About the project
In agreement with the ministry of education, Chinese students from the Hangzhou Greentown Yuhua School and the Yiwu Chouzhou Middle School are being educated at the Gymnasium am Bötschenberg. At first these students visited the school as guests, but starting with the school year 2013/14 they are treated as regular students, whose goal is the final examination in secondary education in Germany, generally referred to as Abitur, which will enable these students to visit a German University. The legal foundation for this program is a common declaration signed by the German province Niedersachsen and the Chinese province Zhejiang.
The dedicated faculty, parent and student body, regional economic partners as well as sports clubs and various other organizations are in general very supportive of the project, as is the province of Niedersachsen, in particular the ministry of education and the administrative district of Helmstedt. The administrative bodies of the school – directorate, parent body and school board are also very supportive of this project, which is unique in Germany as well as in Europe.
In the beginning stages of the project the faculty was well prepared by the Konfuzius-Institut, which organized a workshop in intercultural communication. Vice versa, the Chinese students were prepared in detail for the particular demands of the German education system.
The Chinese students live in Haus Weimar, which is part of the Politische Bildungsstätte (PBH) and located on the school’s campus. Herr Strelow, director of the PBH an his staff are always attentive and willing to help quickly, if problems should arise.
Herr Kaufmann is in charge of the Chinese students when they don’t attend classes. Frau Niemann, the deputy mayor of Helmstedt, also supports the project from a pedagogical perspective. Additionally, Frau Wentao Wang, who has successfully graduated from the Ruhr Universität Bochum with a masters degree for European culture and economy, was hired to support the Chinese students as a native speaker with excellent cultural understanding of the unique situation of these children.
All of the underlying processes which define the project are regularly evaluated. A system has been established which connects Chinese and German students in their everyday life. Additionally, Frau Jabs has been nominated Koordinator für internationale Beziehungen (Coordinator of international relations), and as such is always prepared to answer any questions regarding the project.
The Chinese students are highly integrated in their classes and participate in an active way in the day-to-day school life, for instance by performing at the Bunter Abend, a yearly revue showcasing the numerous achievements of both students and teachers. They profit from a cooperation with the conservatoire in Helmstedt as well as regional sports clubs.
With the aid of Frau Niemann, (deputy mayor of Helmstedt), who has managed to grow an intimate and supportive relationship with the Chinese students, various internships in local companies and regional administrative entities could be arranged during the Easter breaks (e.g. Kindergarten, VW in Wolfsburg and Braunschweig, police and hospital). These internships have provided the students with a welcome boost in their self esteem as well as in regards to their German language and intercultural competence.
It has been proven repeatedly that the entire school community supports the project wholeheartedly. Due to the unique character of the project in Germany and Europe, a large number of institutions follow the project closely and are highly interested in the continuation and growth.