MONTREAL, OCTOBER 23, 2014- Royal West Academy in Montreal West recently wrapped up its latest International Student Exchange. Along with present faculty member Andre Vamvakas, and retired faculty members Sidney Westlake, Doug Floen and Alan Scrivener, 22 Grade 9 students travelled to the Hesse, Rhineland Pfalz, Saarland, Baden-Wurrtemberg and Bavaria regions of Germany with stops in France, Austria and Switzerland interspersed along the way, from September 5 to 21
In the process the students and staff experienced among others; hiking in the Alps above the clouds (Obersdorf), visiting the fairy tale castles of King Ludwig II at Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace, medieval cities such as Strasbourg (France), Heidelberg, Riqueweir, Oberammergau, and Regensberg, visiting a 600 year old functioning salt mine near Salzburg (Austria) and taking in the sites of this picturesque city and its fortified palace, a night watchman tour of Munich, as well as biking through the English Garden in Munich, the spectacular Deutches Museum, and two river cruises along the Rhine and Danube Rivers.
The students and staff stayed with German families of students and staff who had visited Canada a year ago, in Fürstenfeldbruck, Bavaria, for nine days and experienced German & Bavarian life, first hand. The town was approximately 30 km from Munich, one of Germany's most exciting and vibrant cities. The entire Canadian entourage was received with a rousing heart felt reception when they arrived, attended by all the German families and dignitaries from the region and school.
Over the next few days some of the students even took in a FC Bayern Munchen game against VfB Stuttgart while others enjoyed hockey games, museum visits, visiting the Olympiastadion, the BMW Museum and BMW World. Not all the trip was solely for entertainment and fun. The visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp was a solemn and moving tour of a site so sacred to human history. Several of the students and staff were overcome with emotions, as four hours were spent walking the paths of those who had been imprisoned, suffered, and died during those dreadful times so long ago.
It must be noted that the German state has preserved the camp to reflect its wartime condition, so that present and future generations of visitors can have a poignant experience. Another day was taken up by a visit to the Max Wimmer Backerei and Konditorei, where the students enjoyed a lesson in the German/Bavarian art of Pretzel making. The students and staff made mounds and mounds of pretzels, which they later had delivered to them where they were able to enjoy them with their host families. The culmination of the exchange was visiting the start of the Oktoberfest in Munich, an annual event that attracts over 6.5 million visitors to the city. As the students and staff bid farewell on the last day, many tears were shed for the great friendships forged with our German hosts and their families from the Graf Rasso Gymnasium of Fürstenfeldbruck, with the promise that we would meet again "wiedersehen."
Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213