Published on 17/04/18
Read the thoughts of Mrs Freeman, Director of Modern Languages, on the recent Year 10 German Exchange and Year 12 Work Experience Trip to Munich, Germany.
All Germans and many Germanists will be familiar with the classic film “Dinner for One”. The crucial exchange repeated throughout: “The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?” “The same procedure as every year, James!” Well, this certainly rings true for the Stephen Perse Foundation’s German Exchange with the Theresia Gerhardinger Gymnasium am Anger, which has been running for 25 years now. A very special friendship has grown between the schools!
Frau Freeman and Mrs Thomas took the largest group yet of Year 10s and Year 12s to Munich, Germany last week. Such dedication that the students were prepared to spend a week of their Spring holidays enjoying school in Germany or for the Year 12s gaining useful experience and IB CAS hours on a work placement in German!
The Bavarians provided us with glorious sunshine every day as well as a warm and generous welcome. The weekend was spent with host families exploring the area. Several went to the fairy-tale castles of Ludwig II including Schloss Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.
Year 10s spent their week attending 2 of their partners’ lessons daily and then taking part in excursions, which included a city tour, a visit to the Hofbräuhaus, tasting Weißwurst and süßer Senf, getting lost in Europe’s largest science & technology museum, admiring the gallery of beauties at Schloss Nymphenburg and seeing both modern art, design and architecture at the Pinakothek der Moderne.
Salzburg and the salt mines provided the year 10s with a group day trip. We promenaded through the Mirabellgarten humming hits from the Sound of Music. Mozart’s home was next on the agenda and we were able to learn more about his life, lamenting the fact that none of us had completed several symphonies - let alone one before the age of 9. Free-time was spent exploring the picturesque Getreidegasse and historic city centre. The high point was in fact spent 130 metres underground in the salt mines of Berchtesgaden with the steep slides which we all whizzed down happily!
Work experience was on the programme for the Year 12s, which was divided between dispensing medication in a Chemist’s, working with young children in a Kindergarten and icing 165 cupcakes daily at a Bakery in Dachau. Mrs Thomas visited all and ensured a “Qualitätskontrolle” on the cakes made did take place at the Bäckerei!
The Year 12s finished their week at the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism followed by a visit to the Lenbachhaus to learn more about der blaue Reiter - expressionist art group based in Munich. This was finished off with a cultural visit to one of Munich’s most beloved bakeries - Rischart.
Exchanges offer an excellent chance to learn the language, however also they really do help to broaden students’ horizons and develop other skills, such as the much desired and unquantifiable emotional intelligence required in life in general. Adapting and tuning into life in another environment and negotiating your way through this helps with communication skills and raising cultural awareness. Anecdotally time spent in host families abroad can be worth at least half a grade or more in students’ external exams.
Our partners will return at the end of June, where we have a busy programme planned, including visits to London, Sandringham, fish and chips at Hunstanton as well as all Cambridge and its surrounding areas have to offer.
We hope that this cultural exchange will continue to flourish in years to come!
Check out our modern languages department Twitter account @SPFlanguages to stay up to date with exchanges and trips.