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About YFU

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Youth for Understanding is an international youth exchange organization that promotes intercultural exchange programs between South Africa and the world. Our mission is to prepare young people for their responsibilities and opportunities in a changing interdependent world. YFU South Africa is a registered non-profit, volunteer driven organization and has been in existence since 1995. They are many fun ways to get involved in YFU. You can decide to become an exchange student and go away and experience another culture. If you don’t have the opportunity to go on exchange you can also decide to open your home and host a foreign exchange student. Becoming a host family is a great way to experience to learn about another culture and also to share the South African culture and traditions. Become a volunteer for YFU is another option to get involved with YFU. As a YFU volunteer you become professionally trained and the volunteers are involved in all aspects of YFU programs – student and host family selection and placement, preparation, orientation, school enrolment, on-program special activities as well as support during the exchange. All in all there are many fun ways to join the YFU family!


Christmas in South Africa

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I went for 2 weeks in December with my host family to Umhlanga. It is a paradise place close to Durban. We were staying in the Sands, a big hotel right on the sea and with of course the view on the Indian Ocean. The whole family was staying at the hotel: the grandparents, the aunts, uncles and cousins. The days were so nice: pool, sea, waves, restaurant, braai, mall, and meeting people... It did not feel like it was December and almost Christmas at all!! Except a man dressed up as Santa Claus at the reception of the hotel and a Christmas tree, there was not much about Christmas. In the room, we had a tiny little plastic Christmas tree. It is so different from Christmas in France, where there are lights and decoration everywhere in the street, it is cold and snowing, and we have a big decorated Christmas tree. On the 24th at night we went to eat at Ocean’s basket with all the family. We went back to the hotel and at midnight we open the presents. It was a really nice atmosphere, my sisters were so excited. On the 25th, it was a “normal” day for Umhlanga: we went to the pool, swimming in the see... At lunch we braaied and we had a big lunch, a typical South African meal. It was really nice! I still could not feel like it was Christmas but I enjoyed my Christmas in the South hemisphere. - Loanne Guerin exchange student from France


Fun in the Sun

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The second to last day before the school holiday, at the end of March, I accompanied my (host-) ma to her school. She is a teacher at the primary school. She is a teacher at the primary school down the street from my high school. This particular day, the teachers at my ma’s school had organized 7 huge water sides. One for each grade. I helped ma keep an eye on her grade 4’s and got to spend the entire day in the sun, running around. All in all it was an exhausting but fun day. Caroline Albrecht exchange student from Sweden


6 Among elephants in Zimbabwe My holiday in Zimbabwe is quite different from my life in South Africa. I wake up every morning at around 6 o’clock, then I need to feed the baby reedbuck with his bottle, he needs to be fed four times a day. After that it is time to make the food ready for the elephants, a lot of fruit we need to carry in four buckets for the elephants. After the feeding it is time to bring the elephants to their paddock, we ride the elephants to their paddocks. For the horses, cows and elephants me and my aunt drive the water tank with a tractor to the different paddocks. In the evening the elephants come back to their boma and there they get their supper. The season has been very dry and hot, luckily we had a bit of rain recently. So everything is nice and green again. The wild elephant herds come often for water to the dam that is at one of the elephant paddocks. Sometimes there are about 50 elephants coming but I just saw five of them... In the house there is a parrot that is always whistling or talking to us. And the three big dogs are always accompanying us when we walk around on the farm. So far I really enjoy living on a farm but the ants and flies are irritating. Katrin Schßrmann, exchange student from Switzerland


