IYW (#6): Love, faith and hope

Throughout the past week, we have shared a great number of personal thoughts about spirituality, religion and many other very personal topics with each other.

After attending the service at a local church on Sunday, we talked about our personal values and religious beliefs. Chaplain Heinrich from Kronberg joined us for part of the discussion. One of the statements he made inspired me a lot:

It all comes down to love, faith and hope. The hope in the endless power of love is what we believe and trust in.

Kolping IYW International Youth Weeks Jugendwochen Chaplain Heinrich

Chaplain Heinrich talking to the group about love, faith and hope.


IYW (#5): How to save water

A major topic covered during the International Youth Weeks (IYW) is sustainability. That is why we also discussed how much water the production of certain goods requires.

Item – Virtual amount of water used for production

1 car: 400.000 liters
1 kg beef: 13.000 liters
1kg coffee: 20.000 liters
1 kg chocolate: 10.000 liters
1 pair of leather boots: 8.000 liters
1 cotton T-shirt: 4.100 liters
200 ml milk: 200 liters
1 liter beer: 75 liters
1 tomato: 13 liters
Source: www.bpb.de: 135 Liter Wasser für ein Ei?

What is virtual water?

“Virtual water is defined as the total volume of water needed to produce and process a commodity or service. For example, it is estimated that 1700 litres of water are required to create 500g of rice. In early 1990s the water footprint concept was introduced, also referred to as ’embedded water’.” Source: 21centurychallenges.org

Calculate how big your virtual water footprint is here.

How to save water

  • Lower/ stop consumption of meat/ animal products
  • Cut down on your possessions; buy second hand
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn of the water while brushing your teeth
  • Don’t pollute water
  • Educate people about the consequences of their consumption and behavioral patterns
  • Buy local and regional products
  • Inform yourself about

IYW (#4): The more you give the more you get?

An important part of the International Youth Weeks (IYW) is to talk about the worldwide distribution of different resources such as money.

When discussing that topic, we also came across the topic of not only sharing monetary resources but also those within us.

This is my small group’s finding on that:

Udaipur India Quote Life Good

Sign in Udaipur, India

When thinking about monetary resources, I notice that I don’t find it fair if one person has everything and another has nothing. We need to split up the resources so that everybody gets his or her fair share. Although the shares will not always be equal, I have to be somewhat satisfied with what we got at one point because goods will probably never be shared completely equally in our society.

The emotional resources we carry within us such as love and compassion whatsoever are endless. The more I give, the more I get. The more of myself I am giving to others, the more about myself I share with them, the more I receive in return. However, there is no need to estimate how much love and stories I am going to receive in return for sharing mine. Whatever I do for others will cause I feeling of joy within me and whatever I receive I will be grateful for.”

IYW (#3): German-International Night

How do you sum up a complex, diverse culture such as the German by serving one dish and preparing activities for a themed evening?

It’s not an easy task – but we tried to fulfill it on Tuesday, when the German IYW-participants invited the rest of the group to celebrate a German night together.

Since raclette (table barbecue) and chocolate fondue appear to be dishes many families cook for special occasions such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we prepared those. Our international friends were loved it.

Jugendwochen International Youth Weeks Kolping Kronberg German Night Raclette

Everybody enjoyed making Raclette.

Later, we presented a parody about German stereotypes and played “1,2, oder 3” (transl.: 1, 2 or 3), a famous German quiz show probably every German teenager has watched as a kid. Did you know Kevin and Chantalle were not the most popular names in Germany in 2015 but Anna and Ben are?

Right after that, we danced “Friesenrock”, a popular dance in northern and eastern parts of the country, as well as Foxtrot, usually one of the first dances one learns when listening to German schlager for the first time and ended up dancing Tanzani and other dances as well.

When there’s food on the table and music plays, we’re all united in happiness.

Jugendwochen International Youth Weeks Kolping Kronberg German Night Friesenrock

United in music.

IYW (#2): Exploring Kronberg

What I like about visiting foreign countries is to feel like an explorer. Wherever I go, I gather new impressions: visions, smells, tastes, and feelings when making new experiences.

That is why I also love hosting and accompanying people who haven’t been to Germany before: I get to explore familiar placed from a new perspective.

International Youth Weeks IYW Kolping Kronberg View

We enjoyed a great view from the top of the Kronberg castle.

On Monday, we went on a scavenger hunt in Kronberg and visited the town’s medieval castle. What I enjoyed about it most about it was to reflect upon topics I hadnt’t considered in a while, such as:

  • How is a fachwerk house* constructed? (*traditional German architecture)
  • What does a typical „Altstadt“* look like? (Old town)
  • Why did towns use to have walls and forts to protect them?
International Youth Weeks Kolping Kronberg Altstadt

The “Singvogelgasse” is one of the prettiest streets in Kronberg.

Besides, the town’s major welcomed our group, a local newspaper interviewed us and we had the honor to sign Kronberg’s guest book.

International Youth Weeks IYW Kolping Kronberg Major

Signing the town of Kronberg’s guestbook was a great honor for all of us.

IYW (#1): My latest adventure in Kronberg

Haven’t heard from me in a while, huh? That because I came back to Germany and went right back to my old routine: hanging out with friends,, working for the local newspaper and planning my next adventures. I was so busy that I didn’t really feel like blogging.

However, I’m back  – currently living my next adventure. Right now, I’m conducting the International Youth Weeks (IYW) organized by Kolping Jugendgemeinschaftsdienste, the organization I also went to Thailand with past year and will go to Kenia with next September (but that’s another story).

I will try to upload a post on our activities throughout the upcoming two weeks daily.

 What are the International Youth Weeks (IYW)?

internatinal youth weeks kronberg logo

International Youth Weeks 2015

The IYW are part of Kolping’s efforts to bring forward intercultural encounters and exchange. In a group of 18 participants ages 15 to 31, originating from Russia, Tanzania, Germany, Ecuador and the US, we are going to spend two weeks together in Kronberg, a German town near Frankfurt.

During these days, we will spend a lot of time together while carrying out numerous activities together such as day trips, mini language courses, international evenings, and theme days dealing with topics like environmental friendly behavior, politics, globalization and culture.

What happened so far?

Since I am one of five organizers, a teamer, of the IYW, I have spent the past week or so preparing our activities for the next 14 days and getting the place in Kronberg ready for the international participants to arrive.

They arrived between Saturday and Sunday morning, settled in their rooms, and we spent the first two days getting to know each other by playing games, eating, and hanging out.

Besides having “typical German” breakfast and dinner including bread, cheese, sausage and salad, our international guest got a chance to get a first glimpse at the German culture. Saturday evening, we visited a “Biergarten” (transl.: beer garden) in order to listen to a German folk musician (German: Schlagersänger) while tasting local beer and apple wine.

Although I’ve personally never been a great fan of schlager music, I loved sharing some of our local culture by “schunkeln” and singing together.

On our way home, some of us walked up the Kronberg castle to enjoy one of the prettiest nighttime views I’ve seen in a while. I’m excited to see more of Kronberg city and the castle on Monday.

Kronberg Castle IYW

Kronberg castle: a pretty romantic place.