Our hearts racing with mingled feelings of happiness, anticipation, excitement and nervousness, we 15 students along with Ma’am Jasleen, Ma’am Williams and Sister Nirmalini stood inside The Indira Gandhi International Airport waving our parents goodbye for another 20 days; unaware that those 20 days would be the best of our lives.
On the first of June we were warmly greeted at the Stuttgart airport with our Indo-German exchange programme tee shirts and 15 smiling faces. The students of St.Gertrudis put up a beautiful ensemble of dance and music programmes to welcome us on the following day. On the dawn of the 2nd of June, we 15 students and our exchange partners accompanied by other students of St. Gertrudis School left for our excursion to Berlin.
En route to Berlin we visited Potsdam, a small village where one could clearly see where Germany was divided into east and west. In Berlin, the Pergamon Museum, Brandenburger tor, The Berlin wall and the many marvelous cathedrals were some of the highlights of the trip. The guided tours at the Bundestag (the German Parliament), the Deutscher Dom and the Stasi Remand Prison were very informative and intriguing. But the visit to Madame Tussauds and the Opera house at Dresden, stole the show. Not only did we have a lot of fun at these places, but we also got to know and see a lot of famous German personalities, if not in person but in life-like statues. Any trip cannot be over without shopping! Shoes were something everyone bought at Berlin apart from the many souvenirs.
As a part of our project, we visited the JRS timber mill where we made muffins and peppermint tablets which had the JRS fibers added into them. The visit to the Pellets factory was also very enriching. We children always enjoyed the education cum fun visits to the forests near Ellwangen and Insel Mainau, where we not only gained a lot of knowledge but also had a gala time doing various activities we were assigned to do.
Our write-up would be incomplete without mentioning how much love and care was showered on us by our German families. After an enthusiastic farewell and a teary depart, we realized that Germany had become our home away from home. And now we wait eagerly for the arrival of our German sisters in October, with the same zeal, the same fervor and the same love…