German Scholarship Winner 2017

Heartiest congratulations to Mount Mercy College student Laura Murphy who was awarded a 3 week scholarship to Germany based on her exceptional performance in her Junior Cert German exam and her interview in German at the Goethe Insitut, Dublin in March.

The scholarship is awarded by The German Pedagogical Exchange Service and is funded by the German Foreign Office.

Application for such scholarships is not possible as the award is merit based. Laura’s scholarship will take her to Kiel in Northern Germany next June in a group of 12 scholarship winners. As well as participating in group activities and trips, Laura will also travel to other parts of Germany as part of her scholarship.

Well done to Laura on her outstanding achievement!

A Trip to Germany

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

Zugspitze : Larisa is pictured in front row 2nd from the right

Induction Period
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.

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 2nd from left pictured with Brandenburg gate in background

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.

In Summary

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!


Outstanding Mount Mercy Students win German Scholarships

L-R: Larisa Sabou and Niamh Busby, Scholarship Winners

L-R: Larisa Sabou and Niamh Busby, Scholarship Winners

Heartiest congratulations to Mount Mercy College Transition Year students Larisa Sabou and Niamh Busby, who were respectively awarded 4 week and 3 week scholarships to Germany based on their outstanding Junior Certificate results in German and their interview performance in German at the Goethe Institut in March. Each year approximately 29 scholarships are funded by the German Foreign Office for Irish Transition Year students. These are offered by the German Pedagogical Exchange Service for language courses in Germany.

It is not possible to apply for these scholarships as selection is based on merit i.e. the students’ Junior Certificate performance in German. The best 70 students nationwide are invited by the Department of Education and Skills to an interview/language test at the Goethe Institut in Dublin. Out of this group, the top 5 students are then awarded a 4 week fully sponsored language course which takes place in Germany between June and September. This scholarship includes trips to Cologne/Bonn, Berlin and Hamburg / Munich as well as a 2-week stay with a German family, during which the Irish students go to school with their German counterparts.

Approximately 24 Irish students are selected for participation in the 3 week language courses in Germany. Expenses for accommodation, meals, trips and the language course are paid for.

Well done to Larisa and Niamh on their outstanding achievements!