YOUTH FOR UNDERSTANDING NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2009 Hello to YFU and friends all over South Africa, winter is over and with the new season in our country there arrived and departed a new generation of exchange students and YFU interns. In this newsletter we will hear about their first impressions about life in a new world. Some of you got to know me already: I am Lisa from Potsdam, Germany, 19 years old and I arrived in Pretoria one month ago. So here I am, into the YFU work from the first day on, joining and supporting Rynette in- and outside our regional office in Gauteng. As an YFU student I went on exchange to Chile in 06/07, loved my time there and back home I started doing volunteer work, especially in PR in my region, promoting our programs at schools, in newspapers, giving orientations for future exchange students, etc.
Jonas, me (Lisa), host dad, mom and brother Benj
When I am not doing YFU-work I love travelling, being outside, riding my bike, go for swimming, meeting friends, play theatre, sing and laugh the whole day. I am looking forward to meet you and hope that all of us are going to have a wonderful time! Before I finish I would like to thank Jaymion and Fez for their contribution to this newsletter. And now I hope you will enjoy the next pages full of YFU feeling! Warm regards, Lisa Hannemann
GENERAL INFROMATION ABOUT THE 2009/2010 GENERATION At the beginning of July 40 students from Austria, Chile, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland arrived at OR Tambo, International Airport Johannesburg and went from there to a one-week
orientation to Bundu Inn, full of fun and first impressions. Afterwards they were received by their host families all over the country, have started going to school and beginning their exchange years and are doing pretty well. More about the orientations you can find on the next pages of this newsletter. Additionally, we have had the summer programme students in Gauteng for 6 weeks. Apart from going to school and experiencing every day life in South Africa, Sindy, Mary, Louis, Liesbeth and Delphine were very lucky, travelling to many places, like the Kruger Park, Soweto or Sun City. Here we can see them at the gate of the Kruger Park. By now we have visited quite a number of students already, talked to them and their families, spoke about school, the process of adaptation and gave support where it was needed. Sadly, not everything went so well for one of our German students. Enjoying school and family life, from one day of the other Leonie Simsch had to go to the hospital. Luckily, she got better after the medical treatments. Nevertheless she had to fly back to her country after just two month in South Africa, to continue rehabilitation therapies to recover completely. All of us send her love and power and are waiting for her to come back to finish her exchange year.
WE WANT TO SAY THANK YOU... ... to all the families who have been and are hosting a YFU exchange student! Only with your love, care and will to open house and heart to our students, these kids can make the wonderful experience about what it means to live in South Africa.
YFU - ORIENTATION SEMINARS Post Arrival Orientation (PAO) Gauteng. Wow, where to begin? Perhaps the airport arrival is a good placeâ€Ś YFU volunteers, Rynette (Regional Head Gauteng) and Nina (Regional Head Cape Town) arrived at the airport well before 7AM to meet the students!
Two and a half hours later, a group of eager and tired students exited the terminal and began taking pictures of the traditional Zulu dancers‟ performance. With a few more students scheduled to arrive in a few hours, the group (students and volunteers) had brunch at Spur (where the students got their first experience of „food‟ in South Africa). The Gauteng students boarded a bus along with teamers Ngoako, Kagiso and Laura (German flight leader) to the orientation destination, Bundu Inn! After resolving a few hiccups regarding rooms, the students took in the nature, sunset and got some rest. Still not knowing each other all too well, we decided to play a few games, where we got to know each other better (but more importantly had fun)! After dinner, we played another game called „Mafia‟ which was full of suspense and laughs! The highlight of Wednesday had to definitely be a little activity called „Fear Factor‟. The students were challenged to be open-minded and try new things. New things indeed for some of the teamers as well, as we served up Mopani worms and chicken feet. We then got the students to try biltong, which after the previous treats, were a little reluctant ^^, To their surprise most of them really enjoyed biltong (like most people)! This exercise taught the students to try new things. It‟s ok not to like everything but a year of experiences lie ahead and an open-mind is the key to their adventures. Later on that night we performed a few South Africa-related skits, which were most amusing (thanks guys for putting in an effort)! To wear the students down a bit, we played stork the lantern, which despite the bright moon, went very well! I don‟t think anyone there can forget Mathilde‟s win ^^. Thursday came and the week went by faster than most people can say „A, Ka, So‟. The sunday was spent at the flea market. Students got to bargain their purchases of some African craft, which was quite funny. A Snake Park was located in the same market, where some students got to wrap a snake around their necks. On our return to Bundu Inn, it was time to say farewell to most of the Gauteng students, who were fetched by their host families. Personally, I can say that this year looks to be an interesting year with the Gauteng students. A lot of personalities came through and funny stories, which we will be sharing with each other at the Middle Seminar, if not sooner. Wishing the students a good year and keep keeping me updated! Fezekile Zondo (YFU-SA Volunteer, Gauteng Region)
Post Arrival Orientation (PAO) Bloemfontein.
