Taking part in a German exchange is a fantastic way to experience everyday life in one of the German-speaking countries, and of course to put the language skills learnt in the classroom into practice. Mukahang Limbu (pictured), a Year 10 pupil studying German at Oxford Spires Academy tells us more about the school’s exchange with the Herman-Staudinger-Gymnasium in Erlenbach near Aschaffenburg, Germany.
In October Miss Constantine and Mr Fanchi took nine students from Years 10 and 11 to stay with German families by themselves and make friends with their German exchange partners. It was a very valuable experience for the students as they were able not only to improve their German dramatically, but also immerse themselves into the family life of their exchange partners and rely on themselves completely. As a result these students came back to England one head taller and rightly so.
The group visited the town close by – Aschaffenburg – where they learnt about the history of the place and they took part in lots of activities like bowling, pool, cooking and having a meal out together. Each family arranged individual activities with the students so that every one of them has a different story to tell. They also visited the school and took part in lessons. The exchange took place over 4 days, which as it turns out, was much too short, as all students wanted to stay longer. Maybe next year we can extend the exchange! We are already really looking forward to having the German students stay with us in June 2016.
The most rewarding aspect for me would have to be, that I was able to use my own previous knowledge of the language to communicate and forge new relationships; this gave me a chance to not only utilise what I have already learned, in real-life situations, but also allowed me to expand my ability, by learning from our student exchange partners. You cannot hope to learn a language, without applying it in practice! To truly learn a language, a person must experience the culture and diversity that comes with the ‘foreign tongue’, and only when that happens, is a person’s ears truly open to all the flavour of the sounds, the frequency of the tones, and the richness in the dialogue, which as a result causes us to learn and understand more than before, because the more we hear, the more we get accustomed to the riffs and tunes, and so the less ‘foreign’ the language becomes!
Charlie Parker, also in Year 10, said: ‘The German exchange was fun and very interesting. I had great fun learning what they do on a daily basis compared to us in England. I would recommend it to everyone and I wish we could have been there longer.’
Mukahang Limbu, Year 10
Oxford Spires Academy