This sounds like an amazing experience for the students involved. Read on for a report from one of those lucky students, Francesca in year 9.
The German exchange trip was an amazing experience. For me I feel it really improved my German speaking and I was able to experience German culture. The German exchange was a trip where the exchange partners would go to each other’s homes for 5 days and partake in their daily lives by going to school, socialising and spending time with the family. A few months before I went on the German exchange I was able to contact my exchange partner via social media so we already got to know each other and become friends before we met in real life; it was a bit like having a pen pal where I would text in German and she would reply in English.
The first part of the exchange was me flying to Germany on Wednesday, we arrived at the school where we were to meet our exchange partner. I was quite nervous as my pronunciation in German wasn’t so good, but once we met in person we were able to talk to each other and help each other with our grammar. Once everyone had found their exchange partners we all went home where we met our exchange families. My exchange family was really welcoming and luckily spoke some English, so we were able to communicate well. On Thursday we woke up early and went to school. The school atmosphere was quite different to the one at our school; they didn’t wear school uniform so the atmosphere automatically seemed more relaxed, and the teachers seemed to be more lenient. During class I would try and participate by doing the classwork and talk to the pupils. After school the group of German exchange partners met up and we left to go to a shopping centre in the city. We ate ice cream, did some shopping, and after we went home where we decided to watch a movie together. The next day, Friday, we went to school again, and I was able to go to a class with a younger year and help them with their English, which I found fun. After school we went with the exchange group to the dialogue museum, where we had to walk through and do different activities in complete darkness with a walking stick and a handicapped guide. It was interesting to see how someone who is blind would live their lives. Afterwards we went back and had a sleepover with another exchanger partner. On Saturday, I had a day out with my exchange family. I went on a boat trip and on the cable cars as a tour around Frankfurt. In the evening we met up with some other students doing the German exchange and went to the city as there was a music festival going on. The last day, Sunday, was quite a relaxed day where we didn’t do much and flew back to England. I thought it was a great experience to go to Germany and live how a girl in Germany would live.
A week later my exchange partner flew to England on a Wednesday where we were able to meet again. She was able to meet all my friends and family. The next day we went to school where she took part in the lessons and made friends with people in my class. Everyone was really friendly and surprised at how good good her English was compared to our German abilities. After school we went to Greenwich where we took a trip on a Thames clipper and went up to the London eye. The following day, we went to school and once again we went out with our exchange group- this time to the Museum of London, where they were able to learn about our history. Afterwards we played quasar and then had a sleepover with another exchanger partner. On Saturday I took my exchange partner to London where we toured around and went to the main tourist attractions. We also went on the London eye which we thought was fun. Finally on Sunday we stayed in and relaxed until she had to fly back to Germany.
Overall I thought the German exchange was wonderful and I was able to make a new friend who I still often talk to. This trip was a great experience to practise my German and learn about German culture and I highly recommend it to pupils who are interested in taking German GCSE.