Habitat for Humanity Romania Day 2

Today was the first day of construction work. The 12 students and two teachers were split into groups of five.

Each group was assigned different tasks. The first group was tasked with removing nails from wooden planks. Once they finished, the group helped remove water from the flooded lower level of the building.

The second group constructed cement armaments throughout the day.

The third group covered wooden beams with water and rot resistant paint. Towards the end, individuals from all groups joined together to secure small and large wooden beams which are to be used for the roof of the building.

Throughout the work day, we stopped for several breaks. During these breaks, we enjoyed cold water, lunch, and other snacks. We also met several dogs that followed us around the worksite. They were so cute!

Once the workday ended, we enjoyed dinner and some chose to bowl. Others looked around the mall and some went back to the hotel. Overall, everyone had a fun day!

 By Anika and Janne

Former H.I.S. Student Headed Back to Mayana

We had some news from Christian, a former H.I.S. student. His family left the school at the end of last year to move back to the US.

During their time at H.I.S., the family travelled to Mayana, as part of an MCP (Make Change Possible) Friends Trip. Christian will be going back to Mayana this summer. He wrote to share the following with us:

“Hello from Christian – I was a student at H.I.S and moved back to the USA last summer. Notice the frozen Lake Michigan behind me! This upcoming summer I am going on the Make Change Possible  trip to Mayana, Namibia. While I am there I will be helping the local MCP team with using computers, I am also going to help the local school with their computers.”


Saving The Seas

We are now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use.

More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year.

Everyone should be aware by this point that we humans are slowly, but steadily destroying our planet. We are polluting the air and filling the sea with artificially created products, most of it is plastic.

When plastic was created in 1907, by Leo Hendrik Baekeland nobody could have prophesied that this discovery would be a leading cause for the biggest challenge humanity faces today. The death of our home. 

We have two homes when we come to this planet, our earth and our bodies. However, the one-time use of plastic and insufficient recycling of it, is indirectly harming our bodies too! Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like: reproductive problems hormonal difficulties, kidney damage and nervous system damage. Therefore plastic pollution will not only harms the various different living organisms we share out planet with but also out own health, yet we are too lazy to use and reuse it mindfully.

The responsibility of taking care of our planet is not only towards all the other species that we share our planet with but also for the future generations. Every year 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic entanglement and these are only the ones found! Humans are the only species producing plastic! We talk about Zoos and animal testing being wrong, but what about the birds and the fish that we brutally murder without second thought?

You might think the plastic floating around in the oceans has nothing to do with you, because you don’t own factories or throw things into rivers. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t contributing to the problem in some way! Everyone has an influence on the situation and with that influence comes a responsibility to use it for the good. It is always easy to blame governments or companies for our dying planet, but when are you going to do something about it? Even little changes to your lifestyle can make an impact on the planet. If everyone cuts out a ecologically unfriendly habit it will improve the sea bit by bit. 

Join out campaign from the 8th-12th April. I will be be awarding ocean themed bake goods at the end of the week as prizes for the people who successfully changed one of their unsustainable habits. These can range from: cutting down on the usage of the plastic bottles, separating and recycling your trash or using re-usable shopping bags. There will also be an art installation on the first floor at the library foyer raising awareness about plastic pollution, check it out if you have time! And remember…You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. You can never achieve anything unless you make sacrifices, sacrifice your usage of plastic to keep our planet alive. 

By Ishikaa and Laura

German Cultural Evening

Wie viele Schlösser gibt es in Deutschland?

Hättest du gedacht, dass es 25.000 Schlösser und Burgen in Deutschland gibt? Welche Universität ist die älteste Universität in Deutschland? Richtig! Die Karl-Ruprecht Universität Heidelberg wurde 1386 gegründet. These and more questions were part of a German Quiz presented at the German Cultural Evening.

A slideshow with German sights informed guests of historical, cultural, architectural and culinary highlights of the host country. Have you spent time at the German seaside? How many countries share a border with Germany? Thanks to the members of the CWG (Cultural Working Group) the evening turned out to be entertaining as well as informative.

A variety of German food and drinks awaited the guests as well as the musicians Claus and Klaus, who played a selection of German and international hits. “Über den Wolken – aijaijaijai – muss die Freiheit wohl grenzenlos sein….”!

