The Erasmus five girls (Lauren Mooney, Lauren Fegan, Aoife O’Boyle, Gemma Heenan and Brigette Heim) all left St Dominic’s at 10:30 am on Tuesday 27th of March with Mrs Murphy, Mr Mullholland and Mr Parker. But not before a triple Physics which was a long 90 minutes as we eagerly awaited the flight to Munich.
We arrived at Dublin airport at 1pm and after passing through security, we headed straight to burger king in true Irish fashion. We bordered the plane and jetted off, munching on pringles all the way.
We arrived to be greeted by a few German teachers and after a short drive we left our bags at the Pension Zweck. We then headed out to get the essential milk for our punjana tea bags which had also made the trip. We then located the nearest pizza place got two take out pizzas and anticipated the exciting week ahead.
In Day two we woke up to a crisp, snowy and cold morning. Following Mrs Murphy’s advice, we started the morning with a hard-boiled egg and toast, a ritual she swears by. After a filling breakfast we headed to the Korbian-Aigner-Gymnasium (KAG) to reunite with the German Erasmus students and a few new faces. We also quickly became friends with the three new Romanian students which also took part in this programme.
We were all given a tour of the modern German school, and it was interesting to see the difference between St.Dominic’s and KAG especially the unusual long corridors that was much longer than what we’re used to.
We then observed on some lessons and although there were some language barriers it was very interesting to find out how different classes work and to listen in on the relaxed environment of the school. There are even fast track classes in which the students teach themselves and each other and the teacher only helps if necessary, this especially showed the passion and determination the students had. Chemistry students who would be in year 11 in Belfast were studying topics that we’re currently studying at A level. We had a short break and then returned to Physics class of year 8 ( 3rd year in Belfast) We witnessed some conduction experiments and were highly amused by the energetic and eccentric teacher that was before us.
After all lessons had been observed, we headed to the dining room to try some traditional Bavarian food which included Weißwurst (traditional white sausage) and Bavarian beer (non-alcoholic of course!) while some thought the delicacy was nice others were glad that the school also offered frankfurters.
After lunch we began the first half of the drone workshop presented by the German teachers and students. We had the opportunity as the “Irish team” and “Romanian team” to build our very own drone. Our team included Aoife and Lauren Fegan on soldering duty, Lauren Mooney and Gemma programming the drone and Brigette assembling the drone with the assistance of fellow German students Sara and Tobi. This was such an enjoyable task and are very happy with the final outcome.
We headed back to the B&B for a short powernap and a cup of tea which was well deserved. Before we knew it we were making our way back to the German school where we started the reputation of being late as Mr parker who was leading the way got us lost. After finally making it to the school we were greeted and swiftly brought to the state of the art kitchen where both students and teachers of all schools got involved. We made a very traditional meal which included käsespätzle (cheese noodles) with kmödelm (onions) and Blaukrout (red cabbage), schweimebrofen (roasted pork) and Apfelstudel (apple strudel) with Vanille sause (custard). We all helped in with something and most tasks were relatively straight forward such as chopping onions, chopping cucumber, making dumplings and mixing ingredients for the pasta dish. While we waited for the food to cook we were treated with a Bavarian Horn band that was enjoyable and very different to what the St Dominic’s traditional group would play in Belfast.
We all sat down together which gave us a chance to properly catch up with the Germans that we knew from the Belfast week back in November, but also chat with the New German and Romanian students. As a special treat Marc showed us his short film which captured the events of the Belfast week perfectly and took our mind back to when this amazing opportunity started. The cooking event was a very memorable part of the trip as it allowed us to work on our teamwork and communication skills. As the first full day of Erding week came to an end, we were all knackered and looking forward to a well needed rest.
On this rather chilly morning, averaging at around -9⁰C, we woke up early in order to meet at the KAG at 7:30am where we set off on a 2-hour long journey to Berchtesgaden National park exkursion and we even drove through a small part of Austria. On the way we had beautiful picturesque scenery of the Alps that had us more than excited to see what the Germans had in store for us. Once we finally arrived to the small village by the docks, we were absolutely speechless and couldn’t believe the spectacular scenes around us. We had a short walk through lots of very traditional style buildings, restaurants and cafes. We were very intrigued by the many different cute, quaint shops selling everything from clothing to chocolates. As we arrived at the docks we were greeted by a flock of friendly ducks. The boat trip was very tranquil with breath-taking views. We encountered a short stop half way through the boat journey, we quickly learned that this is a very typical sight as the captain took a trumpet and played a short tune allowing an echo of the song to be heard, it would be easy to say that all students, teachers, and others on the boat were astounded by what they heard.
