On 11 October, a group of St Helen’s students embarked on an exciting exchange trip to Walsrode, a town in the state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) in Germany.
The trip is part of a long-standing partnership between St Helen’s and Gymnasium Walsrode, a German secondary school, where each year a group of their students spends two weeks being hosted by St Helen’s and the St Helen’s students who hosted them are then in turn hosted for two weeks in Germany. These trips aim to enhance our students’ intercultural awareness, improve language skills, and foster friendships.
Upon arriving at the airport, the group were greeted warmly by their host families and quickly felt at home in their houses. The opportunity to live within and fully immerse oneself in a new and different culture is invaluable. Part of this experience is achieved through attending classes at the partner school. Here the students were able to experience first-hand the differences and similarities between the two education systems.
The biggest differences for our students were that lesson times are longer than in the UK (1 hour 30 minutes), that students can go home for lunch and do not wear uniforms.
While attending the school our students enjoyed participating in sports, music, and art. They also learnt some German songs and dances, which the group performed at a farewell party on the last day.
It is not only about experiencing a different way of learning, and over the weekend our students were able to immerse themselves in German history and culture with some visiting Hanover, others going to Bremen, while the swifties in the group accompanied their German hosts to a Taylor Swift concert live-stream.
Exchange trips are always a memorable and enriching experience for the students who take part in them. They can learn so much about their host country’s culture, history, and language, all while making new friends, amazing memories, and having a lot of fun.
From all of us at St Helen’s we would like to thank the families who hosted our girls and for helping to make it such a memorable experience. We hope to see our German friends again soon.