The German Exchange
“There’s the Dome!” I heard someone shout as we turned a bend in the road. All I could see were more Black Forest trees. But as they thinned I saw St. Blasien, the Dome as magnificent as described. Suddenly the atmosphere in the bus changed. We had all been happy and excited about the trip but then we started to become nervous. Would we remember any of the German we’d learned? What would our families be like? Most importantly, would we like the food?
We got off the bus a few minutes later and eager voices called out our names. By the time the bus driver had driven around the corner there was no one left in the car park. We were now with German families we didn’t really know for an entire evening by ourselves. I think Mr. Sharples’ prayers were answered because there were no mishaps and the next day when we met up in school everyone said that they had had a great time! The families were all really friendly and welcoming plus we found that they all at least spoke some English. Best of all we all had very German dinners and had loved them!
By the end of the morning we were all looking forward to the weekend with our partners. Some people spent the time playing games and chatting with their partners, the boarders went to Mass at St. Blasien, one person went to a water park, I was lucky enough to get to listen to my partner play in an amazing concert in Switzerland. When we came back to St. Blasien on the Monday we had so much to tell each other that Mr. Sharples could hardly get a word in during our 45min lesson.
We all found the lessons and structure of the school day very interesting at St. Blasien. They start at 7:30 in the morning and end at 12:30 in the afternoon. Adjusting to such an early school day was difficult for all of us! Between six lessons on Monday and six lessons on Tuesday we got to experience almost all of our partners’ subjects. In Chinese I became very confused listening to two languages that I didn’t understand!
On Tuesday afternoon we had a walk around the Schluchsee, which is a beautiful and huge lake in the Black Forest. However, all morning it had been raining and none of us wanted to go for a two-hour walk. The teachers were, as always, very optimistic and said that the weather was going to improve. To back them up the sun came out for our bus journey to the lake. However, about 5 minutes into the walk the heavens opened! After less than half an hour everybody was drenched through. The teachers decided that it would be best if we took a short cut back. They appeased the wet, disgruntled mob that had been pupils a short while ago by saying we could have hot chocolate at the café while we waited for the bus. When we arrived much to everyone’s horror the café was shut!
We took the bus back and everyone went home with his or her partner. Grace and I had to wait for our partners to finish their activities so Mr. Sharples bought us hot chocolate and cake for while we waited. We decided that the day had definitely turned out well.
The next day we went on a trip to Basel. We spent the morning in the Kunstmuseum looking at wonderful different styles of art but especially Impressionism. The main exhibition we looked at was of Renoir’s early works. We then spent the afternoon shopping and eating. Of course we all had to call in at a Swiss McDonald’s. We then spent the evening with our partners and their families. I was treated to a German meal out; I had Schnitzel, which was delicious!
On our final full day in Germany we went to Freiburg. After a week of snow and rain we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day. When we arrived we were given a short tour and got to look around and go up the Munster. Afterwards we got bratwurst from one of the merchants at the market outside. We had the afternoon to shop and just to relax in the sunshine. That evening we were given a special meal at St. Blasien. All the English pupils were given baseball caps adorned with the St. Blasien crest. We were very grateful for all that our German families and the teachers had done for the exchange to happen. After dinner all the students went outside and had a fun time running around, playing games, and taking lots of photos!
The following morning none of wanted to get up. We knew that once we did we would have to leave. Once at St. Blasien we said our goodbyes to our partners and new friends. We were very slow to board the bus, wishing each other well and talking about when we could next meet up.
We arrived in England and once again our stomachs filled with nervous knots. However, this time it was because we were wondering, “Have I done my studies?”
Grammar (Year 10)