When we arrived at the bottom of the mountain we started out the excursion up the mountain with a very enthusiastic tour guide and Hubert Schiller as our translator. The hike took roughly 45 minutes to climb and soon the cold didn’t seem to be a problem as all hats, scarfs and gloves had to be carried the rest of the way. Due to harsh conditions we were unable to climb to the very top as snow levels made it difficult however we were able to climb to a position with spectacular views and learnt how this scenery has been affected in the past and how it will be affected in the future. We headed down the mountain very carefully as we knew if we slipped Mr Mullholland wouldn’t be far behind with the camera. Once all hiking had been done and stunning snowy photos were taken we all sat down in a beautiful restaurant and we all enjoyed a delicious German meal. The schnitzel was a firm favourite with all Erasmus 5 girls. As we returned to the KAG school in Erding we spent a short amount of time in the village of Berchtesgaden which was very different to anything we would see in Ireland and although we were all beyond tired it was a very enjoyable and worthwhile visit, especially trying some of the delicacy’s available such as some sweets and desserts. Many of the German students headed straight to the Tesla sitting in the car shop but others opted that our priory was to get hot chocolate to warm up and explore the village. We returned to KAG at 8:00pm after a long 2 and a half long journey that mainly consisted of everyone sharing the photos they took on the mountain and we made our school proud with an a cappella version of Magnificent. After the long day, we decided to go to a nearby Thai restaurant, a cuisine we weren’t very familiar and were very surprised with the dishes offered and we all enjoyed it. The meal ended with a fortune cookie – but if we told you it wouldn’t come true!
As usual we started off the day with a boiled egg, tea and toast before we made the short walk to the train station were we would depart to Munich which had us all very excited. The train journey lasted one hour but we had to get another 20 minutes’ train to the technical university Munich (TU) where we would spend most of the morning/afternoon. During the train journey we passed some famous building for example we watched the allianz arena which is home to the legendary famous football club Bayern Munich and I found it quite similar to the Aviva stadium in Dublin. The excursion to the university was presented by two PhD graduates and began with a lecture about drones and how they can be used in all aspects of work such as agricultural, historical, and police work etc. which was interesting to see how much more efficient the work force can be with the use of a drone. We then headed in to a flight simulator which allowed some of the Eramus 5 girls and others students from Germany and Romania to land a virtual plane in Munich airport. In some cases, the plane landed perfectly but others crashed the plane and the simulation needed to be re-set. This was a very fun exercise and was a good insight to how much responsibility pilots have and how one little mishap can cause major effect to the control of a plane. We then had another lecture that showed us the different types of drones and how the university uses them along with some examples of large drones that the university had successful flights within the past.
At lunch we were shown the way to the food court by Hoffman where we had a selection of foods to try. As Hoffman was a former student at this university he mentioned that in the Physics building there was two slides in the shape of a Parabola that went from the 4th floor to the ground floor that we just had to see and give it a go. I’m sure you wouldn’t see that in Queens or University of Ulster. After lunch one of the Graduates gave a very impressive lecture on the aspects required to stabilize and stop the drone when in flight and learnt how to use equations based on the term PID. He later showed us a simulation on the computer how the PID affects the drone and how it acts when the values are not correct. This was then implemented in real life when we also had the chance to witness the effects on a drone. The day at Munich’s technical university was very enjoyable and we learnt a lot more than expected which will also help us in our Physics A level classes and even later in university.
After the University day we headed back on to the train to Munich where we had some free time to explore. As it was our first time in Munich we decided to walk around and see the main sites that were nearby such as the town hall, the markets and marienplatz. After stopping for a quick bite, we made our way back to the city hall Munich where we met up with Mr Hans Fuhrig (the principle of KAG) he showed us the way to the opera house. The opera house was magnificent, and was unlike anything we seen before. The opera house was founded back in 1653, and has seen many famous composers and musicians such as Mozart in its time. This is very intriguing to me as an A level music student who is currently studying his work. This housed the Ballett of “La Fille mal gardée” which we had the opportunity to see for ourselves and gave us a chance to dress up nice. The ballet was based loosely on Romeo and Juliet with a comedic inspiration and featured a full orchestra and some dancing chickens! The Ballet was enjoyed by all and the atmosphere in the spherical room enhanced the music and ambiance of the show. The train journey was long and draining as we all wanted to get a cup of tea and get into our beds after the long day.
