For the next couple of weeks i'm out and about, working for the City of Oberhausen, covering their annual student exchange program 'Multi'.
Multi is a program where children between 11 and 18 years old, from 16 different countries, visit Oberhausen to take part in a cultural exchange program, learning from each other and forming new friendships.
My journey with Multi started a couple of months ago when i was asked if i would like to document the event. I jumped at the chance to be involved, and at that time was unaware of the scale of the program, and the work behind the scenes that make it happen.
The children are brought into guest families during their time in Oberhausen, and are kept busy everyday with a well thought out, comprehensive program of activities. These include sports, arts, learning about environmental issues, and much more!
The opening day of the event, and the welcoming party took place at Ebertbad in Oberhausen. If you follow my activities, you'll know that i'm no stranger to this venue!
I'm not sure i've ever seen the place so full!
Including the visiting children, and the army of volunteers behind the scenes, we were nearly 400 people strong!
I was really impressed by how well organised this initial event was. Guest speakers, VIPs, two mealtimes, disco, drinks etc etc, all ran like clockwork! A brilliant example of organisation, and set the bar of what has followed.
During this week, the kids have been out and about learning about the city. This was followed by a day of starting projects around the city - these included team building activities, music, sport and a bunch more stuff which will be demonstrated during an event at the cities football stadium on the final day next Friday.
Thursday was surprise day. The kids, parents, and even most of the team wasn't aware of the plan!
During the day, the group visited an exhibition at the Gasometer in Oberhausen and in the evening a fleet of busses ferried everyone, including guests, to Bochum for a performance of the hit musical Starlight Express!
The week has come to a close with a day of activities related to climate change, sustainable living, poverty and other issues being support by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The coming weekend, and the half-way point of the program. A visit to watch local football is on the agenda, followed by a day of sporting activities on Sunday.
Check out the blog next week for an update!