Year 10 pupils take part in the 29th German Exchange with the Franziskus Gymnasium
German Exchange 2015 photo gallery (171 photos)
Franziskus Gymnasium (FGV for short) is a Catholic grammar school run by the Franciscan Order of monks. It is situated near the Belgian and Dutch borders and is close to the city of Aachen. Each year our Y10 pupils stay with the families of pupils at FGV. Later the German pupils come to England and stay with us. It is a really good opportunity to learn more German, find out about German culture and make new friends – both with the German pupils and also with other people in the English group.
This year, as well as staying with the families, pupils spent some time in the school, and also visited the cities of Aachen and Cologne. We also visited Monschau – a pretty town with traditional German houses. A battle took place very near to the school during the Second World War. During the week pupils visited a small museum in the area which had many exhibits from the battle fields. They had a talk about the war and learnt some history about the surrounding area.
The German return visit was in April. Their stay here seemed to be a great success. They really appreciated the kindness shown to them by our families. As they come from a very rural area things we take for granted, for example regular bus and train transport, were a real novelty for them, as was shopping in Leeds! They visited York, the National Media Museum in Bradford and also the Dales.
Our pupils too were very appreciative of the warmth with which the German families welcomed them. Below are the thoughts of two members of the group:
"The biggest shock about the German exchange was the time we had to get up in the morning. School started at ten to eight. Most of us had to travel to school by bus which meant we had to get up really early – some of us before six o’clock. However, school did finish earlier than here so the pupils had more free time in the afternoon. The German parents were very kind and were always wanting to give us something to eat – early in the morning was too soon for the big breakfast they wanted us to have but when we went on trips our families always sent us off with bags of food and fruit as well as chocolate and sweets. None of us went hungry. It was really interesting spending a day in school. The German pupils and teachers are very relaxed but they all work very hard. Their English is fantastic. What we liked was the fact that they didn’t have to wear a uniform."
"One of the best parts of the whole exchange for me was the trips. It was a rest from having to be polite all the time and speak German to your German family. We went to so many interesting places and I enjoyed every last one of them, especially the Chocolate museum, and also the Dreiländer Eck which is where the borders of Holland, Germany and Belgium meet. If you have long enough arms and legs you can put one leg in one country, another leg in a second country and your arm in the third country – all at the same time. During the exchange we formed close friendships not only with the German pupils but also with other members of Y10 ones we didn’t know so well before the exchange. Most importantly though: I had many doubts about going to Germany and about what my partner would be like. That is what make it such an exciting trip - going into the unknown. I would recommend the German Exchange to all Y9s for next year. It is something you will remember for your whole life and it is such a great character building experience."