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Austauschjahr

Ein Auslandaufenthalt oder ein Austauschjahr ist für viele Schülerinnen und Schüler eine spannende Möglichkeit um das Englisch zu verbessern und vor allem auch um wichtige persönliche Erfahrungen zu machen. Man lernt eine neue Kultur und Lebensweise in einer Familie hautnah kennen und geht dort zur Schule. 
Wir empfehlen, sich etwa ein Jahr vor dem geplanten Auslandaufenthalt genau über Anmeldeverfahren und Aufnahmebestimmungen bei den Organisationen zu informieren. Im ersten Semester jedes Schuljahres findet jeweils eine Infoveranstaltung der anbietenden Organisationen am GM statt, welche über ihre Angebote an Auslandaufenthalten informieren. Wer einen Auslandaufenthalt (idealerweise im 2. Gymnasialjahr) machen möchte, muss zwingend vor der definitiven Buchung mit dem Rektor Kontakt aufnehmen und seine Bewilligung einholen.
Für Schülerinnen und Schüler von 12-18 Jahren gibt es auch englischsprachige Ferienlager in Langenbruck
: www.longbridge.ch

In Basel gibt es eine Reihe von Agenturen, welche auch kürzere Sprachaufenthalte und Ferienkurse vermitteln.
Folgende internationale Organisationen wurden in den vergangenen Jahren von Schülerinnen und Schüler für längere Auslandaufenthalte gewählt:

AFS (Intercultural Programs Switzerland)
EF (Education First)
YFU Youth for Understanding
STS (Student Travel Schools)

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What students say

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Last year I went for six months to Australia. I stayed at the Sunshine Coast, which is located on the west coast, approximately one hour from Brisbane (Australia’s third biggest city). My host family lived only about two minutes from the beach. They had two sons (five and seven years old) and there was as well another exchange student (she was Brazilian). I had a wonderful time in Australia; Apart from meeting a lot of people from the whole world (Japan, Brazil, Germany, Finland and so on) and experiencing many new things, I also visited a lot of beautiful places in this amazing country. But let’s start at the beginning: After a long time of preparation I finally entered the plane in Frankfurt, which took me to Singapore first. I travelled with a small group of six exchange students and the woman who prepared us for the exchange (the really small organisation from Freiburg is called ‘Study Abroad Down Under’ and it basically only consists of this one woman. I liked it that we weren’t that many exchange students, so I kind of felt a bit ‘safer’ and it wasn’t that impersonal). In Singapore we stayed at the pool from the airport to relax a bit and recover from the thirteen-hours flight (I hardly slept in the plane). When I arrived in Brisbane the international students coordinator hugged us straight away and took a lot of photos. I remember that I was very happy that this woman was so nice and open and I felt really safe and comfortable from the beginning on. On the first day, my host family took us (me and my Brazilian host sister) to the beach and on a ride up the coast. My family was very nice but sometimes, especially at the beginning, I had as well some difficulties, because I was used to a totally different family and it was quite hard sometimes to accept that they are doing things differently than my real family. Luckily, my host sister and I both had the same problems and we talked a lot about it; this helped me to just accept that they have a different lifestyle and that they look at things differently than we do. I think that this was one of the biggest challenges; to adapt to their lifestyle. It’s surely one out of a lot of things I learned during this six months. All in all we had an amazing time with our family and in the end it was very hard to say goodbye. The food was as well quite different; my family cooked a lot of Asian food and they all ate Vegemite for breakfast. Vegemite is a typically Australian bread spread. It tastes salty and it’s actually disgusting! (I can’t understand why all the Australians love it, I took a small jar of it back home and everyone who tasted it spit it out immediately).

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USA (Joy, 3C)

I spent my foreign exchange year in the U.S. To be more precise, I stayed in Gilroy, California, a little town about 2 hours south of San Francisco. I stayed there for a school year, so for about eleven months. Those have been the best eleven months of my life.
The whole experience was just so amazing. I have learned so many things, about people, other cultures and countries, my own culture and country and most of all myself. I have just grown and matured so much over the past year, I feel completely different than before. It is just really interesting, actually being part of an other culture, going to school somewhere else, living in a different family and so on. It’s just an experience which you can profit from for your whole life.
Of course there are also more difficult moments, too. I had to change my family, for example, and was struggeling a little in the beginning but once you’ve overcome those barriers, you can just enjoy the experience and live the moment.
I went with AFS, a really great organisation, which I can only recommend.
Since I went after I had finished my second Gymnasium year, I continued after my return with the third class so that I am now one year behind my former classmates, which isn’t bad at all. It is so worth it. I would recommend it to everyone and I would definitely do it again if I could.

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