High School Scholarship

Swiss Chalet © Ben Mitchell

Cat’s Eye View

When Year 12 student Ben Mitchell turned up at the door of a German family, even the resident feline welcomed him in

Ben arrived at my house and right away I could see that my family liked him! I could tell they were nervous beforehand, their hair was sticking out like scaredy cats, but I knew he was going to fit in. He was so polite and did lots to help out. He sometimes cooked and always had time to scratch me.


At first he had a bit of homesickliness and the cat had his tongue but we all helped him feel comfortable: my littlest human Janka played lots of games with him, my dad human Klaus made lots of jokes, my mum human Julika made lentil soup and their younger son Jakob was always offering things to do like playing table tennis with a handball, a snowball fight, football in the snow, and a million other things. That’s another thing. Ben loves snow. He also joined a table tennis club.

German Tischtennis © Ben Mitchell The Cat’s Pajamas

Once the family went away without me for a week, apparently they went to Switzerland and stayed in a hut there. Deep snow, skiing (cross country too), sledding, lots of cards. One especially special moment for Ben was skiing in powder with Julika at the end of the day…I heard it was the cat’s pyjamas.

Swiss Skiing © Ben Mitchell Then he had an incredible week travelling around the country with awesome people. I was pretty surprised when he arrived back in my town, looking like something the cat dragged in.

But things soon returned to normal.

By a Whisker

We all helped him with his German. Another of my boy humans, Kolja, even watched films with him and explained what was going on. Kolja often helped him with his grammar, too. Everyone answered his endless questions. When he asked “is it der Haus or das Haus?”, our favourite answer was “neither-nor!”.

Ben mainly found school boring but with cool bits in-between, for example when a guy came over and explained a physics concept. There was also a friendly art teacher who told him to look inside himself for what to do. So many highlights, too many to mention. The sayings that became inside jokes were cool: “a mile is as good as a miss," and “I’m no problem!” are just a few.

countryside near Landholfshausen © Ben Mitchell Purrfect

Germany taught Ben important things: perseverance, adapting to different situations, learning about people, and learning about himself, and he is so grateful for the experience.

icy water © Ben Mitchell