Doing sports in South Africa

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One thing about South African school sports People here take it a lot more serious than I (as a European) could have imagined. So I did not know what waited for me when I signed up to participate in discus and shortput for my school at the interhigh. There was not specific reason for my choice of events, I just thought if I do these field events I would not have to run and kill myself by doing that and I can still experience the “South African school sport vibe”. I did not know my coaches very well at that time I think, who was determined to win the high school sports in our district. So, the four weeks before the interhigh we found ourselves at the stadium, from 7am to 10am. From 7am to 9.30am we did “fitness” translated running” only the last 30 minutes we actually practised our event. But our hard work paid off in the end and Kiptown High School won the interhigh. At that competition I took the second place in shortput and the first place in discus in my age group (I was surprised myself!) That means I was not done with sports yet, I could go on and now I would not throw for the school anymore but for the area, in my case, Eldorado Park. The next competition took place in Rosetterville where all the smaller districts from Southern Johannesburg came together. I did not take the first or second place in shortput this time, so I was out of that competition but I took the second place in discus so I moved on to the provisional’s that took place in Germstone a couple weeks later. The athletes there competed to represent Gauteng and that was where my school sports career ended as I only throw the discus half as far as some girls in my age group there. But it was ok for me since I never thought I would make it that far in the first place and the best thing about the sports was not the winning, for me it was and still is being a part of an incredible team that actually achieves something and sticks together. And if it takes early morning suffering sessions to develop this spirit, I would do it again, anytime. Charlotte Spangenberg exchange student from Germany

See next page for photos...


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Don’t know what you are doing this summer? -Join the Cultural and Language Immersion Program!

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CULTURE SPOTS A SHORT TERM CULTURAL AND LANGUAGE IMMERSION PROGRAM July 3 – 19, 2015 (optional: extension through July 26) A two-week homestay program in Goettingen, Niedersachsen, including a language course and afternoon activities with an optional additional one-week-trip through Germany for students aged 14,5 - 17 at program commencement. Program components • Two-week homestay with host families found by YFU • a certified language course offered by the Goethe Institute containing 40 lessons (45 minutes each) over a course of 2 weeks (weekdays in the mornings); the instructional levels will be determined through language pre-testing; beginners course is available1. The participants will receive a certificate of attendance at the end (not a language certificate); • a program weekdays in the afternoons consisting of a mixture of Sight-Seeing and educational aspects (museums, city-tour, excursions to relevant locations in the area etc.) organized partly by the GI and partly by YFU; some parts of the program will be picked up in the language course; • Evenings and weekends spent with the HFs; • An Arrival Orientation and a Re-Entry; • Insurance coverage; • German volunteers chaperoning the group while on program and acting as support persons where needed; • Optional: an additional one-week tour through Germany operated by a professional agency.


10 1 We will have two groups of about 10 students per class. Each group should have approximately the same knowledge of German to benefit the most from the lessons. General schedule 3rd of July, 2015 3rd – 4th of July 4th of July (evening) 6th – 17th of July 18th of July 19th of July 26th of July

International flight to Frankfurt, bus shuttle transfer to Goettingen, arrive at orientation site Arrival orientation Departure to host family Language course at Goethe Institute (mornings), cultural activities (afternoon), time with host family (evenings and weekend) Reentry, start Germany-Tour Without Germany-Tour: Departure to home country, bus shuttle transfer from Goettingen to Frankfurt, international flight from Frankfurt After Germany-Tour: Departure to home country via international flight from Frankfurt


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                                 Fancy  another  destination?   Go  to  Greece  and  join  the  Greek  summer   program   instead.  Interested?  Contact  the  YFU  office     for  more  information!    


Two new Interns

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Hello everyone,

My name is Jane and I will be the new intern in Pretoria. My first couple of weeks are over now and it almost feels like being an exchange student again, living in a new family, getting to know a new country, its culture and its languages. But I am not an exchange student anymore, although I wish I could get the opportunity one more time. I am now working at the YFU office in Pretoria until the end of July. I am from Germany and I used to live in Berlin the last couple of years for my studies in social work, which I just finished last September. 2007/2008 I went on an exchange with YFU to the US, where I stayed with a single-mom and two of her children in Modesto, California. It was a great and adventurous experience for me and that’s why I decided to work voluntarily for YFU Germany. I’ve been involved in different activities, like selecting students, mentoring inbound students and helping out at orientations. And now I want to experience a new YFU country and learn more about YFU South Africa, its members, its routines and its students. I’m very glad to be here and I hope I’ll get to meet some of you in the next upcoming months. My name is Linnea and I am also an intern in Pretoria. Many of you have already met me since I have been here since January. I am from Sweden and I went on exchange to the USA. I lived in Montana, which I was told had more cows than people. It was so much fun and I had an awesome time which is why I decided to become a volunteer for YFU. I have been helping out on different orientations, been a junior contact person and my family has also been a host family. Right now my family has a girl from Germany staying with them. In Sweden I live in Gothenburg and I am currently finishing up my bachelor degree in political science. I really enjoy S.A so far especially the weather and all the friendly people. I hope to see you on the next YFU orientation.