After an exhausting wait at the airport in Johannesburg, the Bloemfontein students finally embarked upon the journey by minibus to the Free State where they would spend their exchange year. Singing jovially to the tunes of Joubert‟s „Hit Giganten‟, the journey was pleasant and the atmosphere that of excitement and anticipation of what lie ahead. After an interactive and busy Post Arrival Orientation (PAO) at the „Kinderhuis‟, the students could hardly wait meet their host families. Thanks to 'oom' Joubert and „tannie‟ Christine, the PAO was truly memorable. Oom Joubert was kind enough to take the students on a tour Bloemfontein, we did a tour of the entire town in what felt like less than 15 minutes! Jaymion Hendricks (YFU-SA JVC Co-ordinator)
Jaymion Hendricks (YFU-SA JVC Co-ordinator)
Post Arrival Orientation (PAO) Cape Town. The Cape Town PAO took place in the scenic Nature Reserve of the Koggelberg. About an hour‟s drive from Cape Town, the students were able to enjoy the beautiful surrounding mountains, as well the close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean in the idyllic town of Kleinmond. The PAO was fun filled with lots of laughter, games and contentious discussions around South African culture. Most memorable was the attempt by the students to „braai‟ meat on the last evening of the PAO. This proved to be quite the challenge, as getting the fire started proved to be an arduous task on its own! The PAO was concluded with a round of bowling in Cape Town- which was entertaining to say the least! Jaymion Hendricks (YFU-SA JVC Co-ordinator)
Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) Limpopo. I conducted a rather small and „intense‟ PDO with Chantelle van der Merwe at the Polokwane Library Gardens. The meeting took place on Friday the 31 July. It was just in time for her departure for Finland on the 4 th of August 2009 at 23:30. To say the least, she couldn‟t have been more prepared ^^. She was very excited about the beginning of her new adventure. We went over several points that will make her exchange experience more enjoyable and to calm any nerves that may have existed. We began discussing culture shock, adapting to a new lifestyle and the contrasts between life in Finland and South Africa. We then moved onto answering any questions that she might have had and made sure all was well before she left. I believe she will have a terrific time and enjoy her once in a lifetime experience. I would also like to add that the orientation meeting was aided by a volunteer in training, who recently joined our ever increasing YFU family. She will be helping me out upon my return to Polokwane and join the Limpopo junior volunteer crew. Ngoako Mashitisho (YFU-SA Volunteer, Gauteng/Limpopo Region)
SOUTH A FRICA - A TRIP TO REMEMBER From a tourist‟s perspective, I experienced a great country‟s nature, played with a 3 month old lion cub, patted a cheetah and ate Mopani worms! Fortunately, I am part of an intercultural family- YFU! Working as a volunteer for YFU Germany has been amazing, ever since returning from my exchange year in Alaska, USA (04/05). But getting the chance to travel to South Africa as a flight attendant in July 09 was almost like going on exchange again. The ecstatic feeling at the airport, when you feel that something exciting is about to happen, as well as all the new impressions were just breath-taking. Thanks to my YFU background, I got the chance to enjoy parts of South African culture and also hang out with a bunch of personalities from various countries at the Gauteng PAO. Sitting in a group of German, Swedish, Norwegian, Austrian, Swiss and French exchange students, and South African teamers we laughed, had fun, enjoyed life and on one evening even ended up singing „Brother Jacob‟ in seven languages. Such experiences really make one notice how wonderful life can be- thanks to YFU! As a „Global-player‟ and YFU family member I can say: See you soon!
