Hello, I’m Nina. I’m from Osaka in Japan, but my father is British. I’m studying independently at Hugo Ball Gymnasium for one year (July 2018—June 2019). I enjoy meeting people from different countries, so it was my pleasure to join the ERASMUS programme. It was a great chance to make new German friends and meet people from Poland and Ireland.

This year, 18–22 September, we went to Tomaszów Lubelski in southeastern Poland. While we were there, we experienced many great things such as kind host families, dinners with German, Irish and Polish friends, and a martial arts class. In particular, there were two main highlights: visiting Krakow and doing the “Back to Nature – the open air is our classroom” project.

Because I come from Japan, I really enjoy seeing European architecture in Pirmasens; however, I must say that Krakow is the most beautiful city that I have ever visited. The Catholic religion seeps into the buildings. Krakow has beautiful cathedrals and churches. In particular, I enjoyed seeing the stone sculptures on people’s tombs. They looked elegant and peaceful. Also many other buildings have beautiful traditional designs. Especially, I like the way that the buildings are colourful.

Krakow is a nice city to wander around in during the day or night. In the daytime, the city buzzes with life from the many stalls filled with eye-catching trinkets. In the air, we could hear the rattling of old-fashioned carriages mixed with the clip-clopping of their horses trotting across the cobbles. At night, the buildings are lit-up from the bottom. It had rained when we visited, so the cobblestones glistened like fallen stars.

For the “Back to Nature – the open air is our classroom” project, we explored different plants in the woods. It was interesting for me to see plants that do not exist in Japan. Together, we taught each other the names of plants in German, Polish and English. As well as in English, our Irish friends also taught us some Gaelic words. In Japan, I have grown vegetables and learned about different plants for eating. While in Poland, it was interesting to learn which plants are edible, but it was also interesting to learn about other uses; for example, we learned that Marigold and Mallow can make good tea.

I think that everybody from Hugo Ball Gymnasium agrees that this was a splendid once in a lifetime trip. I would like to thank our Polish hosts, my German, Polish and Irish friends and teachers for making this such an unforgettable experience.