Oxford German Olympians celebrate success!

Since the Olympiad celebrations in June, the Oxford German Network team has had a little break – hence the ‘Funkstille’ on our blog. But while we were away, we asked some of the successful participants in ‘Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland’ to tell us about their experience of taking part in the competition. We start with the group that came runner-up for their interview with a German native speaker living in the UK: Ellie, Laila and Hannah.

Lähnemann trumpet 2017
Prof. Henrike Lähnemann announces the winners at the prize-giving ceremony

Our trip to Oxford was amazing! We had such a great time – this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is something that definitely doesn’t happen often! Oxford University is so eye-catching, with the stone walls and the old wooden doors, and the resources that are available are super helpful. Oxford city is beautiful with lots of sightseeing to do and ancient buildings with stories behind them. When we got there we had a tour of the university, after that we went to the awards ceremony at the Bodleian Library which looked like the perfect place to study in. The next day we got ready for another exciting day ahead of us. We went on a river boat to see the pretty trees and nature around us, later in we went to the cinema to get out of the scorching heat!

Overall our trip to Oxford was very memorable and we would love to go back again sometime.

Ellie Tempest

Prizes 2017

The award ceremony was amazing! I would love to take part in another competition for the Oxford German Network. I liked doing the quiz about the Bodleian. I especially liked the rap video. My prize was an orange phone cleaner, an Oxford University postcard, Letters To A Young Poet [book], How a Ghastly Story Was Brought To light By A Common Or Garden Butchers Dog [book], Chess [book] and an Oxford German Network bookmark.

Laila Gowling

Waiting ceremony 2017
Competitors wait to receive their prizes

Besides going to the University and the award ceremony, we found Oxford town great. Everything was so pretty and it had such a nice scenery. Also everyone that we met in Oxford was so kind and always there if we needed help. The cinema was great and so was the mini river cruise we had so much fun. Overall our time in Oxford was amazing and we would love to go back and we will definitely be entering the next lot of Competitions, in the hope of having this magical experience again.

Hannah Wicks

More to come next week…!

Reflections on my first year studying German at Oxford

Back in Michaelmas Term 2015 (Autumn/Winter 2015) some Student Ambassadors suggested that OGN launch a blog.  And that’s exactly what we did!  In this post Zoe Aebischer, one of those students, reflects on the first post she wrote for OGN and indeed on her whole first year studying German at Oxford.

I’ve just looked back at the first blog post I wrote at the beginning of my first year studying German, and I am shocked/amazed/confused that the year has passed so quickly and I am now only a few days away from starting second year (eek!). I arrived in Oxford having read very little German literature, so the fact that I have now read works by German philosophers, playwrights, poets and novelists, ranging from being written in approximately 1190 (‘Gregorius’ by Hartmann von Aue, an epic poem, the plotline of which was always amusing to explain to my friends) up to 1975 (‘Einen Jener Klassischen’ by Rolf Dieter Brinkmann), has taught me that you can achieve a lot more than you ever thought possible. It definitely helps build your confidence knowing that you can, you can do more than “just” recite a list of vocab in a foreign language (although that’s still something I need to work on…), but can analyse a poem or write an essay on the narrative voice of a novel written in a foreign language.

Views of Oxford and Worcester College

I think the most important thing I’ve learnt in the last year (other than how to include German puns in as many places as possible, or how to…endure…a two and a half hour philosophy seminar while being ill with the flu) is that, although Oxford is at times incredibly overwhelming, pressure-piling and demanding, every other student is in exactly the same position, and this leads to the creation of some really close and supportive friendships. There is also, of course, time to squeeze in things that are fun and relaxing, such as dressing up for the colourful and chaotic college bops or going to see poetry slams by Julia Engelmann (if you haven’t already, I would highly recommend looking her up on YouTube!).

And so I go into second year feeling generally positive: I’m looking forward to helping my college children (new first year students) navigate life at Oxford; to many more amusing moments in German classes (I’m reminded of the time in a translation class when we were given a chunk of text in English: one person translated it into German, then passed it to the next person who translated it back into English, then to another person who translated this sentence into German and so on until we had gone round the whole group – somehow from ‘The fog came pouring  in at every chink and keyhole’ we ended up with ‘Chaos permeated every chimney and every keyhole’… ok so perhaps it’s not that funny, but it’s these kinds of moments that bring a bit of light to your day.) I’m even (sorry to any medieval German enthusiasts reading this) looking forward to studying more medieval German texts – despite my initial sensation of pure fear when, last year, I saw the medieval German text on my reading list.

