Ende Januar endete ein erneuter Austausch unserer deutsch-australischen Partnerschaft. Sechs motivierte Australier bezwangen tapfer die ungewohnte Kälte des Heidenheimer Winters und erlebten eine aufregende und ereignisreiche Zeit mit ihren Gastfamilien. Einer der australischen Austauschschüer – Daniel Ladbrook – fasste seine Erlebnisse in einem Artikel zusammen:

On 22nd November of last year, myself and 5 other Australian students boarded a flight bound for Munich. We were all nervous to say the least, as none of us had flown without adult supervision before and Tess hadn’t ever flown before at all. We didn’t exactly know what to expect and I especially doubted the amount of German I knew would get me through the first few weeks.

Thankfully, despite our shared worries, we found ourselves adjusting well and becoming more proficient at the language once a couple of weeks had elapsed.

I find many differences in Germany when I compare it to Australia, but the biggest differences I have so far encountered are the weather, school days and the landscape of the two vastly different nations; Germany and Australia.

The weather was certainly a prominent difference, as Australia is a hot country where the coldest it gets in winter is perhaps -2C overnight, and 11C during the day. In summer the temperature can settle anywhere between 30-52 degrees!

Coming from Europe myself, I found the temperature difference easier to handle and even preferable. One other Australian here shares my opinion, but the others certainly miss the warmer climate back home.

School was another difference I found. For one, students in Australia must wear school uniforms whereas in Germany students may wear whatever they choose. I certainly prefer this more relaxed stance toward student’s clothing. For another, school days are much more sporadic hours than in Australia; in Germany my school days can last anywhere between 4-11 hours. I found this rather hard to adjust to because in Australia, school days are 6 hours long and that’s all there is to it. Personally, I can’t decide which system I like better because coming home at 11AM is awesome, but the 10 and 11 hour days I have on Wednesdays and Thursdays are challenging.

Another significant difference I’ve noticed is concerning the countryside and cityscape of Australia and Germany. In the Australian outback (or ‘The Bush’ as we natives call it) you’ll find flat lands dotted with widely spaced gum trees and the occasional pack of kangaroos munching on the brown grass. In the cities, modern buildings predominate the landscape and the architecture is beautifully up to date. In Germany, the countryside in the south is green rolling hills spattered with thickly growing forests and wonderfully multicoloured farmland. Instead of kangaroos, enormous wind turbines and fields of solar panels are spread across the expanses of open land. German cities are clashes of the modern and old; in one direction you find curvy art galleries or apartments, and in the other you will see clusters of pre-war buildings and castles dating back to the middle ages.

It has been an amazing experience living in Germany while learning about the culture and language. It is certainly a trip I could do nothing but recommend to anyone who inquires, and I wish all the best to the future German exchange students travelling the world to Down Under!