Another 'wunderbar' trip to Gladenbach
On the 6th March 2017 our Year 10 girls, Mrs Hollis and Mr Thomas set off for Gladenbach, Germany on a much anticipated annual exchange trip. West Kirby Grammar School has been working in partnership with the Europaschule Gladenbach since 1979. These trips are organised to give our girls the opportunity to live with a German family for a week, experience a new culture and to practise their German communicative skills.
Much excitement was displayed during German lessons prior to the trip with the girls taking a real interest in how to communicate well, making their own lists of useful expressions and talking about the contact they had made with their exchange partners in Gladenbach. There was some trepidation on how they would manage the language and understand everything, whether they would like the food, living with a German family and whether they would make a good impression. But from day one, having met Markus Wege from the Europaschule, the exchange partners, their families and settled into their new rooms, the girls felt reassured. They showed great personal confidence in their ability to adapt to a new situation and were looking forward to the coming week and the activities they would experience.
The exchange included trips to Frankfurt with a visit to the Senckenberg Museum, one of the largest natural history museums in Germany, followed by lunch and a wonder through the shopping district. Evenings and weekends are spent with the families on outings and get-togethers with other pupils and partners.
A trip to the university town of Marburg was also organised with its Elisabethkirche (Church of St. Elisabeth), built in 1283. Dr. Andersch gave us a guided tour of the church and presented the history of the church and Marburg itself with great passion and enthused the girls with his historic knowledge. The walk uphill to the castle took its toll on the girls and staff but the views over Marburg were extraordinary and well worth the hike. Having spotted numerous restaurants on the way up, it didn't take long before the girls were racing downhill for lunch followed by a visit to a shop specialising in chocolate Easter eggs, toffees and pralines.
The girls spent a morning in the Europaschule where they joined in some lessons and made German Spätzle (noodles) with cheese followed by chocolate pudding for dessert. Lots of fun was had by all and even the washing up was done with smiles and laughter.
The girls formed good friendships with their exchange partners and looked forward to hosting their reciprocal partners on their visit to West Kirby. Here are some of the girls' comments about the trip:
"I thought the exchange was a good experience and I learned a lot by staying away from home in a foreign country. It definitely helped me with learning German but also helped me gain a lot of confidence."
"I really enjoyed the German exchange and am very glad I went on it. Although on my way to the house I was very nervous, the second I met the family the nerves were gone. They were very welcoming. It was interesting seeing how they lived and the similarities and differences with my life. It has made me more confident when speaking German. I also enjoyed them coming and living with me in England. It was fun to show them our school and my friends."
"The trip has been a highlight of my Year 10 because it was such fun and a learning curve for my German speaking and listening skills. I have made lots of new friends and it was exciting."
"I went to lots of places including Kassel, Marburg, Frankfurt and lots more as well as meeting so many new people and experiencing new things."
A big thank you to all the Year 10 girls who were a credit to our school and represented our school community impeccably. It was certainly a trip they will remember.
Mrs A Hollis, German Department
The German department would also like to thank Mrs Hollis for running this year's exchange so efficiently.