Learning new games : Kubb

Week 11

Friday 17/06/2016

East Berlin

Unfortunately, our exchange student has learnt first hand about the unpredictability of the British weather. We had a very showery trip into London and along the Thames to Greenwich to visit The Royal Observatory.  The Thames ferry was a godsend for a dry picnic but the views were lacking because of the heavy rain. However, we still managed to take him to climb over the iconic O2 building, dodging the worst of the  rain showers. Luckily, dry at the top it just started raining on the descent and the reward was a beautiful rainbow.

A scenic kayaking paddle.

My youngest went off last week for his first foreign exchange. He did not seem daunted at the thought of swapping lives with a fellow German, being away from home for two weeks or throwing himself into the culture and language of his exchange family. His only concern was whether his vegetarianism would be a problem but after a quick phone call his  fear was allayed. He has seen the positive benefits experienced by his siblings foreign exchanges. These have generally been with German families although we have had one Italian exchange and hosted a Romanian music student and a French student too.

 I get a little anxious about hosting because I worry that the foreign exchange students are happy, not too homesick and not terrorised by living within a big, lively family with extras often popping in and out randomly. So far it has been a very positive experience and I feel that our family has a better understanding of the history of other communities and tolerance of other cultures and lifestyles and a broader outlook on life. My guys have returned a little more independent and more confident at speaking the foreign languages. One of them cried when she had to return home, which arouses its own mixed emotions. Although, I took that as a huge compliment to her host family rather than her wishing to ditch us! 

A quick guide to Kubb 

Knock as many of your opponent’s kubb blocks over as you can using the dowels. 

The dowels MUST be tossed underhand.

To win, a team must knock all of their opponent’s kubb blocks over and successively knock over the king. However, if the king is knocked over any time during play, the offending team loses.

Alongside learning new vocabulary the families have been exchanging games . In Germany, my son has learnt to play Kubb, an outdoor game involving throwing blocks.

I have found the following advantages of a Foreign Student Exchange :

Practise Language Skills

Learn new vocabulary

Learn about new cultures

Become more independent

Make more friends

Try new foods

Try new activities and learn new games

Cost effective travel

Appreciate your own family (absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that!)

The lessons rub off on the host families too!

Climbing over the O2 building

In England, we have been taught a great new  but complicated card game called 'Cambio'. I am still trying to get my head around the rules and have written a little crib sheet - my memory is not what it used to be!
In return we taught our exchange student the simple but often dangerous game of 'Spoons'- a card game  with a musical chairs type twist. We have managed to play it without any injuries so far but with a lots of laughs. 

It is great to see the sociable interactions blossoming and I am hoping to keep a games night going when my son returns home. At least the exam season will be over and family members will have  more downtime to spend together for some family fun!

Enjoying the German Countryside

 It is hard to be homesick in this age of technology and we have had an abundance of photos from Germany via WhatsApp. I was very excited to see my youngest enjoying the German countryside in a double kayak. He has also sent us pictures from his sightseeing expedition to Berlin and from his explorations of his host town. During his free calls via WhatsApp he has also chatted cheerfully about meeting up with friends to play football. I am pleased he is having a computer detox, socialising and enjoying the outside more.