This year, the German department at Chis and Sid organised its second German exchange, in partnership with Schillerschule in Frankfurt. In November Frau Stoldt opened the applications for the exchange to students in year 9 and year 12. A surge of respondents approached Miss Stoldt, eager to learn more about the exchange programme, what it entailed, and who they would have as their partner.
Once the Chis and Sid pupils had been chosen to do the exchange, they were asked to fill in a description form, telling their partner a bit about themselves and giving them a form of contact in which their partner could reach them (either through text or email). This contact was vital for the introduction of the students to their partners, being able to form a bond over the short period before the exchange.
The day of the exchange finally arrived. All of the Chis and Sid pupils were excited to meet their partners after talking to them for a couple of months; some even messaged their partners in the morning of the journey letting them know how excited they were. The plane journey over to Frankfurt was enjoyed by all, with inflight entertainment courtesy of Sharee, Ben and File! Once we had landed in Germany, it wasn’t long until some of the exchange partners arrived at the airport and were united with their buddies; others had to wait a little longer to meet their partners as they were at school. The rest of the day was spent with the family, settling into new surroundings and getting used to the German culture, which for most of the students was totally new.
On the Thursday and the Friday the Chis and Sid pupils went to Schillerschule with their partners. They were able to study some maths, IT, French and history, as well as many others. On the Thursday, we met up as a group and ventured to the Technology museum, where we were able to see phones and televisions ranging from 1900s to present day! Everyone was able to learn at least one new fact about their technology and see some timeless artefacts in the exhibit, making the day really enjoyable. On the Friday the group decided to visit the University of Frankfurt campus – bringing back some memories for Frau Stoldt, who actually went there when studying for her degree! This tour was especially important to the year 12 student, who is possibly looking into German universities for her degree, and it gave everyone the opportunity to see some lecture rooms and get used to the layout of a university.
The Saturday was full of excitement for everyone, as we spent the entire day with our exchange partners. Some activities included going to the zoo (Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt), going to the cinema and viewing films in German and going up the Commerzbank. This day was also spent by the group understanding more about the German culture and trying new things that the British students might not get at home, for example Currywurst, Pommes und Brötchen (curried sausage, chips and a bread roll). Some students even went to traditional German restaurants, where they were served Sauerkraut, Schnitzel and ‘Green Sauce’ (a dip exclusive to the Hessen region of Germany).
Finally on the Sunday we met at the airport and said our goodbyes. It was sorrowful for most of the students and families, because over the last few days a bond had been formed, however the group had to look forward to when the German pupils came over to the UK.
A few weeks passed, during which all of the British students kept in contact with their German friends, giving Frau Stoldt regular updates on how their partners were. Then it was time for the German students to come over to the UK. After a long journey over here, the students were reunited with their partners and were able to go home and relax, whilst settling into their new surroundings.
On the Thursday, everyone had to wake up bright and early in order to get into school on time. The Schillerschule students were welcomed by the Headmaster, Mr Walker, and by the Deputy Head, Ms Evans, who is German herself! They then spent the day in some lessons with their partners, including Latin, English, maths and German (natürlich!). Then everyone met outside school and took the train up to Greenwich, in order to go on a boat tour on the Thames, highlighting some of the main attractions in the centre of London. This tour gave the students ample time to take photos to treasure the moment.
The next day was also full of excitement, as the group travelled up to London, to go into the London Dungeons! This trip was set up so that we could not only see one of the major attractions in London, but also so that everyone could learn a little bit more about the history of London and some of the mischievous characters who used to walk these streets. There were plenty of screams and shouts throughout the trip, when actors jumped out, or the lights dimmed, adding to the spooky effect of the dungeons. Rachel and Immy were particularly intrigued by the dungeons, rushing to the front of the crowd with their partners, so that they could get the best view. Not only was this interesting for the students, but the teachers were also pulled up on stage to try out some of the torture instruments, like the cage.
On the Saturday many of our students went up to London to see some more of the famous sights in the city. One partnership went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard, and others went to the O2 arena in Greenwich and climbed over it! Whatever the students did, it must be agreed that everyone found this experience memorable.
Even now, a few months after the exchange took place, the Chis and Sid pupils are still in contact with their partners, with some planning to meet up over the 2016 summer. This exchange gave everyone involved the opportunity to get to know German culture and make a lifelong friendship, making it worthwhile for all!