It is a very exciting moment for any Rotary exchange student to finally receive their Guarantee Form. It is the one document which lists where the student will be attending school for the next twelve months, who their first host family will be and also who their Inbound Counsellor is.
As one may be able to imagine, I was thrilled to finally discover these significant details. My Guarantee arrived via email and firstly, I read that next year I will be attending the Auguste-Viktoria Schule in Flensburg.
The school is a Gymnasium, meaning it provides an education for children in years 5 to 12. The German education system is split into three levels. At the end of year 4, children have to choose between going to either a Hauptschule, a Realschule or a Gymnasium. A Hauptschule is a basic secondary school for students interested in a vocational profession. Students may have opportunities to enter a trade such as hairdressing or carpentry. A Realschule is for students interested in undergoing an apprenticeship in occupations such as nursing or administration. Students attending a Gymnasium, are academically oriented and will gain entrance into university after completing the Arbitur examination.
The second piece of information in my Guarantee Form included some details about my first host family! I will have a host mum and dad, as well as a 13 year old host brother. I will be living with this family for the first few months of my exchange.
I have also learnt through contacting other exchange students already living in Flensburg, that my host Rotary Club is currently hosting two other exchange students. It will be great to meet them and possibly gain some advice as I make the transition into German culture.
It has been an exciting week indeed, as I have received both my Guarantee Form and my Flight Itinerary within days of each other.
I will be flying from Sydney to Frankfurt via Singapore and onward to Hamburg. Receiving both of these significant documents has made my pending adventure seem more realistic. It is beginning to feel like more than just a dream, In a matter of weeks, I will become a young Australian ambassador in Germany. As the countdown continues I am busy preparing everyday, learning the German language and soaking up as much information as I can about Germany and its culture.