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Quality family Time

Real Scottish/Irish festival outside Dullstroom at a place called Tonteldoos. We called ourselves the Hoedspruit Highlanders and we walked away with all the prizes. Caroline won the prize for the furthest visitor. All the way from Sweden. Although it was raining the whole day we we also got a great SA tan. Swart Family Juan’s first time fishing!

Fun times in Middleburg with the Esterhuyzen family!


Experience a different part of South Africa, thoughts on the cultural exchange

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I do not know where to start... Just came back from the two week culture exchange. It was an amazing time which let me grow a lot even though it was way too short for really getting to know my family. We were picked up on our school on the 6th of March from our host families. A big white pickup with a lot of children and older kids was picking me up. My dad was in the car and introduced his self and so did I. At home I got to know my mom and they showed me my room which I shared with my sister Nandi (17). I also had two little brothers (5/6) and a little sister Nandile (14) and three older brothers, all older than 20. They all have big families there. And there are no whites at all so everyone is starring at you. Kids was scared of me and shy to talk to me. We washed in small plastic tubs and had no running water. It was just like on TV. Kids play outside with stones in the dust and they wear dirty clothes. They do not really have good phones and are not into technology. In the day it was flipping hot!! Beside eating huge grasshoppers, chicken feet and strange vegetables I experienced the loud church on Sunday in which everybody was praying super loud and singing a lot and even healing people with stomach ache. I also went to the Monument where the President of Mozambique once crashed into the Mountain. Once with my family and once with a school teacher and some other exchange students. We visited a lot of family members and ate a lot of Bupp. My classmates even gave me a Swazi Name (Lerato means love).Many girls in my class already have a baby. Each and every day we went to school in the heat for like 45 min. The second week we took a taxi in the morning. We always drove at the back of the pick up that is such a cool feeling with the fresh air when it is hot. We also went to a swimming pool once, R20 each person that is just a little bit more than one euro. It was a good cool down. I tried to teach my sisters how to swim but they were very scared.


15 Many people had funny English names here like: Forgiveness, Grace, Pretty,... the one boys name was Goodman. At my father’s moms place there was dogs which bite and was really dangerous. That was the first time I was scared of a dog. My father was always proud of me when he introduced me to friends or family members: ”This is my daughter from Germany. We are all one doesn’t matter if we are black coloured or white!”. - that is so true and I love and see them as my family! We was even at a healers place they call themselves Ancestors. He throw stones, bones, coins, shells and Domino stones on the floor while he was whispering my name and then he told me about my future that was quite interesting. After that the children and woman beat the drums and he was dancing. He was wearing a white t shirt and a white long skirt. And he had shells and a ring in his rasta hair. He danced strange it was like stepping on the ground and whistling through his mouth. His whole body was shaking and sometimes he went down sitting on his knees. It was as if he were in a different world. I will never forget these two weeks. My awesome family which took me to many places, my lovely friends which was teaching me how to eat by hands and even the teachers which was asking me everyday how I am and the teacher who took us to the Monument. I could write pages about this two week as I did in my diary but it would take too long. But it was also hard to live like that and now I appreciate everything I have even more. It will become hard to get over the memories and pictures in my head I have now. But I am sure I will! After a time..... So that was everything important. Now I am back and the first thing I did was taking a long shower. I missed that haha. But I am so thankful for this gorgeous trip! Thanks YfU! Ronja Frenking exchange student from Germany See next page for photos...


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My exchange so far ...

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I am in the middle of my exchange year and what can I say. So far so good, by so good I mean great. I have done things and been to places that I had never imagine. With a great host family and new friends. New places and new a school, exposing yourself to a different culture. I am only in the middle of my exchange and I can still say its been the best. Being in exchange I can say, I have been skiing in Austria, viewing the beautiful architecture of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and being able to to watch Barcelona FC playing in the Camp Nou Stadium. Exchange has been so for the best, trying and learning new thing everyday. Experiencing another and learning its beautiful language. Go on exchange, try new things and expose your self. Learn more about our Great World and its Beautiful Countries. Benedict Apalata, an exchange student from South Africa on exchange in Germany


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Yfu SA Newsletter May 2015  
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