2021-02-24 Guest Speaker: Returned Exchange Student Jack King
For his this speech following his exchange, Jack told us about his island home, his host families and life in Germany under COVID restrictions. Unfortunately he had been unable to go on the customary EURO TOUR - which had been cancelled - but his host families tried to ensure he did not miss out on seeing a little bit of Germany. Thus he was able to go to Dortmund for a family Christening and also to Lake Constnace area where his hosts had a holiday house.
Jack was quite safe from the COVID infection - being isolated on an island which could be closed off at any time. During the year he was involved with the other exchange students and Rotex on a Ro-Tree project which involved planting trees.
Jack really loved his exchange and thanked Corowa Rotary for the opportunity of participating in Rotary Youth Exchange.
2020-12 Jack's Report
The last three months of exchange were the worst and best - knowing that I had to go back. I was happy, but also I had to leave a place that I made great friends and people that I will always remember, so at the end of exchange my mind was very mixed.
I had a great German Christmas with some friends and family. Surprisingly I got presents from my family - which didn't help my suitcase situation! But having Christmas in winter was such a crazy thing. It had more of a cosy and homely feel than a crazy 40 degree day at the river like Australia. It was hard to explain to my class that in Australia, November is a time for swimming and going outside with your mates. German November is sleeping and staying in your room with some buddies.
I'm so happy with the experience and if I had to tell future exchange kids something, it would be think about everyday like it’s your last, because that’s what happened to me. When CORONA came on the news and many of my exchange friends from North America and South America had to leave early, what I did was that everyday I was in Germany I treated it like my last because it could have been.
With COVID-19 putting all my plans in the bin, I still probably made the best relationships with my family I could have asked for. It made the lockdown free summer a dream with the sandy beaches of Norderney. I'm happy to be part of the Corona Rotary Kids of 2020 and hope the next Exchange students have the best time of their life, like me.
During the last three months of the last report it has been much easier to get off the island and I have been meeting other exchange students in Oldenburg and Bremen. The island still has quite strict laws on corona but many tourists still come here for the beach. It’s summer so the beach is at its best, so most days I’m busy with friends and on weekends going to the island. I’m going to South Germany on Monday. It should be a fun 8 hour drive since I haven't seen much of Germany. I have switched host families and am with Solaro's who have kids my age which is a bit better. They have animals everywhere and each day I go out and feed the horses. They have a ‘hotel for dogs’ at the back of the house with about 8 - 10 dogs there all the time. Both parents are Veterinarians so they don’t have much free time but I still hangout with the host kids.
Haven’t had many Rotary meetings here, it will probably take a while until I get to go to another one. While in Oldenburg I had a really good time. It's like Melbourne but only the good bits with the food, shops and traffic. The next day I was in Bremen which was also good and shopped there for most of the day and saw some other exchange students who live far away from me.
School is still slow with going every second day, but I made friends with people that I didn’t talk to as much at the start of the year. I still learn German in and out of school but I’m starting to learn Politics and Geography with the teacher teaching me with each word I don’t know.
I have summer holidays now so I can sleep as long as I want. I hope to go to Berlin and Amsterdam with the host family I’m with now and they said they will around Christmas time.
But the first few months have been really fast. It's weird to think that I have only 6 months left and then I fly back and probably go in quarantine for 2 weeks. But I have had no problems that I needed help with except with the money for the euro tour that I will get back in 1 week. A lot of exchange students that came to Germany in July told me a lot of tips to make exchange easier and help me with travelling.
2020-06-10 Jack King - Outbound exchange student
Although the time in Germany was 11.00am, Jack was able to join the Club at our ZOOM Club meeting. Jack introduced his host father – Gunter, who has three sons, so Jack has three host brothers.
There have been 5 Covid19 cases in his town. With Covid19 lock down, all excursions there have been cancelled. However, school is back at 3 days per week and he has been able to extend his German lessons. His learning of the German language is coming along well - especially as his host Mum is his English teacher.
Jack is enjoying his time on Exchange. The weather has not been very good - very windy on the Island most days and it is very cold. Jack thinks the food is better in Germany!!
