The Society for German-Australian Student Exchange
Hessen Inc. (DASH e.V.)
The exchange society DASH
- The society’s work is dedicated to a regular exchange of student groups between the German federal state of Hessen and of Queensland in Australia. It is registered in Riedstadt/Hessen.
- We closely cooperate with the Brisbane based Society for Australian-German Student Exchange (SAGSE) in Queensland (www.sagse.com.au).
- Apart from a state-wide exchange we also organize a school-to-school exchange between individual schools.
- The very first exchange activity dates back to the winter of 1985-86. One of our members returned from an assignment in Queensland then, and together with friends decided to support SAGSE from this end of the world. In 1992 the group of helpers decided to officially register with German authorities and thus became an independent incorporated society.
- On both sides all operations are based on volunteer work. The aim is to contribute to young people’s intercultural experience, to lay the basis for intercontinental individual friendships, and to initiate mutual understanding of far apart cultures. A welcome side effect is the improvement of proficiency in English or German respectively.
- Australian students are hosted by families in the state of Hessen in December/January, and the Hesse students go to families in Queensland during their summer holidays, i.e. for six weeks some time between June to August, depending on the ever shifting dates for summer holidays.
Queensland students in Hessen
- Hesse families interested in hosting a girl or a boy from Queensland best register with a DASH regional contact person (or the DASH president directly) in July/August. You will find more information at www.dash-ev.org.
- Matching of guest and host family will be finalised in September/October. Due to changing numbers of Australian participants DASH cannot guarantee registered families to definitely become hosts. On the other hand we try to even that out by keeping registered families on the list for the next turn.
- The Australian students usually arrive end of November and return home at the beginning of January. Their age ranges from 15 to 17 years.
- Families in Hesse have to make sure their hosts attend school regularly and participate in everyday family life.
- SAGSE usually organises a bus tour to Southern Germany and Austria before Christmas for all exchange students. They leave from and arrive in Frankfurt.
Hessen students in Queensland
According to the exchange principle children of Hessen host families can be guest of a Queensland host family.
Our exchange partner SAGSE tries to support schools teaching German in Queensland. This means host families are mostly recruited with the help of schools. Individual arrangements between guest and host are still possible. Just make sure DASH and SAGSE are informed of any individual arrangement ahead of time.
- DASH routinely asks host families in Hessen if they want to claim their right to send their child to Queensland. If this is not the case other registered families will be offered the vacant place.
- For German applicants there is a strict age limit of 17 years. Older students will not be accepted.
- A preparatory meeting of participants and parents is usually held about 6 weeks before departure.
- Two guides from Hessen (mostly experienced teachers) accompany the exchange group on the intercontinental flights as well as on the Queensland bus tour. Both can be contacted any time via mobile.
- For entry to Australia a passport valid for a minimum of 6 months is necessary. Visa for entry to Australia will be taken care of by DASH or the travel agency in charge.
- At the moment costs for the exchange vary from year to year depending on overall mostly rising costs, the exchange rate to the Australian Dollar, and the length of stay in Queensland. These costs will cover the flight, the bus tour through Queensland, guides and entrance fees, as well as medical, accident, legal and baggage insurances, plus a minimal handling charge.
- Depending on availability of resources DASH can support individual participants with travel costs. To qualify applicants are expected to supply a teacher’s letter giving some reasons as to the eligibility of this particular student.
- Donations to DASH are tax deductible. DASH will issue receipts for the tax office.
The Queensland Bus Tour
While in Queensland the Hessen group will be on a bus trip to some of the sightseeing highlights. This tour has been organised for some years, and has turned out to be the top experience with our students. Covering almost 5000 kilometres the tour will take them to rain forests, to National Parks, to Aboriginal cultural sites, to endless beaches, to the Great Barrier Reef, and offer activities like sailing, snorkelling, diving and maybe sharing breakfast with kangaroos.
Since this is not a five star comfort excursion students are expected to help wash dishes, do their own laundry, and in general be members of a group.
In 1995 DASH added a point to point exchange of individual schools to its state wide programme.
At the moment two schools in Darmstadt/Hessen (Bertolt-Brecht-Schule, Viktoriaschule) and St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School in Brisbane are part of the programme.
This is not an annual exchange. It rather follows a two year pattern.
When in Hessen the Australian group also takes part in the SAGSE organised a bus tour to Southern Germany and Austria before Christmas.
When in Queensland this particular group forms part of DASH with all its organisational benefits. The group also is integral part of the Queensland bus tour.
Phone 0011-49 - 6158 - 918876
Volksbank Südhessen Darmstadt
Account no. 24 61 01 01
Bank code 508 900 00
SOCIETY FOR AUSTRALIAN GERMAN STUDENT EXCHANGE ( S A G S E )
President: Ms Linda Mains
Phone 0061 (0)7 3366 1264