After a long few days we were able to have a lie in, which gave us extra time to eat our breakfast and get ready for another long day ahead. The days started to become a lot warmer and for the first time during the week the temperatures were above the average for Belfast. We made our way to KAG at 9:00 to take part in the second half of the drone workshop provided by the school. Johannes showed us a video on another use for drones which had us all mesmerised. The video featured drones as a crucial part of the opening ceremony for the winter Olympic PeyongChang 2018. Over 1,200 drones were used to provide a lighting show which illuminated the sky with symbols representing the Olympics which ended with the Olympic rings. One member from each team were taken away to programme the GPS aspect of the drone we built on the first drone workshop, in the Irish team Aoife volunteered and from the Romania team Maria opted to give it a go. The rest of us were taught how to create a digital 3D model of someone’s face. This was first demonstrated by fellow German student Raphael Ardnt before we tried it out for ourselves. We were split into different teams and one person from each team was in charge of taking the photos required and another was needed to model for the camera. After the photos were took, we programmed them into the software and patiently waited for the final result and although there were some anomalies, most teams got an accurate 3D image.
Before we headed off the train station, the staff at KAG kindly made us a packed lunch for our journey which gave us energy for the rest of the afternoon. We headed back into Munich where we had the opportunity the BMW museum, a city tour or shopping. All Erasmus 5 girls and St Dominic’s teachers decided on the BMW museum and were joined by German student Jonas and Romanian students Tibi and Maria. The BMW was very enjoyable as we were able to walk around at our leisure looking at the cars on show while also getting photos in classy cars and motorbikes along the way. As BMW also owns Mini and Rolls Royce we were able to see some limited editions models of these makes. We also learned that Mr Parker himself has got his own “mini” collection.
After all the vehicles had been inspected, the group headed back to Munich where an hour of essential shopping was to be had. We all had a mission to look for matching Munich hoodies to remember our amazing time spent in Munich but they couldn’t be found so Hot chocolate and Pastry’s was had by all. We returned to Erding on the train to stop in the B&B to get ready for the farewell dinner in downtown Erding, a 20-minute walk. The restaurant was very traditional, the waiters and waitresses were dressed in lederhosen and dirndl which created a very Bavarian atmosphere. A range of food was available and each of the Erasmus 5 girls decided to get a different meal and share so that we can taste all of the traditional food Bavaria has to offer. It was interesting to compare how the food was to the food we made at the start of the week. The Farewell dinner was enjoyed by all and with some speeches were given this made the realisation that we will be leaving soon began to seem real. Another essential “milk run” took place on the walk home which was crucial for the tea and biscuits later that night.
The dreaded last day had arrived. We had a short lie in until 8:40 as we left for the school with all of our cases at 9:15 for one last time. The last day included an Office 365 workshop which was given by Mr Pfanzelt another staff member at KAG. The workshop included methods of communication to all three schools in the different countries such as e-mailing, group chat messaging and conference calling. This is very useful for communicating for the next Erasmus plus Trip to Iasi in Romania later in the year. Our very own Mrs Murphy and Mr Parker showed fellow teachers from Germany and Romania how they use Google classroom to set tasks, deadlines and post notes to students back in Ireland to create an easy access resource for all to use.
As a follow on form the work shop in the previous day, Johannes gifted both schools with a 3D print-out model of one of the students. From St.Dominic’s a 3D model of Lauren Mooney was given and from Iasi, Tibi was given his own “mini me”. Along with this we packed up our drone ready for the flight home too. The school also provided coffee and cake as we all discussed the aspects of the week. This is where we said our final goodbyes to most German students and teachers who made our trip very special and a memory that we will never forget.
All Members from Romania and Ireland enjoyed one last train journey along with Mikka and Jonas from KAG to the city of Munich where Mr Fuhrig gave a final historical tour of Munich which we all enjoyed. The tour lasted 2 hours and highlighted the significance of the past of Munich. The week had come to an end. The Romanian teachers and students, Mr Fuhrig, Mikka and Jonas said their goodbyes and we headed off to the airport.
After a short tram journey and a train journey we had reached the airport and had one last opportunity to search for matching Munich hoodies. We ran to the hoodies and has an agonising search for the correct sizes in the hope that we could leave Munich in style and indeed we did. The plane was a short 2-hour flight which mainly consisted of a last minute effort to finish any outstanding work that needed to be complete. We arrived back at St.Dominic’s at 1:00am Monday morning and can easily say we did not look forward to getting up for school 5 hours later.
On behalf of all Erasmus 5 Girls and Teachers who were involved, I would like to thank all who made this experience possible. It has been an amazing week and although it had been tiring, we’d do it all over again in a heartbeat and hope we can help out in any way in the coming year of this project.