Three Weeks in Kobo

Two pupils, Jennifer MacNab and Denise Cheung attended German Summer School.  Here is their account of the three weeks they spent in Kobo.

Jennifer and Denise in Kobo with new friends

Having your alarm clock go off at seven in the morning probably doesn’t sound like the best way to spend your summer holidays – but that’s the way it was for us, Monday to Friday, during our three week stay in Kirchheimbolanden, Germany. We got up at around seven (sometimes a little later, depending on how sleepy we felt!) in order to be ready for breakfast at eight, and then we went to class at nine. That’s right, classes during the holidays! However, the lessons were really fun and enjoyable, and a lot more laid-back than regular school. The classes aimed to improve our German language skills over the three weeks and, since there were teenagers from several countries in each class, the lessons were conducted almost completely in German, since that was our one common language. That was the part everyone had been dreading, since we’d all been sure that we wouldn’t understand what was going on, but we were all surprised to find how quickly we managed to tune in to what was being said. Classes finished at half twelve.

Two days a week we spent part of the afternoon working on a project of our choice, but most of the time we were free to do as we liked. There were many activities arranged almost every day, including a trip to BASF (very informative), an outing to an old mine in a nearby town (very claustrophobic!) and ‘Kurz-Shoppen’ in Mainz (sehr kurz, it must be said!). Alternatively we could stay in Kirchheimbolanden (or ‘Kibo’ to locals) to do sport, visit the internet café or just laze around. The favourite activity for our group of newly-found friends – which consisted of ourselves, Kelly and Megan from America, Abir from Morocco, Mei Qi from Holland and Monique from Brazil – was to visit the nearest Eis-Café and then just wander around the town, browsing in shops and trying to understand the road signs. It was generally agreed that Germany has the best ice cream in the world. Evenings were rarely lazy in Kibo. We often had discos in the Disco- Keller, including a hilarious ‘Switch-Disco’, in which the boys all dressed as girls and vice versa. We were a little surprised by the boys’ enthusiasm to get dolled up! One night we had a table-tennis doubles tournament (our team, ‘The Frankfurters’, was knocked out in the first round – due to a poor umpire, of course), and another we travelled to a nearby park for a ‘Lager-Feuer’ (camp fire). That might have been the best night of all – we toasted bread dough and marshmallows on the fire and talked and sang songs until almost midnight. Unfortunately, we still had to get up early the next morning! After such an exhausting week, you’d think we’d get a lie-in on Saturday…but you’d be wrong! Every Saturday we went on a day-trip to a major German city – and that meant an early start! We had to get about closer to six a.m. those days, to be ready for breakfast at seven. On the first Saturday we went to Heidelberg, and the following week to Frankfurt. Both outings were totally amazing, but Frankfurt was our favourite. It seems like a really modern city, and the shops were great!

Our last night in Kibo was an emotional affair. We’d made lots of friends from so many different countries – Brazil, USA, Morocco, Hungary, Estonia, Pakistan, Macedonia, Norway, Ukraine and Holland – and we all hated the thought that we’d probably never all be together again. We decided to stay awake the whole night, and go up the hill to the Biergarten at around five a.m. to watch the sunrise. Neither of us had ever felt so tired, but with sheer determination we managed to avoid falling asleep. We’d never actually seen a sunrise before (since we were generally in bed at that time of the morning!) and we both agreed it was worth waiting up for. But then it was time to leave – there were many tears from almost everyone (not the boys, of course) but we all exchanged contact details and promised to keep in touch. The whole three weeks were an amazing experience – we improved our German skills, learned about Germany as a country, and made friends from all over the world. Going on a trip like this is an opportunity we would encourage anyone to take.

Ja, es war eine tolle Erfahrung. Auch haben wir unsere Sprachkenntnisse verbessern und neue Freunden kennengelernt :]                                 Vielen Dank, Goethe Institut!

Enjoying Kobo