Christ Junior College was privileged to associate with St. Anna’s Gymnasium, one of the renowned schools in Munich for a project on “carbon footprint”. This project not only works towards providing solutions and ideas to reduce carbon emission and conserve energy resources but also strengthens the Indo German relations.
During summer 13 Indian students had a splendid german experience at Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Munich is much more than museums, BMW’s and costly brands. The capital of Bavaria thrills visitors with medieval architecture, 18th century scenic parks, squares and royal avenues. Folklore and age-old traditions exist side by side with modern technology and high-powered industry. It is a vibrant, progressive city and was voted as 4th best livable city in the world in 2011.
On 15th April, we headed to Munich for a lifetime experience. The next day, after a warm welcome by the Principal and teachers, we attended classes at the St. Anna’s Gymnasium. It was a unique experience, with friendly students and supporting faculty. We had an experience of the school life and the teaching dynamics in the german way. We also exchanged a few words about our life in India, Indian culture and the things we loved about Munich. Munich sightseeing by foot was incredible. Mr Paul, a teacher at St. Anna’s Gymnasium gave us detailed information about the history and heritage of the city. The magnificent churches built in baroque architecture, the heritage sculptures, museums with world-class collections of artistic masterpieces ,the bustling mareinplatz (the shopping street with designer boutiques and eateries), the” Cathedral Church of Our Lady” with the spectacular onion dome at townhall was a treat for the eyes.
One can experience the true German culture and living only by staying along with a German family, and all of us were really lucky to be hosted by caring and supportive families. Spending time at the dinner table talking about Indian and German culture and food, visiting castles and churches with the family, tasting traditional Bavarian food are few memories I cherish.
The world famous car company BMW, or Bayerische Motoren Werke was founded in Munich in the early 20th century where it is still headquartered. The BMW Museum showcases the history of the BMW company, its brand and its products in an innovative and fascinating presentation format. We had a guided tour of the brand’s most precious and appealing cars, motorcycles and engines. It was surprising to see a car designed to run on liquid hydrogen. With the rise in petrol prices in India, opting for such efficient solutions can bring about a great change. We also visited the olympiapark in Munich, which was constructed for the 1972 Olympics.
Salzburg, a city to the north of Alps in Austria was a breathtaking view. It is only a 90-minute train ride from Munich and one can get an amazing view of the alps during the ride. It was listed as a UNESCO world heritage sight in 1997. It has renowned baroque and renaissance architecture. The Salzburg cathedral (the demons foot cathedral), Mirabell Gardens, St. Peters Abbay, Mozart’s birthplace are a few heritage sights we saw.
On an educational tour, we visited the Department of health and environment, Munich. It was a great learning experience. We learnt about the steps initiated by the Munich government to make Munich a sustainable city. Their climate protection strategy, use of renewable energy, renewable energies expansion campaign, environmental management systems for municipal and tech companies and vital carbon statistics were informative. We also visited the renowned Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich. The faculty of the university comprises of many Noble laureates and it offers numerous courses like medicine, law, sciences, economics and various combinations. The university and the landscaping was remarkable.
All the Indian students enthusiastically took part in the cross country race held at Englischer park in Munich. It was an amazing experience. We had a cultural presentation on India for our German counterparts. All Indian students were in traditional Indian attire and presented a small presentation on Indian history, food, music, dance, culture, festivals, cites etc .
This magnificent tour ended with a farewell dinner. All Indian students danced to the tunes of tugh le, Punjabi beats and dandiyaa and the night ended with a traditional German dinner. After spending a weekend with our German hosts we packed our bags and headed to Bangalore.
This exchange programme was an event that will forever be carved into my memory as ‘one of things I’m so glad I did.’
Everything from the very first German class, to our farewell dinner including getting to know Munich and my visit of a concentration camp was one big adventure. I am glad I got to share this experience with some of the most amazing people and I’m not just talking about the ones from back home, but also the friends we made. I had the honor of having two German counterparts and both of them according to me were the best ones in a lot of very nice people. I could be accused of being partial but when you stay with them, get a chance to be a part of their family for two weeks I got to truly appreciate how friendly and kind they were.
Our German classes were less like classes and more like a fun and interesting project done with good friends and really cool class, literally. We had more fun than any of us anticipated because of the most brilliant German teacher any of us could have hoped for. She had us all drooling on our last day with anticipation of the delights to come. From the moment we arrived at the airport where our partners awaited with signs and smiles welcoming us to their country, our very first home cooked mouthwatering German meal, our first glimpse of St Anna’s, our first subway ride, our first shopping spree at Marien Platz, our first class. This trip has been a bunch of firsts, bundled up into one, giving us an experience we will never forget. Tied together by a bond and understanding of these first times will leave us all connected forever, teachers and students alike.
With each one of us putting on extra pounds of fat with all the cheese we ate, the chance to run in the cross country race was not only exciting but also challenging. On a bright Wednesday morning in English garden (the biggest garden in the city of Munich), we put on our bib numbers to run the marathon. With an hour to spare, we decided to warm up and jog before the event. The flag was waved and we set on. Our first stop was a sand pit, which apparently took out most of our energy. The next one was going through tangled ropes, positioning ourselves at an angle so that the photographers could take photographs. Crossing over the hay stack was fun and jumping down was even more fun. With hurdles and a pit of water to cross over, we finished the first lap. Looking forward, we set for another lap, that took just took half the time. Reminiscing on the victory, we sat on the grass. What a great victory!