Um dem Abend einen würdigen Rahmen zu geben, konnten sich Gäste im Eingangsbereich der H.I.S. vor einem Panoramabild der Heidelberger Neckarwiese fotografieren lassen. The “frame photos” will be available soon for guests to pick up and keep in memory of a fantastic evening.

Many thanks to my fellow CWG members for investing so much effort, Zeit und Herz to make the German Evening a success, ihr seid spitze!



H.I.S. Human Rights Exhibition 2019

We are very grateful to the Interkulturelles Zentrum for their initiative to include schools in a project to recognise the 70 years that the Declaration of Human Rights has been in existence.

Over the last 2 months, the MYP students have grappled with reasons behind each of the 30 articles, how they are observed and how they are, at times, trampled upon. Following their in-depth consideration of the Declaration across several subjects, the students produced thought-provoking and empowering responses. The resulting poetry, art work, biographical posters and cartoons, were the basis of our Exhibition.

The originality of the pieces of work, reflect the encouraging learning environment created by their inspirational teachers. I believe our future is in safe hands when we see the level of understanding, demonstrated by our MYP students, of the very complex topics raised through studying Human Rights.

text: KM

A Day of Service

The IB Programmes at H.I.S. facilitate a holistic approach to education. As well as academic lessons, the students have opportunities to develop their creativity, physical health, their social and emotional skills – as well as have fun.

Service is one aspect of the curriculum that is common to PYP, MYP and DP. Of course, it looks a little different depending on the age of the student, but the idea of giving our time for the good of others, is the same throughout.

To be able to identify with the experiences of our students and in turn to be able to support them effectively, the H.I.S. staff took Monday 1st October as a day of service to the Heidelberg community. We were involved in three projects; helping to sort and sell second hand clothes at the German Red Cross (DRK) store in Epplelheim, clearing weeds from the carpark at the Hoffnungskirche and supporting the keepers in various areas of the Heidelberg Zoo.

Back in school on Tuesday 2nd October, we reflected on our experiences and presented our reflections to one another.

There was an awareness of being part of a bigger picture – our small sorting or weeding contributions did not necessarily finish a job, but definitely helped!

The development of a team within a task led to increased efficiency and learning to anticipate one another’s needs – how quickly sand can be distributed!

It was rewarding to receive feedback whether verbally from those instructing us or from watching the pigs roll around excitedly in their new bed of woodchips!

We gave our day for the agenda of another, we persevered through the heat and the smells, we challenged ourselves physically… and we look forward to the next time!

Up Ahead: The Real World

DP Exordium 2018

DP Exordium 2018 – Or As We Like To Call It – Last Chance For Joy

DP Exordium 2018 – Attention! You Are Now Exiting the Carefree Zone. Up Ahead: the Real World

“What?” and “why?”, these were most definitely the initial questions on all of our minds. Why are we undertaking this trip? What is the point of this? The annual DP Exordium was faced with mixed emotions. What some regarded as two nights of our weekends sacrificed, others regarded as an enjoyable event. Nonetheless this years trip to the campsite in Zwingenberg, a smaller town located within close proximity of Heidelberg, was an experience involving intricately connected moments of emotion, realization and self-reflection for grade 11 students and teachers alike.Sighs, panting and thuds were frequently audible on the morning of Thursday, which preceded the trip. Students were dragging in not only their substantially heavier backpacks filled with their DP textbooks, laptops and other necessary equipment, they were carrying along their camping gear as well. While the majority of our teachers had reassured us that there would be no additional work during our trip, we still had an entire school day to undergo prior to the what would soon known to be a very exhausting trip. Relatively few seemed concerned about not being able to study, review or complete work for the following week, which showed that time management, self organization and maturity were greatly developed over the summer. Despite the greatly increased amount of items that had accumulated, students had still managed to divide their gear up effectively between the basement storage area and the area underneath the benches.After the school day, a small group of students, joined by teachers, set off to the Kaufland to acquire the food items agreed upon during the class survey. The remaining students waited patiently alongside the mountain of baggage we had clustered together. Unfortunately the jejune suggestions made by fellow classmates of predominantly meats, were not particularly helpful. However thanks to the quick thinking of the provisions-team more necessary items were acquired. Interestingly such items e.g. candies, cookies, or even condiments, which were initially not mentioned or wanted, were the first to be devoured. While the great ideas of our provisions team were helpful during on the campsite, they did unfortunately caused us to miss the first scheduled train and wait another 30 minutes for the next. Fortunately the train ride we had taken to get to our destination was comfortably short, 33 minutes to be precise. However the short duration was filled with echos of respectful apologies on the behalf of students bumping into other passengers with their camping gear. 

