> > > > Workshop - What it takes to live abroad

Joint thematic workshop - What does it take to live abroad?

While in Ortenburg on their GPC trip, 12 UK pupils got together with their German peers to discuss the topic of living abroad - reflecting on their present lives and looking ahead to the future.

What character traits are important when living abroad?

Here are the answers our participants found through their interviews with non-Germans living in and around Ortenburg:

• open-mindedness

• communication skills

• curiosity

• flexibility

• courage

Why do people move abroad?

As an initial activity, participants thought about how many times they had already been abroad, where they had visited and for how long. This brought up an impressive list of countries and then led into group discussions focusing on reasons why people might wish to or have to move overseas. The participants came up with a broad range of answers: from improving one’s language skills to volunteering and work-related reasons to hopes for a better life and future.

Characteristics of people moving abroad: Interview time!

The young people were then presented with a list of personal qualities that might be important for someone moving to a foreign country and after matching up the German and English meanings they then worked in mixed groups to allocate ranking points to establish the most important characteristics. These character traits were then used to create a questionnaire so that the English students and their host brothers and sisters could find people in the area to interview about why they had moved to Germany and what did they believe to be important qualities. The results of the interviews were comparable to the young people’s initial thoughts: keeping an open mind seemed to be the most relevant skill for those who successfully emigrated, courage for our participants.

What does this mean for me?

Reflecting on the many reasons leading to people moving away from their native countries as well as considering their own personal qualities was a useful reflective exercise for the participants involved. Discussing a topic of this nature whilst also, although only temporarily, living abroad made the discussion even more poignant. In addition interviewing people first hand from a variety of backgrounds, who are now living in Germany required courage and self-confidence on the part of the students.

A participant's feedback

"Die thematischen Workshops über die Reformation mit den deutschen Schülern waren ganz interessant, besonders weil wir das Wartburg Schloss besucht haben. Die Workshops haben mich für ein Thema für mein deutsches Abitur inspiriert, wofür ich sehr dankbar bin!"