Thirty Year 8 and 10 Derby Grammar School pupils travelled to Lüneburg in Germany in March to take part in a week’s exchange visit to experience German culture and language.

All pupils are studying the German language. They each lived with a German family for the week, and are looking forward to welcoming their new German friend back to the UK for a week in June.

During the week, pupils spent time with their host family, enjoyed a quiz night at our exchange school and took part in various trips and visits. These included a day in Berlin visiting the Reichstag glass dome and the Panorama The Wall exhibition, an 18 metre high rotunda at Checkpoint Charlie which shows how life on both sides of the Wall felt and looked.

The group also toured the amazing £270m Volkswagen Autostadt next to VW HQ in Wolfsburg. The Autostadt is a fascinating voyage of discovery which explains the technology behind VW, and shares the VW vision of the future.

Other experiences during the week included language work in the centre of Lüneburg, the Kletterwald climbing centre (which pupils tackled alongside their exchange partners) and a visit to the Scharnebeck twin ship lift. The 38 metre boat lift connects the Elbe Lateral Canal and the Mittellandkanal. When built in 1974, it was the largest ship lift in the world. On the last day pupils visited Neuengamme Concentration Camp and Hamburg harbour.

Robert is a Year 8 who took part in the exchange. He said: “I really enjoyed staying with my exchange partner as they were very kind to me. They cooked my favourite foods and were very patient”.

Mr Hilliam, Senior Master and tour leader for the trip added: “For younger pupils the aim is to create a really positive experience which promotes German as a potential GCSE choice. For older pupils (most going for a second time) the week has a significant impact on their GCSE results. All the pupils gained a lot and were a credit to Derby Grammar School.

We are looking forward to reciprocating the excellent hospitality we received from our German hosts when the exchange partners travel to Derby in June.”