You’ve probably heard before that studying abroad, even for a short period, is life-changing!  It is an unforgettable experience!

In a highly globalized and interconnected world, with the advancement of information technology, it becomes essential for more and more students to study foreign languages and travel abroad to see, experience, and learn about foreign countries while they are still students.
Studying abroad brings many benefits and offers various programs, from scholarship, cultural, and language programs to internships, training, and student exchange programs. Whichever study abroad program you choose is likely to improve your life in countless ways that you probably haven’t even thought about.

„It is easy to accept your own culture as absolute, but living in another country can give a new perspective on your home culture, develop your own views, and learn more about yourself. Take this opportunity to explore the world outside your comfort zone.”

Yuto Kobayashi
PASCH participant from Kisarazu KOSEN, Japan

PASCH

PASCH (Partner Schools for the Future) is an initiative of the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Educational Exchange Service (PAD) of the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany.

With an awakening interest and enthusiasm for the German language and culture, over 2,000 schools in 120 countries belong to the PASCH network. In 2008, the National Institute of Technology Kisarazu College (Kisarazu KOSEN) became the first school in Japan to be authorized as a PASCH (partner school) by the German government. The PASCH Program is an international exchange program sponsored by the German government for schools that offer German language classes.

There are two International Exchange programs under PASCH:

  • The German exchange program is three weeks of German language lessons during summer vacation. Students from Kisazaru KOSEN and the other three educational institutions are part of this program.
  • International German Youth Camps aim students from Asian countries to be immersed in the German language under PASCH.

“What I especially liked about the PASCH initiative was that it also integrates culture into language acquisition.”

PASCH alumnus Dave Akinyemi from Rwanda
600,000 students around the world are learning German at PASCH schools.
Image via PASCH

PASCH Youth Course

As part of the PASCH initiative, the Goethe Institute organizes international youth courses worldwide from PASCH schools. Every year, around 1,000 scholarship holders from more than 100 nations meet, who have distinguished themselves in their schools by excellent performance and high motivation to learn the German language.

Yuto Kobayashi is one of the PASCH participants. Being in a third-year at Kisarazu KOSEN (The National Institute of Technology Kisarazu College), he took German classes and participate in (Jugedkurse) Youth Course in Birklehof, Hinterzarten (Germany) during summer vacation.

From August 7th to 28th, 2016, he took part in the PASCH Youth Course (JUKU) for three weeks at the Birklehof school near Hinterzarten in the Black Forest. There were eight PASCH students from Japan, two students from each school (Technical University of Applied Sciences Kisarazu, Dokkyo Oberschule, Waseda University Oberschule, and City Oberschule Kitazono).

The PASCH Birklehof 2016 course is over, but he will never forget this experience.

Yuto with his German teacher Gesine and colleagues during summer classes at Birklehof
Image courtesy of Yuto

During the three-week youth courses, the international students had the unique experience of learning German with qualified teachers and a global learning community. Moreover, all participants had the opportunity to take an examination at the Goethe Institute during the language course in Germany.
Besides the regular leisure program with daily changing sports, culture, and leisure activities at the course location and the surrounding area, scholarship holders had the opportunity to visit a German university.

In this way, they got to know Germany from an incredible new outlook. They discovered its customs, history, language, and culture.

One of the Youth Course’s biggest benefits is the chance to become immersed in different activities, meet new people, and discover different cultures. Image via PASCH

“This program allowed me to experience joy, excitement, and a sense of accomplishment I cannot feel no matter how much knowledge I gain in the classroom in Japan. During this course, I increased my communication skills and understanding of another culture, made new friends, gained inspiration to study hard, and the opportunity to develop a broad perspective and international view to become capable of playing an active part in the world.”

Yuto Kobayashi

Learn from experience

Although obstacles like young people’s concerns about over-communicating in a foreign language and adjusting to another culture stand in the way, study abroad is the most efficient and effective way for young students to become internationally-minded. With confidence, Yuto affirms that studying abroad or exchanging student programs, even for a short period, gives an excellent opportunity to realize how strong we have grown. And it is important to make the time we spend abroad our asset to become the person we want to be.

You can learn more about the PASCH initiative and Jugendkurse by accessing the  PASCH program’s official page or participants’ reports.

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Ana Damaschin

About Ana Damaschin

Senior Researcher, The Nagaoka Review