During Half Term 15 pupils in Year 9 to 12 visited Bayreuth, Germany.  Pupils from Graf-Munster-Gymnasium, a secondary Grammar School, will visit Sedbergh in March 2016.

The group included Emily Braithwaite, Emily Chiu, Megan Clifton, Oliver Cope, Molly Davies, Adele Fairclough, Felicity Fairclough, Marc Fletcher, Rosie Herman, Ruby Page, Charlie Papworth, Elizabeth Sladden, Jed Sykes, Beatriz Terres Onate and Imogen Thompson.

Pupils stayed with host families and took lessons at GMG, and enjoyed a tour of the town, opera house, and local villages and attractions. Some of the pupils shared their memories of the visit:

The German exchange was an incredibly valuable experience. I won’t forget it as I have gained so much from doing it. For anyone taking German, I would definitely recommend going on an exchange.

It is a chance to improve your German a vast amount by getting used to the speed at which they speak, and just being able to speak it all the time. It’s thoroughly enjoyable time well spent.

Not only are you learning a lot; you are also meeting new friends who you will hopefully be able to keep in touch with for a very long time.
Molly Davies (Year 11, Robertson)

The outstanding experience for me being the ice skating with all of our partners and lots of falling over by Megan Clifton! We enjoyed a trip to Nuremberg, the nearest city, where we learned about the city’s culture and also enjoyed the chance to do some shopping with our partners.

The summer toboggan run was great fun, the highlight of course being when Mrs Goodman and Mr Loughe got stuck and unable to get out of their toboggan. Other enjoyable activities included visiting Mödlareuth (“Mini-Berlin”), bowling on the first day and learning about the opera houses in Bayreuth.

We all enjoyed trying out the German food (Ruby Page’s favourite was the schnitzel). Overall we had a great time.
Imogen Thompson (Year 10, Lupton)

A commonly used excuse for not learning a foreign language is that ‘everyone speaks English’ – as if this in itself is justification enough. Yet, not only does learning another language greatly improve your memory, it also improves your understanding of different cultures.

Things like idiom, for example, can often reveal something of a particular culture’s history, yet are difficult to translate, and so knowledge of the language in which they’re used is essential to understanding them fully.

School exchanges, like the one with Bayreuth, really enhance one’s learning of a foreign language, as you are completely immersed in it. You read it on signs and in newspapers and hear it on TV and the radio, not to mention spoken by the family you are staying with.

Even something as simple as ordering a coffee improves your linguistic ability. Finally, to return to my earlier point, it is simply not true that everyone speaks English.

In fact, throughout the entire exchange, I spoke not a word of English with my German family, with the parents constantly apologising (in German) for their ‘poor English’, and I really feel that I, and my German, benefitted a lot from this.
Adele Fairclough (Year 13, Carus)

Follow Sedbergh: