SynopsisDifferent countries, different customs. Every year, young people from all over the world go to a foreign country to familiarise themselves with an alien culture. What they experience there is sometimes funny and sometimes tragic. But it is always about finding one’s own borders and about finding a place for oneself among foreign people and their patterns of behaviour: what should be understood without having to say it, when people live together? What can be seen as normal behaviour, and what borders on being weird? 12 Months Germany accompanies four exchange students from three different continents living with their German host families allows us to share in their frustrations, their conflicts and in their successes while living in this foreign country.
Kwasi from Ghana was sent by his mother on this journey into the unknown, but in the beginning, he is bored to death from dawn to dusk in the provincial East German countryside. Nairika from the USA is looking for real family life, something that she cannot get from her hard working single-parent host mother in Berlin-Neukölln. Constanza from Chile cannot find a way to communicate with her host family despite the fact that they always have a dictionary at hand. And Eduardo from Venezuela, who now lives in Hamburg-Ottensen, is supposed to start reading real German books instead of just the sports section of the newspaper.
The film’s director Eva Wolf accompanies these four protagonists through their exchange year in Germany and through their ups and downs with their host families, she shows that conflict can result in real understanding and closeness, not just alienation. Her film is about the tensions that sometimes arise from cultural differences and sometimes just from the fact that human beings are simply different - everywhere in the world. We do not only find different customs in different countries, but also sometimes in the house next door.