Summer School in Hamburg and Berlin 2018

First Week

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 Monday, 13th August 2018

 On Monday, the Taiwanese exchange students arrived at Frankfurt Airport. They didn’t stay long there but went directly to Bad Oldesloe, their home for the next two weeks, which is close to Hamburg. They chose their rooms and roommates and put down their luggage. Of course, everybody was hungry after such a long journey and were looking forward to a good pizza. While eating, everybody got the chance to get to know each other a little bit better. Afterwards, Rike introduced the schedule for the following three weeks and the team, which was going to accompany them through their first steps in Germany. Before having dinner, the students took a quick test, to see, how their German level was. In the evening everybody got to play games and do sports.

Tuesday, 14th August 2018

 After an exciting first day in Germany, the next day started more relaxed. After a good and long breakfast the students had their first German lesson. But before, it had to be decided, who is going to be in which course. The first lesson consisted in facts about Hamburg. After lunch, the cultural preparation began which was connected to a rally in Bad Oldesloe. Everyone was motivated to express their wishes for their exchange year and prepare a short role play. They liked the games and they helped them to get more comfortable around each other. After dinner, everyone had free time for themselves.

Wednesday, 15th August 2018

In the following German lesson, the course participants designed creative posters with the most famous and interesting sights of Hamburg. In the afternoon, they got to see a couple of these sights on their first visit to the Hanseatic city. The Landungsbrücken and the Elbphilharmonic hall were visited and a highlight of the day certainly was the boat tour on the river Elbe. Everybody was more and more comfortable with each other and the overall atmosphere was great.

    Thursday, 16th August 2018

On the next day, the main topic was the forest. After lunch the students went together with their teachers and supervisors through a forest and a swamp. The landscape was impressive and fascinating for everyone since it is way different than what the Taiwanese students were used to from their home country. After dinner, there was time for questions where everyone got the chance to articulate their hopes and thoughts.

        Friday, 17th August 2018

On Friday, the students had their first test in the German language. Also, there were games in the afternoon concerning the topic “saying hello” in which everyone had to answer seven questions. Everyone liked it a lot! In the evening there was a BBQ Party and time for feedback.

Saturday, 18th August 2018

Finally! After a whole week of lessons and activities in Bad Oldesloe, the students took off to their first fieldtrip. They went to Lüneburg by train where they go to know the city doing a rally by themselves. Everybody loved the scenery, the buildings and the atmosphere of the old town and tried to capture their impressions with the camera. Back at home, dinner was already prepared and there was time for feedback and games.

Sunday, 19th August 2018

Unbelievable! The first week of their year abroad was already over. That was no surprise, since the days were full of new experiences. Of course, this Sunday was no different. There was another fieldtrip planned: a daytrip to Lübeck. Another rally helped the young travellers to get to know the town. Afterwards they went to Travemünde located at the Baltic Sea by train to enjoy the rest of the afternoon on the beach. This was the perfect end to their first week in Germany. Another exciting week was to come soon!


Second Week

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Monday, 20th August

On Monday, the students had their German courses starting at 9 o’clock again. On this morning, the last students finished their postcards for their host families. After having some delicious lunch, we all meet to go to Hamburg. This time we wanted to visit the Miniaturwunderland. It is located in the marvellous Speicherstadt. For two hours, the students had time to explore all three floors with miniature cities and landscapes like Hamburg, Rome, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Many of them took a lot of time to gaze at the detailed little scenes with special effects and lights, while the lighting of the rooms changed between day and night. When everyone was done we went for a little walk through the Hafen City to show the students the beautiful and historical buildings of the Speicherstadt. During a short 10 minutes history lesson the students learned that the buildings of the Speicherstadt were used to store trading goods like coffee, grains, fabrics and carpets from all over the world. Walking only a hundred meters further, we were standing on a canal between modern apartment buildings with a very interesting shape. As we learned, when a flood comes the shape of the houses should prevent that the apartments get filled up with water.

Tuesday, 21st August

After all of our students enjoyed a good breakfast, they went to their German courses. This time they started the classes with a little “greeting game” where they should practice examples of every day conversations which they already learned about. Then, instead of having the regular German courses, we met our students in one room to have a session together. Tim already waited for them with a presentation about German politics in his bag. He gave us a short introduction into politics and prepared the students for our plans the next day. After lunch, we left for Hamburg again. However, this time we visited the private university called “Macromedia Universität” where a nice lady did a presentation for us on how to study in Germany, on the Macromedia university and she showed us some projects that students at the university did. Also, everyone got some sweets as a little gift. After visiting the university, we had around an hour of free time to have a look around on Mönckebergstraße. For some of the students it was also already time for dinner because they would be going to see the musical “Aladdin”. In the late afternoon we all met together again, it was time to split the group in two. While half of the students went back to Bad Oldesloe with Bert, the rest took the S-Bahn to see “Aladdin” with Desiree. They spent a great evening together in the theatre with an astonishing show, incredible music and mind-blowing actors.

