Seventeen Year 8 and 10 Derby Grammar School pupils travelled to Lüneburg in Germany in September as part of their German course to take part in a week’s exchange visit. Each pupil was hosted by a German family during their time there, and they are looking forward to welcoming their new friend back to the UK in March next year.

The week started with a ‘getting to know you’ quiz night for pupils and families before our pupils embarked upon a week of visits and activities. This included a tour of the £270m Volkswagen Autostadt centre 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. It proved a very popular part of the trip amongst our DGS boys as they tried out cars we could be driving in the future!

Other activities during the week included a visit to the Neuengamme Concentration Camp, aswell as the Kletterwald climbing centre, which pupils tackled alongside their exchange partners. They also visited to the Scharnebeck twin ship lift which is a 38 metre boat lift connecting the Elbe Lateral Canal and the Mittellandkanal. When built in 1974, it was the largest ship lift in the world.

The week also included language lessons. All pupils agreed that taking part in the trip had improved their language skills. Year 10 pupil, Rohan Singh, said: “the trip has really helped me develop my speaking accent and my understanding of the language in general.

The favourite part of the trip for me was the Autostadt. I’m addicted to fast cars and I felt like I was in heaven. My favourite was the Bugatti Veyron.”

Ian Watson, German teacher at Derby Grammar School and tour leader for the trip added: “the exchange is all about bringing the subject to life and making it much more than something written down in a text book. It’s much more real and exciting to learn something from a young person who really speaks it than from a teacher like me.

I find that pupils who go on the exchange are much more likely to show an interest in the subject in future, perhaps choosing it for as a GCSE or A-Level, and they often keep up with their exchange partner.

Last summer one of our old pupils who has now started at university spent three weeks with his exchange partner. They originally met on the exchange five years ago. He then went on to achieve over 80% in his A-Level German speaking exam.”

We are looking forward to welcoming our German friends back to the UK in March and reciprocating the excellent hospitality we received whilst in Lüneburg.

(Thank you to Rohan for capturing pictures during the week!)