Testimonial from a student at Caulfield Grammar School. This student participated in the German program over a two year period (2010 and 2011), as a Year 11 and Year 12 student. She decided to focus her detailed study on her experience in participating in the project. She found that meeting with the seniors every fortnight ‘is a fun way to spend Monday afternoons’.
I participated in Monash University’s Intergenerational Project in both Year 11 and 12. The fortnightly conversations with my senior partner were not only a lot of fun but also helped improve my language and conversation skills and I was even able to use it for my detailed study.
There are a range of different topics discussed at the fortnightly meetings with your partner. Some are more difficult to speak about than others but you do not have to restrict your conversations to the given topic alone; discuss them as best you can and then find something else to talk about.
All the senior participants are very nice people and conversations with them are very interesting. Throughout the project you get to know your partner well and develop a good relationship with them. They are all very willing to help when you have difficulty with the language and you learn a lot from them. The more you get to know your partner the more fun the meetings are.
This project is a worthwhile activity to get involved in. Not only do your language and conversation skills improve from the real life practice but you learn about your partner and their experiences in Germany and Australia, you discover more about the older generation and realise that they are actually very interesting people who can teach us a lot, and have fun doing so.
I really enjoyed being a part of the project and decided to use my experiences as something to base my detailed study topic on. I concentrated on the relationship between generations but there were many other angles that I could have taken. I could have talked about the difference between life in Australia and Germany, learning another language, the relationship between generations, or any of the topics covered in our conversations. I was able to talk about the project itself, what was involved in being a participant, the aims of the project and the benefits of having such a project. The possibilities for texts with the project as your topic are endless. You could use something your partner has written, something that they find particularly fascinating or anything else outside of the project that relates to something that has been discussed. I used our fortnightly conversations, a film that we saw with our partners, and an article that I found about intergenerational relationships. Using this project as my detailed study topic was very interesting.
My advice for using this topic as your detailed study would be to choose the direction you would like to take it as soon as possible because otherwise there are too many different things to try and cover and it can become confusing and difficult. Choosing which direction to take at the beginning of the project allows you to use your time more effectively with your partner and find the texts sooner.
I would definitely recommend participating in this project and considering it as a detailed study topic. It is a great way to improve relationships between different generations and practice speaking another language but most importantly it is a fun way to spend Monday afternoons every fortnight.