10 April 2019
Our first ever exchange with Schloss Hagerhof (a Grammar School close to Bonn, Germany) took place in March. The school link came to fruition as our Headteacher worked at Hagerhof in the early 2000s. Here is a report of the visit from Honor in Year 10. We look forward to welcoming the German group to Newport in June 2019.
Early last Tuesday morning, a group of 15 pink jumper clad Year 10s met at the Telford Central Train Station, full of excitement. Along with the buzz of anticipation there was an air of nervousness. We were about to embark on NGHS’s first ever German Exchange.
The journey to Germany went well, with smoothly timed trains and planes all coordinated to perfection (excluding the time spent standing due to crowded British trains). Within what seemed like no time at all, we were bundled off the train, bouncing heavy suitcases down stairs and then heaving them up some more into the bright German sunshine. In front of us lay the scariest part of the trip, being paired up with our partners and their parents. Soon, we climbed into various cars and found ourselves viewing the surrounding of Bad Honnef, a landscape of vineyards and forests.
Once at our exchange partners’ houses, various conversations of mixed languages took place on topics such as the Royal Family, firefighters and of course, Brexit. Many of us were exhausted from travelling so after supper retired to bedrooms which the Germans had prepared for us, some were even kind enough to sleep with other family members in order from us to have our own room.
On the Wednesday, we spent the morning in German lessons with rowdy boys and then attended an official welcome from Hagerhof’s Headmaster. In the afternoon, Mrs Goodall led some netball-based games, of which the Germans had never played, before it was their turn to teach us basketball - both sports having varying levels of success.
The following day we met at school before walking down to the tram station for our trip to Bonn, without our partners. Unfortunately, we missed our tram but soon caught the next one and arrived at our first stop, the Haus Der Geschichte. This was a museum of German History of which we were very interested in as we wandered around. Next up was the Haribo shop, where many Haribos were bought before lunch under Bonn’s first Beethoven statue. Afterwards, we saw the sights of the city delving into their history with our friendly tour guide. Sparing enough time for a mooch and ice cream, we happily caught the tram back to Bad Honnef before spending the evening with our exchanges.
On the Friday, all the NGHS girls and their exchange partners caught the double-decker train to Cologne where, upon exit, the Dom (Cathedral) came into view. With towering spires and light shattering windows, we all felt its huge presence. Soon after we’d toured the old city walls and other key sites, we had some time to shop in various outlets. After this was a major highlight of the trip - the Lindt factory. During a guided tour, we tried cocoa beans, cocoa butter and gritty chocolate tasters, followed by a cocoa-bean-shaped chocolate fountain.
After a weekend with partners and a variety of other trips, the whole group were exhausted and ready to return home. Our final trip was to visit a view point, transported up there by an old cog railway. We were joined by an enthusiastic group of travellers from Japan. Lots of photos were taken at the top, and all too soon we heading back to Hagerhof for lunch with our partners. When time for good byes came, a few tears were shed but excitement was already building for the Germans’ trip back to England. All the girls on the trip would like to thank Mr Scott and Mrs Goodall for supervising us on this amazing opportunity! We would all definitely recommend it for anyone wanting to improve not only language skill but social skills also.