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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

NEWSLETTER APRIL 2013

Youth For Understanding South Africa Newsletter April 2013

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

From: The desk of our JVC chairman Welcome to the first issue of the year! We have had a fantastic summer, filled with the arrival of several semester students, looking back at the experiences of students who have been here for six months already and, of course, most recently the Cultural Exchange which is always a highlight for the students every year without fail. Our volunteers are not quite through this busy season, we have had Rynette visiting our European counterparts in Slovakia and the Operational Team for the meeting in Pretoria in March while Mariana attended the counselling workshop in Hungary during April. We are always pleased to bring you the news from the YFU SA community and we are also appreciative of all the articles we get from students, families and volunteers; this is what makes our organisation and this is definitely what makes the newsletter. I certainly hope the news from this issue will be an inspiration to the new and information to the curious and fun for everyone. As usual I could go on about what the issue will entail, but who better is equipped to do that than the newsletter itself. I hope you enjoy the read and always remember to share the newsletter with as many people at home, work, school or in the world in general, because why keep a good thing to yourself. HAVE FUN and SHARE Ngoako Mashitisho – Board Member

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

MY EXCHANGE YEAR EXPERIENCE SO FAR –Lebogang Madlopho from Polokwane, Limpopo Province My first thought of the idea of being an exchange student to Germany was that I get to travel, have fun and experience new things that i had never before, and considered that not a hard thing to do. But then the days of me starting to pack my stuff and bidding farewell to family and friends got closer and closer than reality finally started kicking in and had to say my last goodbyes to my loved ones which was no child's play, believe me.

A few days after all the tear shedding and mixed feelings. I was finally at my destination and thought that all those mixed emotion were all behind me not having any idea that I was kidding myself and that there was more coming which was greater than before. Now I was in a foreign country with a different lingo and sounded alien to me and I couldn't understand a single word they say but now you would be surprised at how much I understand or can say even though it might not be perfect but for me, it is a great achievement and improvement and still an on-going process.

Apart from all those confusing moments, some good came out of it. I now have gained two loving families who opened up their homes to a total stranger but never for one second made me feel or treat me like one instead they treated me like one of their kids and shared moments that nobody can ever erase and will forever be cherished. And because of those moments and time we spent together I think deciding to become an exchange student was the best decision I co uld have ever taken. I guess from all you have read so far, you would say everything is smooth sailing but not everything is like that for me because after a few weeks I had to start school. I was first put in the 9th grade for 3 weeks and for a 17 year old you can imagine how hard it was for me in a class full of people that you are 2 or 3 years older than and at times I would feel lonely and out of place. Thanks for my sake all that was over and I was moved to at least a higher grade (10) though it is still not the exact grade I have to be in but that doesn't

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

matter because the new class is so much better than before as they are all nice, friendly and wouldn't have wished for a better class than it. Now the feeling of being lonely is a total stranger to me because I now have tons of friends and guess who they are...yep they are my whole class just like one big family, I guess!!!!!

So now over with the gooey and happy stuff and down to the real deal which you'll might be wondering about, and that is HOW DO I GO ABOUT MY DAY IN SCHOOL DURING LESSONS? as they are all in German. I won't lie to you and say it's a walk in the park because it is not actually it is like trying to find water in a desert which is nearly impossible and that's me when I try to make some sense or understanding of what I hear. Most of the time it is very difficult for me because I just sit there and watch the other learners participate, understand and active with plenty of ease while I just don't get a damn thing which is like the opposite of me because anyone who knows me would tell you that I'm nothing like that instead I'm more of the active participant kind of a learner. And that sometimes gets to me and makes me feel stupid, useless and serve no purpose how so ever.