Laura Niemann (YFU Germany Volunteer)
ONE MONTH IN NKOWANKOWA So far our time here has been great. We both came to experience something different, AND WE DID! Most of the streets are made by dirt and full of holes. The houses are usually quite small, they eat their food with their hands and we love it. Nkowakowa is divided in section A, B, C and Mbamba-matches, which means search for the matches since they don‟t have any electricity. That‟s not completely true though, because they steal electricity from the townships main frame. We are the only white guys in our schools and Casper joined the rugby team and Markus joined the soccer team. We wear school uniforms, which feels very unusual. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starts with an assembling, which is a school meeting for all of the pupils and teachers where we sing Christian songs and pray for a better life. The church is very important; almost everyone is a true Christian who goes to church every Sunday. The time in church is really something special. Everybody is dancing, no matter if you are young or old. They are using electric guitars, drums and huge speakers which makes it feel more like a party than a church service. We both have black families which gives us the opportunity to really get into the African culture. To eat chicken feet, chicken necks or some Mopani-worms is no longer a strange feeling even though we never will get used to the consistence. Pap is replacing pasta or rice and the sugar is all over the place. If you want to drink tea you have to be ready for a sweet tea, at least two spoons of sugar, and that‟s if you are on diet. Now we are a part of the people and we are learning more Xitsonga for every day. The feeling that you are one of them is quite amazing. You get a lot of attention because they are not used to either whites or foreigners. The Xitsonga people are very friendly and hospitable, so it‟s absolutely no problems to get friends around here. Markus Ponten and Casper Wollberg (Exchange students from Sweden and now in Tzaneen)
ARRIVAL IN FRANCE It‟s been an adventure and a half, and I‟ve been exhausted since I arrived!!! I had my first experience of a long distance journey by aeroplane, and it wasn‟t this amazing flight that I‟ve always imagined it to be. I felt sick, couldn‟t sleep and was ready to disembark the moment that we arrived in France . Feeling slightly cationic, I met my YFU representative at the International Arrivals Terminal, and was greeted in Afrikaans! That woke me up a bit… The representative who had come to fetch me had been on exchange to South Africa, and so he was eager to reconnect with someone coming from his former host country. I was really happy that he spoke English – I had prepared myself to be speaking French from the moment I arrived, and wasn‟t feeling too confident about it. I was taken on a tour around Paris , and instead of just visiting all the world famous tourist attractions, I was granted entry to Paris in the eyes of a Parisian. I saw the streets where all the Jewish / Kosher shops are situated; I was advised on which where to go for things that were cool; trendy; expensive; affordable. I tasted “les gummis” which are gummy sweets in English. It was great! The next two days saw the arrival of all the other exchange students, who were courageously entering into the land of the French, like me. We all went through the orientation together, recapping the rules and regulations that we had been briefed upon in our home countries. We learnt about the different regions that we were going to, and we got to bond with one another before plunging into the unknown. I made quite a few friends at the orientation, with who I have kept in contact, and it‟s nice to be able to share my thoughts and feelings with people who are going through a similar type of culture shock as me. At the end of the orientation, I was sad to say goodbye to the people I had come to be comfortable with. The YFU guides and all the exchange students had been really friendly and fun, and I wasn‟t sure if things would be the same in my new host family, host town and host school. I bravely boarded the train with two other girls who were heading in the same direction as me, and after what seemed like four very short four hours, I arrived at the Rennes Station. There stood my host mom and host sister, and as I stepped off the train, I Marijke (now on exchange in The Netherlands), smiled and was greeted by a full French Erin and Volunteer Jaymion during their pre introduction. deparure orientation in Cape Town
The first day or two were days of dictionary mania, and I learned that rather than saying “Oui, je comprend” (Yes, I understand), I could say I actually had no idea what they were talking about. I‟ve been keeping a small phone book in which I write all the new vocabulary that I learn, and writing in there has helped me to remember so much. I visited the fort in Saint Malo, which is very well known and has a significant history in France . I tasted crêpes (which are a specialty of the region, Bretange, that I‟m in), which with Nutella, were absolutely heavenly! Once again, things had eased up, and I was having a great time with my host family. They were really nice, understanding and patient with me, and it took no time for me to settle in and begin with the household chores. And then, schools opened, and I was once again filled with a nervous worry that it wasn‟t going to be as good as what I was experiencing. I arrived a day early, for my host sister to attend a day of orientation. It was nice to get a feel for the entrance, and I went to speak to the secretary and hand in my final enrolment forms. The next day, things really began. Our names were read out at 8 o‟ clock, and I happened to be in the first class that was being announced. Stunned by this rapidly spoken foreign language, I followed my peers up to our classroom, and the teacher explained the basics for the year. After that, we were free to go home, and my next lesson began at 17h00. I took the metro and the bus back home, a commonly done thing in the majority of French people‟s lives, and excitedly, I recounted everything to my mom, with whom I spoke to for the first time since arriving. Today was my fourth day at Lycée Emile Zola, and as each day goes by, things are easier to understand, I‟m more confident in making friends, and I‟m beginning to feel comfortable again. Tomorrow, I am meeting with my YFU contact person, and I‟m really looking forward to discussing with him all the challenges I have already faced, and how to prepare for all those that have yet to come. Erin Lotz (Outbound Student to France)
WANTED: Outbound Students
DO YOU WANT TO...
YFU is looking for students between 15 and 18 years who want to spend 6 or 12 month abroad, discovering a new country, living in a Host family, gong to school and experience another way of live. If you are interested, please contact us and apply now!