Wednesday, 22nd August

On the 10th day, we were invited to visit Hamburg’s beautiful town hall. So, after our morning routine of having breakfast, German courses and lunch, we took the train to Hamburg and then went to the Rathausplatz. Our group entered the town hall and while waiting for a guide to pick us up, Bert refreshed our memories on German politics. Then, we were lead into a room where we watched a short movie on the townhall, Hamburg’s politics and Hamburg’s parliament. During the movie, Mr. Ovens entered the room. He invited us and gave us the opportunity to experience a German politician first hand. Mr. Ovens gave us a short introduction to his person before our students were allowed to ask some questions. Luckily, we prepared some great questions with Tim the day before. Even Mr. Ovens was very impressed by all those great questions which he answered in detail. After a very interesting hour in the town hall we already had to leave again. In front of the building, Bert told us a little bit more about its history before he led us over the Rathausplatz to the Jungfernstieg. On the way, we learned about Hamburg’s swans, how the Jungfernstieg got its name and how the Alster came into existence.

Thursday, 23rd August

Thursday was a big day for all of us. It was the day of our Taiwanese evening at the aubiko office. As usual, we had breakfast at 8 o’clock, then, at 9 we all met to go through our program and all plans for one last time. Every group had time to practice their performance again. Before we had a quick lunch, the whole group did a final rehearsal, so that nothing would go wrong in the evening. At 1 o’clock the first group of chefs and helping hands to buy all ingredients made their way to the office. Two hours later, the rest of us also arrived. Everyone was busy preparing food, decoration, music and other stuff. When the first guests arrived, the students got very nervous. For some this would be the first time that they meet their host parents. While the aubiko team, students and guests enjoyed the Taiwanese and German food, people were chatting all over the place. Exchange students talked to their host parents, guests talked to the staff and all of them were having fun. After an hour, the program of the students was about to begin. Lin and Ethan moderated the program and introduced fantastic performances like singing songs, playing flute, ukulele and the piano, magical tricks and introducing little drawn portraits of all of the course participants. It was a great evening with a lot of fun and happiness.

Friday, 24th August

Our Friday morning followed the same routine as always. First, we all had a nice breakfast before the students went to their German courses. There they talked about the Taiwanese evening and wrote a little summary of the evening in German. After lunch, we planned to have culture preparation classes and to go canoeing later in the afternoon. At half past one we started cultural preparation all together. We talked about important events in German history. Therefore, we gave the students several dates and events which they should match. In the end, we checked the results and Bert gave a small summary for each event. Afterwards, we split the students in two groups. The first group would do some more cultural preparation while the other group went canoeing on the river Trave. During the cultural preparation we talked about first impressions and asked the students to think about and to perform some plays which present each a good and a bad first impression in different situations. In the meantime, the other group explored the river and the nature around the river. They could see beautiful swans, ducks and fishes on their trip. At half past four the groups changed. In the evening we all met again to have a nice and delicious barbecue with some music and a lot of fun.

Third Week

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Saturday, 25th August

The second weekend of the summer camp started and with it, our next excursion came up. After we all enjoyed our breakfast, it was time to set up for our trip to beautiful Bremen. When we arrived there around noon, aubiko staff Isabel was already waiting for us. She would be our guide for the day as she knows the city well. Even though it was a quite cold and rainy day, Bremen still presented itself with all its beauty. On our way through the city, Isabel led us to the old windmill, the marketplace with the town hall and the statue of the „Bremer Stadtmusikanten“, showed us the famous chimes and a very old part of the city with the narrowest street of Bremen. After the tour, the students had some free time to go shopping, but they also had to do a little task where they should ask Germans some questions and practice their language skills. During the free time, we could also watch the Christopher Street Day Parade which took place just that day. All of us thought it was a great parade and some of the students even got some little presents. Then, it was already time to leave Bremen again. After a short stop in Hamburg, where everyone could have dinner on their own, we made our way back to Bad Oldesloe.

Sunday, 26th August

Sunday, the end of our second week of the course arrived fast. Everyone had already packed their stuff together because today we would go to Berlin. We had our last breakfast in Bad Oldesloe before the students cleaned up their rooms and brought out their luggage. At 10 o’clock our bus arrived and we got ready to leave for Berlin. It took us around 4 hours until we arrived at our new accommodation. First, all the students got the keys to their rooms and had some time to unpack their stuff, then we left to go and explore Berlin. Our first stop was the surrounding of the „Zoologischer Garten“. Here, the students had some time to grab a snack before we visited the memorial church and Bert gave them a taste of typical German roasted almonds. Then we visited the East Side Gallery where we could see beautiful paintings on the last parts of the wall that once divided Germany. Our last stop was the Alexanderplatz where everyone could get something for dinner. At last, we returned to our accommodation and still had some free time for games, chats and sports.

