We had our final and last exchange from 15 to 20 th of May in the Jugendbildungsstätte Babenhausen in Germany. There were pupils aged from 14 to 16 from Croatia, France and Germany and we had some guests from Israel joining our Exchange.
The subject of the week was sustainability and water. The aim was beneath the cultural Exchange to give the pupils a better understanding of the needs for sustainability especially shown at the topic of water. The 38 pupils and 7 teachers got a challenge to experience new methods of learning by doing a mixture between outdoor education, cooperative games and science learning.
Of Course that one aim is the cultural understanding the pupils slept in mixed Country Groups. The Seminar language was English even as unfortunately the British Partner Schools couldnÂ´t manage to join this Program. So the pupils needed to take respect and consideration from the first minute they met. Slowey at the first evening on Monday it became forming a Group of Young European pupils who were interested in each other and tried to understand the differences in the way of lifeâ€™s.
On the first day the pupils had a training in cooperation and communication to learn how to work together and to communicate even under tricky conditions. It was fun and challenge at once and they had a great time. In the evening they presented their country to the others to get an idea how life is there. It was also very interesting to have the guests from Israel which made the very different life there more visible for us Europeans.
With the teachers we made a Special program to get them used to the ideas of environmental education and outdoor education on one Hand and one the other to Show how important cooperative work could be for the class community. We did it as learning by doing session to give them some methods that they could use them maybe on there own when they were back in their countryâ€™s.
On Wednesday, our so called science day, we got into the water and sustainability subjects. We started with a visit in the purification plant of Babenhausen and for more than 70% of the pupils and teachers it was the first time they saw something like this. It was an interesting and intense smell that took the pupils in awareness of how they use and treat water and how sensible the whole System is. After the very interesting excursion we drove to the Fischereihof Salgen . There we went in two Groups to do some scientific work and the bioindicators of a little stream and to have a look to the breeding of endangered fish species. We got an very interesting and comprehensive overview over the topic of water. After that we went with the whole Group to the medieval City of Mindelheim and had a look in history how People had water distribution in middle age and what were the hygienic circumstances.
On Thursday we went to the area of Oberstdorf to see the mountains and to have a look at a very special natural water system. We visited the Gorge of Breitachklamm to see and feel the power of nature and get impressions how humans shaped natural Environments by now. After that we had a nice touristic Event and went for the third Aggregate Status of water. We went ice Skating in Oberstdorf and that was a real fantastic experience for the pupils. Because helping each other, having fun and getting new experience is al laying closed together. At night the pupils had a Little pre Party and went for socialization.
Friday we had our European Conference day. Bevor starting to get the conference we went to the nearby School and accompanied the signing of the cooperation between JugendbildungsstÃ¤tte Babenhausen, Anton Fugger Realschule and a School in Israel. Of Course we also had a look to the School to get an Impression of it. After that we watched a movie about privatization of water in Europe to get the sensitiveness of thinking about how we would like to treat our water in future. Every Country Group should discuss about privatization of water, use of pesticides in agriculture and biodiversity in water Systems like rivers and streams. Each Country should than make a decision how they would like the future for Europe in a sustainable way and they presented their conclusions on the three topics. After that they discussed in the European conference those Statements together and they should decide and vote for a common statement that everybody is agreeing with. The idea is that the pupils got an better understanding of European thinking and behaving. It was a very interesting discussion and opened up the minds to be more aware of political things going on.
At the evening we have had a farewell Party which lasts to the early morning. On Saturday after a lot of tears we finally said farewell but I think we made a lot of new friends and will stay in contact and help to make the world a better place with peace and understanding and a sustainable way to treat this beautiful planet.
This week was a real European feeling with fun, learning and creating something together for a sustainable future! Thank you all for the brilliant time!