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On Thursday we met our exchange partners. It was so exciting. After an introduction and presentation of their school, we had lunch in the school cafeteria. Later we went home to the exchange students’ houses and met their families. The rest of the day we relaxed, because we were so tired because we had woken up in the morning at 2 am.
On Friday we had lessons in their school. This was fun but very difficult to understand the German. After school we had lunch at our partners’ homes; then we went to Bremerhaven, where we had to do a fun rallye around the town. This was quite fun and interesting to see the town. Then we went to the „Spielespaß“. This was a different experience but quite fun to play German board games. We played "5 minutes" and "King of Tokyo". Although Mrs Jones got very competitive, she still lost.
At the weekends everyone did their own thing and spent time getting to know their exchange partners. Lena and I went to Bad Bederkesa swimming pool. This was so much fun because the swimming pool was so different to English ones - it was clean for a start and there were numerous pools which went outside and inside. After the swim, Lena and I went to a German supermarket, there I bought some sweets which you couldn’t buy in England. Then we went back to Lena’s house where we played "Buzz" and "Singstar". We also played a badminton tournament, in which Lena, her parents, her sister and I all participated in.
On Sunday we went to an American market in Bremerhaven, here Lena and I tried riding a bucking bronco, which we both failed at miserably. After this we went back to Lena’s house to play more badminton and more buzz. In the afternoon we went to Therese’s house and had a pool and BBQ party. This was a lot of fun although the weather resembled England in February.
On Monday we had the first lesson in school and then we caught the bus to Bremerhaven. Here we went to the Klimahaus. This was a building that had different rooms to resemble different climates. This was a lot of fun although some of the rooms were a little too hot. After this we went to the shopping centre and bought lots of clothes, shoes and sweets. After a long day of shopping and our purses feeling considerably lighter, we went home.
After we had finished a whole day in school, we went to the canal to attempt to paddle a dragon boat. This was fun even though we were beaten by another team. After our tiring ordeal the parents of our exchange partners made waffles and cake. Then we went to the swimming pool again with all the students participating on the exchange.
We had the first two lessons in school and then we went to the Watt in Sahlenburg. This was fun despite the weather and we learnt a lot about the rare phenomenon that occurred there. After this we went home before we came back to NIG for a leavers party. We ate and then took lots of photos to remember this trip.
Because our exchange partners’ classes were out on trips, we were allowed to come to school late. We then became to work on our video projects, which contained all our photos from this week. We then presented the projects to the rest of the group. After this we had to go home and pack our bags, have a final lunch and supper and say our goodbyes before we got on the plane to go home. The whole week was so much fun and we all really enjoyed ourselves. We cannot wait for the German girls to come to our school!
Wir hatten sehr viel Spaß in der Woche und haben sehr viel zusammen gelacht.
Firstly, pupils at NIG get up much earlier than at St. Mary’s, Calne. I had to get up at 6 in the morning every day while in England people usually get up at 7. Classes start at 7:50 at NIG while at St. Mary’s classes begin at 8:45 after Chapel which NIG doesn’t have. Students at the NIG can wear their own clothes and there is no uniform when you only get to wear mufti on special days in England. The classes in NIG are bigger than St. Mary’s with around 30 in every lesson while the average class in St. Mary’s is 14. The people in the classes are the same for every subject except French and Religion, when in England the classes are mixed. At St. Mary’s you get a larger language choice than at the NIG, where you can only choose French, Latin and Spanish. English is compulsory. At the NIG you are strictly not allowed to use phones but St. Mary’s is not that strict. St. Mary’s provides food for the students but at the NIG you must bring your own food. School in Germany finishes at 2pm or 3:50pm but in St. Mary’s it finishes at 5:30 and you have to go to school on most Saturdays. Most of the students at the NIG go home every day and there are only a few people who board but St. Mary’s is mostly made up of boarders and day-girls are the minority. Finally, St. Mary’s is a girls-only school but NIG is an equally mixed co-ed school.
There are things in both schools that I like and don’t like. I like the shorter days, no Saturdays and no uniform at the NIG but I also like the smaller classes, longer sleeps and food at St. Mary’s. I am not sure which one I like more, so hopefully Mara will have a better idea than I do when she comes to England in October!
What did you notice about the people in Germany - any differences?
Every morning when Jelena saw her friends at school, she would hug every single one of them in turn and she hugged them again when we left. I thought that was really sweet! Everyone I met on the exchange was really nice and so welcoming even when I struggled to understand what they were saying!
Do you think your German has improved?
Definitely! I have learnt so many new words and phrases which I otherwise wouldn’t have known. It’s also been really useful to be surrounded by German speakers all the time because I’ve now got a better idea of what the language sounds like. I felt that at the end of the trip, I could understand a bit more of what people were saying. As well as my language skills, I think this trip has actually improved my confidence as it’s quite daunting talking to people that you don’t know in a second language.
What lessons did you find interesting?
In German, we learnt about poetry and learning about iambic pentameter in German was extremely interesting but quite strange! I think these lessons have actually sparked a new interest in German poetry for me. All the teachers I met were so friendly and welcomed me into the class; their history teacher was especially funny. It was also quite interesting to see their English lessons because they were reading a book and had to create many different character profiles and summaries.
What was your favourite day?
I think my favourite day was Saturday because it was Jelena’s grandad’s birthday and I got to meet the whole family! It was so fun and the food was amazing - total lecker! I spoke to Jelena’s cousins, uncles and aunties and they were all really kind and generous. Because it was so hot, we ate watermelon and had little colourful fans which were very useful! There was a water fight and we all had an ice-cream party after dinner! After a short walk, we also dipped our toes in the Bad Bederkesaer lake which was very refreshing. It was so fun and I have so many good memories of that day.
Here are the Top 16 German and English words we have enjoyed using this week:
|1) Aschenputtel - cinderella
|1) homeless - obdachlos
|2) schwanger - pregnant
|2) Hovercraft - Luftkissenfahrzeug
|3) schön - nice
|3) on purpose - etwas mit Absicht tun
|4) genau - exactly
|4) A-level - Abitur
|5) ach so - oh okay
|5) creepy - gruselig
|6) also - well
|6) Deatheater - Todesser (Harry Potter)
|7) Überraschung - surprise
|7) embarrassing - peinlich
|8) Halt die Klappe - Shut up
|8) embroidery - die Stickerei
|9) du spinnst - you're crazy
|9) troublemaker - Unruhestifter
|10) doch - (used to contradict a negative statement)
|10) to x-Ray - röntgen
|11) spucken - to spit
|11) donkey - Esel
|12) Schnuggelbär - snuggle bear
|12) racoon - Waschbär
|13) Ameisenscheiße - ant poo
|13) Anteater - Ameisenbär
|14) Pute - turkey
|14) compensation - der Schadensersatz
|15) Entschuldigung - sorry
|15) blizzard - der Schneesturm
|16) Gummibärchen - gummibear
|16) rust - Rost