But with all that said, I don't regret a single thing about my decision because all those things I experienced have made me a better and stronger person and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. And hope that there is still more to come from the rest of my stay. Not also forgetting to say thanks to YFU SA for giving me this once in a lifetime. Lebogang

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

ENJOYING PARTICPATION IN SPORT WHILE WITH YFU SOUTH AFRICA Boxing in South Africa- Thomas Lemaire from YFU France After my first week in South Africa, I was already thinking about something really important for me, A Kick Boxing club! I already knew a lot of popular clubs in Pretoria, most probably because South Africa is the country who host the EFC, that famous African Competition of Mixed Martial Art ! The first gym that I saw had the name "Undisputed" and they were practicing different kinds of fighting sport like Mma, boxing, Muay Thaie and Jeet Kune Do ... I was a bit scared of that, I mean the club was huge ... I was used to train as well in France, but my club wasn't so important.... I went into "the office" that’s what we call the cage in our sport... I just went for it and spoke to the coach, the biggest problem for me was the language ... My English was far from perfect but I still tried! The coach was extremely nice with me; he explained the rules of the gym to me (with a lot of difficulty) and said that I should come for lessons the next week and that if I'm good I will fight in 6 months... I had my boxing stuff with me and the first training was hard really hard! I gave 100% and I think the coach saw it ... He came to me and invited me to a little sparing session in the cage ... At the end he came to me and said "Well done Thomas, you are really good! There is a competition next week, and I want you to fight!" I was shocked and glad at the same time but I didn't replied yet to what he said: "Now you are training every day, and if you miss one training without a good excuse, never come back to this gym!" The message was clear and I trained harder and harder every day! The day of the competition, I remembered how stressed I was ... My fist fight was in K1 light contact against a boy of 17 ... I was even more stressed! I won the fight and went for another one where I got disqualified... Maybe because light contact isn't my thing...

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

After months of training, I made extremely good relationships with the people from the gym, as a family they were all the time here for me, helped me, and respected me even if they were a thousand times better than me, I even moved with them and made fun, met other people ... In October I got my second fight, this time I was boxing full contact against a guy of 20 ... Really impressive fight were I won TKO in the second round... A month later, I was going to Boksburg and participated in a professional gala ... I was so stressed ... The guy who I was supposed to fight didn't show up, so they got me a new fighter, older than me and the fight was striking something that I never practiced before... Well I went for it ... And won a KO at the first round. This day I also met some popular fighters and I could take pictures with them! Boxing in South Africa is something that I will never forget! It's a part of me and I love it! A great experience and made some good friends ... To Undisputed I say, Thank you (and thanks to my host family for supporting me)

Youth For Understanding South Africa Newsletter April 2013

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

Swimming the Midmar mile challenge- Helle Backer

from YFU Norway

Helle Backer, a professional provincial swimmer from Norway, participated in the Midmar mile swimming challenge. The Midmar Mile held at the Midmar Dam north of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal is the world's largest open water swimming event. This event draws thousands of competitors each year, both serious international athletes and Olympic medallists to recreational swimmers. In order to handle the vast number of competitors, the swimmers swim out in several groups at two-minute intervals in 8 batches over two days; the group division is based on a qualifying time in a previous event, with the fastest group leaving first.

Helle had to qualify for the Midmar mile challenge by winning the Middelburg mile, (qualifying mile) that she completed in 23: 17 minutes. As said the large amount of participants led to fight for survival as soon as the starting gun went off. There were swimmers everywhere, over you, under you and beside you dragging you down, swimming over you, and scathing you to get passed. The record for completing the mile was 22.20 minutes while Helle completed her race in 27:20 minutes. While Helle says that it was a daunting experience she thought it “cool to say I've been there, and I saw a new world record being taken�.

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

ATHLETICS - Christian Almasi from YFU Germany

Christian is hosted by the Buitendach family in Pretoria. During his stay with this family he has started to enjoy doing athletics at school, an event in which he has excelled. He subsequently received a medal for his athletic performance at the inter- schools’ athletics championships. These photographs tell the story. He has also excelled academically while on exchange by being rated as sixth on the top ten academic list at his school. Well done Christian!!