Following our short train ride, was equally short hike to the campsite. Many underestimated the time that had been estimated for the completion of the mini hike. What the hike lacked in time, it more than made up for in difficulty, due to the additional weights we were dragging along with us. Once we reached the campsite, everyone was extremely relieved to drop their baggage to the ground, stand up straight and stretch out backs that were forced into uncomfortable positions by the burdensome baggage. After registration students divided up into smaller groups, while being considerate of the new students and making efforts to integrate such, contributing to an overall positive and welcoming atmosphere. Fortunately this atmosphere provided a balance for the tensions that were created during the struggles of setting up tents. Despite missing rods or lopsided tent covers, everyone managed to set up a shelter for the night. What followed this was dinner. The barbecue was most definitely a success, everyone appeared to enjoy themselves, as well as the food. Interesting conversations were held and new friendships began to bloom. With the sun setting and flames of the fire reducing to embers, students and teachers returned to their tents and quickly drifted off to sleep after our first strenuous day.

 The following morning was met with disappointment, as it had rained the previous night and therefore any clothing items or baggage left outside the tents had been soaked and very cold. The plan for the day had been to have breakfast at 07:30 and be packed and ready by 08:15 to catch the train taking us to the docks where our canoes would have been waiting. Due to a few complications and overall tiredness we were late, however that was quickly resolved and we were off to canoeing. There appeared to be a generally positive outlook onto the canoeing, prior to the realization that settled in much later, that we would be stuck on a canoe with two other people, for five hours whilst making repetitive, continuous and very tiring motions with our paddles. Once again students divided up into smaller groups, pushed the canoes out into the water and were “setting sail”. The first hour out on the river was relatively enjoyable. People made conversation with classmates they would have perhaps prior to this trip not spent as much time with before. It was very interesting to discover others that shared hobbies, interests, similar experiences or even worries. It was both unsettling and comforting to truly realize that the people around oneself were those that would be accompanying you through this critical “final pre stage”, preceding the following “real world”, which is to be faced alone. Nevertheless, five hours into swatting at the river water, canoe linking for what was hoped to be a more efficient way of traveling, as well as hundreds of river-water battles, we had finally reached home – the campsite. While most of us were looking forward to crawling back into the comfort of our sleeping bags, a few brave individuals hopped into the river again for a quick swim.The final morning was significantly colder than our previous morning, which reflected a common mood many of us shared. Some were relieved to finally go home, others were wishing the trip would not end so soon. Once more sighs, panting and thuds were frequently audible, however this time it was due to the difficult puzzle of putting apart the tents and repackaging them into their original containers. While it was quite challenging, it did offer an additional moment of teamwork. Following the packing up of the tents and further belongings, as well as gathering and correct disposal of waste we headed towards the area where a bus would pick us up to bring us to the Kletterwald. At the Kletterwald we had a welcoming introduction on behalf of the staff. Soon afterwards we were divided into groups based on proficiency in German language. This once again produced student combinations which some would have most likely never truly considered before for work purposes. Initially (in the group I was in at least), there was great hesitation to working together. However after our instructor had informed us that we would be starting over as many times as necessary until we would learn to work together, we quickly unified and accomplished the task successfully. Further team building and trust forming activities were relatively enjoyable, yet it can be said with certainty that the activity looked forward to the most was the individual climbing activity and the jump from the 10m pole (naturally with the necessary security measures). Overall this years trip once again allowed students to truly test their abilities, challenge themselves, discover new things not only about themselves but perhaps about one or the other student or teacher, and take a moment to relax and enjoy life, which is something that may be more of a luxury during the next two years.

 Good luck everyone! Here’s to a solid start to the IB Diploma Program!