Monday, 27th August

The first complete day in Berlin started as usual with a decent breakfast and German class. During the class, our teachers spoke about Bremen again and together the students watched a short clip about the story of the „Bremer Stadtmusikanten“. After our bellies were filled with some delicious food for lunch, we were ready to make our way to the German Bundestag where we could visit the roof terrace and the dome on top of the building. Having an excellent view over the city of Berlin, our students took a lot of pictures and of course also selfies. Following, we went to the nearby Brandenburg Gate and had some free time to explore the place before we went down to the river Spree and hopped on a boat for a boat trip through the city. A guide told us about the government district, the new built main station, the museum isle, the cathedral of Berlin, the university and many other interesting places along the river Spree. Everyone enjoyed the trip and some people at the bank even waved at us. We ended our afternoon in the city center with dinner at the Alexanderplatz.

Tuesday, 28th August

Tuesday was a nice and sunny day, just the right weather for the plans we had for this day. First of all, we started with our normal routine with a great breakfast and German classes in the morning. Today, the students repeated their knowledge about Berlin which they learned the days before and of course also learned some new interesting facts. Then, after our lunch, we left the accommodation and made our way to the nearby city of Potsdam. This afternoon was all about „spazieren gehen“ – going for a walk – which is one of the most popular free time activities in Germany and which our students also liked very much. We started our walk at the train station with our first destination being park Sanssouci. Here, we could see the old buildings of the university and one of the castles which are currently under renovation. Bert gave us a small history lesson and told us about the Prussian kingdom with their kings who built those marvelous castles all over park Sanssouci. Next, the students had some time to explore the whole park with all of its castles, statues and different places, before we all met in front of the castle Sanssouci. Of course, we had to take a group picture so we will always remember this great afternoon.  We spent the rest of our time in the center of Potsdam where we had some free time for shopping, relaxing and having dinner. Back at the accommodation, we had time for playing games, sports and chatting.

Wednesday, 29th August

Wednesday was the last day of our normal daily routine which had built up over the last two and a half weeks. After we enjoyed a delicious breakfast, the students had their last regular German classes which they could use to prepare for their final test. Therefore, the students split up into smaller groups and created beautiful posters which summed up everything they learned over the past weeks. They for sure used their time well and ended the morning prepared for the test the next day. During the lunch break, everyone was chatting and enjoyed the time together. Afterwards, our last cultural preparation had also come. Again, the students were split into two groups. One group attended class while the other group had time to do their homework and learn for the final test. The last topic for cultural preparation was a topic which many students wanted to talk about – it was discrimination. We started with a group work about what discrimination means and what kinds of discrimination exist. Furthermore, we thought about why discrimination happens, so the students could understand what is going on in the people’s minds. At last, we talked about the base of discrimination: Stereotypes. To end our last class, we asked our students to create pictures which show Taiwanese and German stereotypes in pairs. For dinner, we took all of our students to the „zoologischer Garten“ where they had enough time to look around and find a nice place to eat.

Thursday, 30th August

Thursday was almost our last day. Everyone came for breakfast early and had a large helping to fill up their bellies. Concentrated and well prepared, the first group entered the room to write their final test. The other group spent their time with some games like Hangman and a lot of fun. Soon, the groups changed and the last tests were written. Now that everything was done, the students could relax and enjoy their lunch. In the afternoon, we went to the Kurfürstendamm where our eagerly awaited shopping day would take place. Until the evening everyone had time to shop as much as wanted, stroll around the streets and have something for dinner. Happy and satisfied our students returned after almost 5 hours with filled shopping bags and were ready to return to the accommodation to show their latest purchases. But returning also meant to start packing and we slowly started to realize that our time will soon run out.

Friday, 31st August

Friday had arrived and with it our last day of the summer camp. After we enjoyed breakfast together with the Columbian students who arrived the day before, all the Taiwanese students had the last conversation with one of their teachers and with a chairman of aubiko to talk about their achievements and the camp in general. While the conversations were going on, the rest of the students should split into groups and then think about an activity which they would offer to the other students for our farewell party in the evening. Everyone came up with great ideas until lunch break and we were sure, that the party would be a success. In the afternoon, all students could decide whether they would like to go sightseeing, shopping or to stay in the accommodation until the party would start. At 6 o’clock our chefs were lighting up the grill and the rest prepared the barbecue for our dinner. We enjoyed typical German bratwurst, steak and all kinds of salad while some music played in the background. Everyone was chatting, taking pictures and laughing. Later on, the first seven groups presented the stations and activities they prepared in the morning while the rest of the students were taking part in their activities. The offers ranged from guessing Chinese characters and guessing songs to playing basketball and using chopsticks. After an hour, the stations changed and now, the Columbian students presented their activities. They were dancing, playing chess, practicing tongue twisters and solving a Rubik’s Cube. All of us had a lot of fun, it was a great evening which we won’t forget any time soon. Everyone was laughing and every student participated in every activity. In the end, Columbians and Taiwanese danced together until it was time to go to bed.

Saturday, 1st September

The time had come for all of our students to leave Berlin and travel to their host families. We all met for one last time to have breakfast before we would leave the accommodation between 9 and 11 o’clock. Some last photos were taken and then we were leaving for bus and train stations to bring everyone to their train or bus and send them on their journey to their home for the next year. We stayed in contact with all our host families and in the end, all of our students arrived safely and well at their host families.

The three weeks preparation course was a great time that all of us will never forget!