious that each of us was leaving a part of our hearts in Germany, a part which we will have to return and reclaim one day!