Over the Easter holiday, eleven Oundle Germanists took part in this year’s Fourth Form (Year 10) German exchange visit with Marion-Dönhoff-Gymnasium in Hamburg.
The link between the two schools is now into its second decade. The programme of activities this year included visits to the historic city centre where the German exchange partners had prepared presentations for every site, including St. Michael’s Cathedral, the town hall, the harbor and the old car tunnel underneath the River Elbe. The visit to the world’s biggest model railway exhibition was also a highlight.
Zach Boser (14) commented, “The ‘Dialog im Dunkeln’ exhibition was a truly unique experience. For an hour, we learned what it feels like to be blind. Being immersed in German family life is something which makes exchanges unique and enjoyable and helped enormously with our language skills.”
Pupil, Sam Mok (16) commented, “Apart from the sightseeing the most interesting thing for me was to experience the differences in school life. The fact that our exchange partners do not have to wear school uniform was an interesting concept for us and it was noticeable how much more free time they seemed to have too.”
The first half of this two-way exchange trip was a great success and Oundle pupils are very much looking forward to their partners coming to Oundle for a week after the Summer half term when they plan to show them how they live and study here in the UK. Trips on offer during their stay here in Oundle will include London, York, Cambridge and Peterborough.
German teacher and trip leader, Jens Röhrborn commented, “One of the highlights for our guests is usually the ‘buggy’ racing organised by the Patrick Engineering Centre where our German guests are presented with the opportunity to race the buggy cars built here at Oundle School.”
Head of Modern Languages, Sara Davidson commented, “Language pupils need to be inspired and motivated by direct contact with the culture that they are studying. Language immersion trips are a fantastic way of bringing a language to life and giving pupils a chance to practice in a less structured and free environment where language is acquired more through necessity and pupil interest. Internationalism is important to Oundle; today’s pupils will be competing for jobs in a highly competitive and global world. Our aim is not only to be at the cutting edge of teaching and learning, but ultimately to enable Oundelians to learn and appreciate any language of their choosing.”