Best of luck to everyone starting or continuing at Oxford this year!

 Zoe Aebischer, Worcester College, Oxford

Schüleraustausch – from the dreaming spires to the Bavarian Alps

Oxford High and Magdalen College School have a long-running exchange with Gymnasium Fürstenried in Munich.  Every year the girls from OHS join with the boys from MCS to welcome the German pupils, before heading out to Munich.  For this blog entry two OHS pupils tell us about their experiences of the exchange earlier this spring – from film studios to football stadiums, castles to car factories!

The away leg – Munich bound!

On Friday, we flew out to Munich from Heathrow. We were all really excited to come to Germany, and our exchange partners were all very happy to see us. It was great to see my exchange partner again, as we got on very well.

Aerial Marienplatz
The view of Marienplatz from the Peterskirche

We spent the weekend with our exchange families. I went around Munich on Saturday with some of my exchange partner’s friends and their exchanges. It was really interesting to see around Munich, as it is a beautiful city. We went up the St. Peter’s Church tower and got a really good view of the city. On Sunday, my exchange partner and her family took me into the Alps, which were really scenic.

On Monday we went to the school to have lessons for the morning. It was quite strange to have lessons in German, but I managed to understand some of what was going on. In the afternoon we were all allowed to go around Munich with our friends, before having a guided tour of the city. We saw many interesting things, including beer halls!

A Bavarian Schlosspark
Beautiful parks around the palaces

On Tuesday we all went to visit Burghausen Castle- our exchange partners came with us. It is the longest castle in Germany, and felt more like a village than a castle. We had a tour, and enjoyed having a look around. After that, we took a boat trip to the Palace of Herrenchiemsee, which was the former residence of king Ludwig II of Bavaria. This was very interesting, and it was very elaborately decorated.

Inside the Allianzarena!


On Wednesday, after another morning of lessons in German, we got to go to the Allianzarena, home to the famous football team Bayern Munich. We had a tour of the stadium and even had a go at scoring some goals ourselves.

Thursday was one of our busiest days. In the morning we had a workshop with our German exchange partners, where we created posters about the various differences between Munich and Oxford. Then, we took a trip to Bavaria Film Studios, which were very interesting. We saw many film sets, including the submarine used for the film Das Boot, and some of us had a go at being on screen ourselves. After that we visited the Olympia centre, which had been constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and there were some great opportunities for group photos there.

Friday was our last day in Germany, and in the morning we visited BMW world. We had a tour, which was really interesting and gave us an insight into how cars were manufactured, and we got to look at the various cars and even sit inside them. Afterwards, we returned to the school for lunch before saying goodbye to our partners and boarding the coach to the airport. It was sad to leave Germany, as we all had a fantastic time!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and I felt that my understanding of the German language had improved greatly. I would definitely recommend the exchange to anyone studying German.

Louisa, Oxford High.

The home leg – Welcome to Oxford!

On the 11th of March our German exchanges arrived in Oxford. After a slightly delayed flight we met the German group in the canteen for tea and cake before taking our partners home for the weekend. Over the weekend we got to know our exchanges – all of whom were lovely and spoke very good English. We entertained them, taking our partners to the main Oxford attractions such as the Carfax Tower, Martyrs’ Memorial and Radcliffe Camera. Some of the group even took their German exchanges further afield to London and Blenheim Palace to give them an experience of British culture.

On Monday we had some lessons with our exchanges and we had the opportunity to introduce them to our school friends and teachers. In our German lesson we welcomed the German group by singing “Any dream will do” in English (this year’s school musical is ‘Joseph’) followed by a German song called “Fliegerlied” later in the week. On Monday evening we all went bowling which was really fun and rather competitive! For the rest of the week our exchange partners went on trips to visit different areas of England including Stratford, London and Bath. On Friday morning we had our last few lessons with our exchanges and then at lunchtime, after a group photo, we waved farewell to the German group as they headed to the airport.

All of us got on really well with our exchanges and we are looking forward to visiting them in Munich.
Issie, Oxford High.