Year 10 German Exchange Programme

In the Spring Term, our Year 10 German students headed out to Germany for a week’s Exchange experience.  Our partner school, Lina Hilger Gymnasium Bad near Mainz, are celebrating the 150th birthday of the founder of their school this year, and or visit coincided with this big date.  It was therefore timely that tour German friends’ return visit to us in June was during our 450 anniversary year. Maddie shares her exchange experience with us,

“I had such a good time on the German exchange. I instantly got on so well with my exchange partner Mara and her family. We went to Cologne (and its cathedral) and on a lovely boat trip along the River Rhein.  My first experience of German school was interesting and fun; I especially loved making new friends with the Germans who were all so welcoming… We had trips to Mainz (and the Gutenberg Museum), to the Techno Museum in Speyer, and to Frankfurt… Friday was our final day and also happened to be a big anniversary of the school (the 150th ‘birthday’ of Lina Hilger after whom our partner school is named) so there were no lessons but it was so interesting talking to more German students. My week away was a fantastic experience and I loved learning more about the German culture whilst massively improving my language skills.

At the end of June, Mara arrived to stay with us in England for the week.  She arrived late on the Thursday night but that didn’t stop us from chatting non-stop about everything that had happened since I last saw her. On the Friday, she came to school for Registration and met all my friends and then went to Oxford. She loved this as they saw lots of buildings that had featured in the Harry Potter films, her favourite film series. When Mara got back, we went bowling and showed her around Cheltenham.

On the Saturday, we all went to Sudeley Castle, which we both found very interesting and pretty. Then we went to the village of Broadway for afternoon tea and even saw some Morris dancers in the street. I think she found the whole thing very traditional and English.  We went to Bristol on Sunday and saw some Banksy art, which she had heard about in Germany and then watched her favourite Harry Potter film together.

On Monday, the school took everyone on a trip to London and we saw all the main sights such as the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace. We even went to Oxford Street and spent most of our money on souvenirs. The next day, Mara came to school with me and came to my lessons. She said the school day seemed so much longer than in Germany and also said how she was so glad they didn’t have to wear school uniform. After school, we had the pot-luck supper, which had some amazing food, including scones that the German partners had baked, and after we’d eaten, we chatted and played games on the field as the weather was so nice.

On Wednesday, Mara went to Gloucester and was so excited because she got to see even more buildings from Harry Potter. Sadly, Thursday was Mara’s last full day, but we had a great time in school as it was OED Day. We both especially loved the climbing, which she had never done before. On Friday, our visitors went on a quick trip to watch the Pate’s Foundation Concert rehearsals and then came back to school so we could say bye to each other.

Overall, the exchange was an amazing experience for both of Mara and me.  I have learnt so many important skills, as well as improved my German and my knowledge about a different culture. Mara and I have promised to stay in touch and I am already planning to go back to Germany and visit her again. It’s really inspired me to continue to work on my language and communication skills and get more involved in everything the Languages department has to offer. I would thoroughly recommend going on the exchange to anyone who is interested in German and making new friends.”