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

REFLECTING ON AN EXCHANGE TO SOUTH AFRICA- Rani Richardson from YFU USA

Rani says that after returning home that: “I started the new semester at my high school; there were a lot of things I had to get straightened out in order to graduate with my class. I had to meet with my school counselor to see what I had to do to stay on track for graduation. I ended up having to take two online classes, a Spanish class and an English class. I have been going to school every day and I have visited most of my immediate family members. They are all happy to see me and they ask lots of questions.

Everyone at school thinks that what I did is so cool. Sometimes, I get tired of answering the same questions by everyone who finds out that I was an exchange student in South Africa for six months, but I guess it’s all part of the experience. My grandfather wanted to see the new South African banknotes with Nelson Mandela’s picture on it. He used to always tell my dad about South Africa, apartheid, and the Zulu tribe. His face lit up when he saw the money, and he started telling stories again.

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

FUN MOMENTS FROM TRIPS AROUND SOUTH AFRICA It is not all work being on exchange but also having fun on getting to know the country!!!

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

A SAD FAREWELL

Volunteers form an integral part of the success of any YFU organisation and even more so for us here in YFU South Africa. It is therefore fitting to say farewell to a valued volunteer and host mother to several students. On 7 January 2013 2012 Lizette Botha lost her fight against cancer. She was very well known and loved by YFU staff members and volunteers in Gauteng. Lizette and husband Johan hosted many times in the past and even while she was taking a break from YFU, she was still a volunteer and contact person that often assisted with counselling. Her friendly smile, courage, faith and love will be missed by everybody. Family days and Christmas meals will not be the same without her. From: Everybody in YFU South Africa

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS

WORKSHOP ON ORIENTATIONS – Rynette Scholtz

Rynette was selected to attend an YFU Academy Orientation Training in Slovakia. The focus was on Pre-Departure and Post-Arrival Orientations. The goal of the training was to provide for a framework and approach for harmonizing and integrating the content of pre-departure and post-arrival orientations, two orientations for host families and two orientations for natural families. Rynette’s new found knowledge will serve to improve orientations within YFU SOut Africa in 2013. She also had time for fun while being in Slovakia and managed to travel to Vienna, Romania and Prague in the company of ex- interns and exchange students.

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Youth for Understanding South Africa International Youth Exchange

OPERATIONAL TEAM MEETING The operational meeting that took place from 15 to 17 March 2013 had as aims addressing important operational issues within YFU South Africa’s procedures as well as dividing the Gauteng region into smaller, independent regions. All involved are very positive and excited about this new challenge and look forward to building new regional networks. In anticipation of this event Mariana had new YFU SA banners made for the various regions. In addition regional overviews were provided from Gauteng, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Mpumalanga. Furthermore aspects such as orientations, marketing, contact persons and emergency procedures were discussed. The next operational meeting will take place from 10 and 11 October 2013 in Gauteng prior to the YFU South Africa annual general meeting.

JVC CONFERENCE From 22 to 25 March 2013 the JVC conference took place in Johannesburg. As many new members of the JVC, especially a large and enthusiastic group from Bloemfontein, were attending their first conference, it was fitting that the conference started with an overview of the JVC Constitution. The history of YFU was also related to all directed and also provided the new volunteers with a working knowledge of YFU jargon and YFU information. Following on this communication within YFU was discussed after which a lengthy workshop on orientations took place. Interview procedures with potential students were

discussed in addition to marketing. All in all the conference agenda covered much ground in a relatively short time however, the content covered and the presence of those present should ensure that the JVC continues to grow.

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YFU South Africa Newsletter - April 2013  

In the first issue of the year we have in store for you: - An outbound story - Several inbound sports stories - Rynette in Slovakia - Up...

YFU South Africa Newsletter - April 2013  

In the first issue of the year we have in store for you: - An outbound story - Several inbound sports stories - Rynette in Slovakia - Up...

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