BEING INTO THE DANISH INTERSHIP It has been two weeks since our (Ngoako‟s and my) arrival in Denmark. On arrival we were notified of the organisation's expectations for us during our stay. YFUDenmark explained that we would be spending most of our time participating in school presentations and orientation meetings. They went on to saying that we would be hosted in different parts of Denmark, which meant that a lot of travelling ^^. In the two weeks since 19 August, we‟ve already done four school presentations and attended an orientation meeting. We‟ve been fortunate to have been hosted by varies Danish families in Århus, Malling, Randers, Viborg and Skive. During the school presentations we speak about general life in South Africa; i.e.: the population, nine provinces, 11 official languages, life as a teenager in S.A. We explain the different exchange programmes offered and discuss how an exchange can change ones life. Most of the students that we have spoken to seem to be interested in life in South Africa before and after apartheid. Although it seems like it's been all work and no play (with the exception of all the travelling we‟ve done), we have had the opportunity to do a lot of sight-seeing and attending youth gatherings. Not understanding the language can make you feel a bit lonely at times, but it feels as though we‟re adapting well. I must say, it‟s fun learning Danish and fun experiencing Danish lifestyle. We have also been very lucky to have met some South Africans along the way. I must say, that even though it has only been two weeks, I believe that I know much more about Denmark now, than I could of from books or the Internet :) Edwina Stolley (YFU-SA Volunteer interning at YFU-Denmark)
MEETING THOSE WHO EVERYBODY WANTS TO MEET Every country has their own celebrities, people that are well-known in that specific land. In such small country as Finland, you bump into celebrities quite easily. But when it comes to a country as big as South Africa, it's a privilege to meet really famous people. This happened to me a few times, though I didn't know it at first. When people around me started screaming or acting weird, I realized that we're in the presence of someone important. When this happened, I was just amazed. I had this ''am-Isupposed-to-know-you'' look on my face when celebrities passed me.
First time it happened to me in Loftes when I was going to watch a Bluebull game. I walked pass a short, well-tanned man who was just a nobody to me. Then my host mom stopped me and said that I should go and get an autograph from him. Apparently this man was the main coach of the Springboks, Pieter de Villiers! Before the game I got the chance to see the Blou Bulletjie Mascot and took a picture with him, or perhaps I should say it. During the game, this same evening, when we were walking through the audience, people suddenly got hysteric. This time the center of the attention was Victor Mathfield, one of the best rugby players of the South Africa. I didn't have the chance to take a picture with him, because apparently he didn't enjoy the company of screaming kids, which I totally understand... The third time I met famous people (that I'm supposed to know), was at the Jacaranda walk. This time I actually knew a few of these people that were Mandla, Hilda and Oubas from 7de Laan. But the star of the day was Ryk Neetling, the best swimmer of SA, but still unknown to me. I got his autograph and a picture but it's still hard for me to remember his name, to be honest. Culture hits you in a weird way, in pieces, like in a puzzle. Some times I find it very amusing, like told above. I'm very lucky that I've met all these people, even though I've been in South Africa just for a couple of months! Let's just wait where I get if I keep up this speed...!
Emmi Korkalainen (from Finland and now in Pretoria)
SOUTH AFRICA ON ICE My time here in South-Africa has so far just been amazing with new people I meet every day, both at school, with the family and in the figure skating club. I did figure skating at home in Norway and I really wanted to go on with that during my exchange year here in South Africa. Therefore I wrote in my host family letter that I would like to live close to an Ice rink. Youth for Understanding told me that it could be quite hard finding a family like that. But as we all know YFU can fix everything ;) The result of this is that my host sister also does figure skating. We practice together four or five days a week. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday we practice in the
mornings from half past 5 to 7 oâ€&#x;clock and Tuesday and Thursday we have practice after school. I have got two coaches; one main coach and one choreograph coach. I am really happy with them both. The biggest difference between ice skating in Norway and ice skating in South-Africa is the groups we practice with. In Norway I used to practice for 2 hours in a group of 5 people. Here you practice alone with your coach for 30 minutes and then you practice alone for 90 minutes. This was quite a big change, but now I am happy with this kind of working. Without this the practice is pretty much the same as in Norway. I have already taken part in my first competition. That was a small club competition, but it was an exactly perfect start. From the 12th until the 14th of October I am, as a guest skater, taking part in the South-African nationals. I am really looking forward for that! Later on I am going to Cape Town for a competition there also. I am so pleased with everything both my family and my coaches are doing for me! Through figure skating I also have got to know a lot of people. They are all really nice and have become close friends. I am so happy that I chose to do figure skating while I am staying here in South-Africa and words cannot describe how thankful I am to YFU that they worked so hard to find a family that could give me this opportunity.
Anette Lande (from Norway and now in Johannesburg)
UPCOMING YFU EVENTS Family Day (Pretoria)
10th of October
29th of November â€“ 12th of December
YOU WANT TO CONTACT US... YFU Office (Cape Town)
Iris (Port Elizabeth)
Published on Sep 16, 2009
In this spring publication we have: - Stories from our inbounds and their orientations - Pre Departure Orientation in Limpopo - Capeto...