Germany is one of the most influential countries of the world, from its technological innovations, to contributions to science, art and music. The war had damaging effects on the country, but the nation and its people have been able to move forward to embrace liberalism and modernity. Germany has many historical sites, as well as small villages with medieval castles and cobble stones.
*Germany will consider accepting students aged 14 on arrival on a case by case basis.
Students that would like to go to Germany must take a German language test. Students who have not passed the test or who have not studied German at all must participate in an intensive language camp in Germany, approximately 1 month prior to the exchange (at additional cost). Students that have studied German must still complete the test but may not be required to attend the language course.
There are 3 main types of secondary schools in Germany: the “Gymnasium”; the “Realschule”: and the “Hauptschule”. Comprehensive schools are also popular, as they combine all 3 school forms.
The school year normally begins in August and ends in June, and usually has a 2 week long Autumn, Winter, and Spring breaks, and a 6 week long Summer breaks. Each state in Germany decides individually on the dates of the school breaks. Normal school hours at an all day Gymnasium are from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, however many schools choose to have no lunch break and end earlier in the afternoon at 2:00 pm. Classes last normally between 1-2 hours with 15-20 minute breaks every 2 hours. Students take between 9-12 classes each semester.
In the upper school levels, students choose 2 or 3 main subjects areas they find interesting that they graduate with. Many classes are seminar based with teachers instructing and students taking notes, however students are also expected to lead discussions and are graded on their input.
German students normally have a lot of free time during the week they use to study for school, participate in clubs or socialise with friends.
Most families with children have between 1 and 4 children. It is normal for both parents to work, although there is a percentage of mothers who do choose to stay at home. Women are equals in the household and in society and are expected to be treated respectfully.
Although the parents are considered the heads of the household, there is normally a large amount of trust given to children. One thing many host families have in common is a meal eaten together. This can happen every day at lunch or dinner or can be a larger family meal on weekends. There is often a set list of chores assigned to the younger family members, like maintaining the garden, taking out garbage, cleaning the bathrooms and hallways, and walking the family dog.
Germans are usually very precise about who is assigned which task and when they should do it. German youth are seen by their parents more as young adults than children and are expected to run and manage their own lives to a large degree. The 1st and 2nd male child from every household are required to complete either a civil service program or enrol with the German military for 9 months after graduating from the Gymnasium.
Clubs play an important role for youth and vary from sports, religious groups, and civil services groups.
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