Jack’s Host Father – Gunter – Is the Rotary Club’s President and is also a Pharmacist by trade. Gunter spoke of the difficult times during the SHUT DOWN with lack of customers etc. - similar to here.
President Paul thanked Gunter for giving time to speak with us during this presentation and will send him a bottle of our Muscat on Jack’s behalf.
2020-05-06 Jack King – Quarterly Report
When I first arrived in Germany, I was greeted by a Rudiger (rotary member) and his son so with a long drive to Norderney. When I arrived at my first host family - the Forner’s - I had a massive dinner and a long night's rest. Marcus, Katherina, Jonas and Charlotte were
really the best, I’m not at that house now but they really really push me to learn the language and without that I probably wouldn't have got to the point I am now.
I am in the same class as Jonas and my teacher is now my host mother. The class was quite excited about having an Australian person in their class. The grandparents of the Forner’s are all alive and well, so I got to see them in Dortmund. While in Dortmund I got to go to a baptism for a short time. This was the first time I spent time in a big German city, and it was really different to a place like Melbourne.
I had my birthday on the day we came back to Norderney and I had a lot of food and then people from mine and Jonas' class threw a surprise birthday party and it was a fun day. School is a bit hard waking up at 7:30 when it is normally 8:30 in Australia but you can have lunch at home which is a big plus. I now have ‘German for Foreigners’ in school and learning it at home while in Corona (lock down).
I have been on trips with other rotary members - going to the Norddeich to get my visa and he told me about the best ways to learn a language, German life after the war and the time he flew over the Sahara desert. We stopped at a wind history museum about the story of wind turbines and the best way to get energy.
The other long trip I took was on the train to Syke to meet other exchange students and that was the best week I had so far with everybody from a different country and meeting Rotex. We had a day of walking around and trivia then at night the South Americans kept us all awake so everybody join them to stay up the whole night but Rotex
didn't tell us about the next day to plant trees for 4 hours for the RoTree project. That wouldn't be a bad idea in Australia after the bushfires and it got everyone talking to each other. Sadly a lot of people had to go back home due to Corona but still high hopes for the newbies.
Germany has really good food or the host parents are really good cooks. Sausage is every night with potatoes and sauerkraut smells so bad but tastes ok it's not my favorite. But the host family now has a lot of barbecues and is the best I have ever (sorry dad). But so far Germany has been great and now I have time for the host family and language.
Pictured: Jack with his host family
2020-01-15 Jack King -Youth Exchange
Jack King, our Club's outbound student for 2020 - is setting out on Friday to travel to Norderney, Germany.
Norderney is one of the seven populated East Frisian Islands in the North Sea, just off the norther coast of Germany.
Jack's host Club - the Rotary Club of Norderney - was Chartered on 16th February 16, 1988 in Rotary District 1850. Their current president initiated and
implemented a project which involved providing reflective bands to children in local schools. These bands can be put on wrists or ankles to supplement bike lighting and provide side on reflection.
Another project in its 7th Year is an Advent Calendar. The calendars were sold out in 3 days this year. They cost 5 Euros each and behind the closed doors are 15,000 Euros in prizes (no wonder they are so popular!!). The vouchers behind the doors are a minimum of 200 Euros and up to a 1000 Euros Travel Voucher. The vouchers are supplied by vets, accountants, painters, carpenters, ferry trips, restaurant meals, building supplies and camping goods.
Jack's proud mum Helen King was present to support him at the Club's farewell.
2019-11-27 DISTRICT GOVERNOR’S VISIT – Jack King – YE Outbound
As part of his visit to our Club, DG Brian Peters spoke about Youth Exchange. He elaborated on the benefits of Youth Exchange – the before and after experiences. As part of this he outlined the benefits of Rotex and the important part the Rotex members play in assisting with the training and orientation of the outbound students and debriefing of the rebound students.
DG Brian presented Outbound student Jack King his blazer and wished him all the very best for his exchange to Germany in 2020.
The Club echoed this sentiment and hoped that Jack’s year would be memorable and special.