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    The first leg of the Year 9 German Exchange is sadly over, but it was an unforgettable experience for all the students at Wyvern College who took part. The German students left reluctantly after a fantastic and fun-filled week with trips to London, Portsmouth and Salisbury and a day spent with their English partners at Marwell Activity Park. It’s fair to say that along with learning extra English, the German students left Wyvern knowing memories were made in their amazing time in England, in the company of Wyvern students.
When the exchange was first announced, many students leapt at the opportunity to have an exchange student with them, including me, and in no time the Wyvern students were partnered up with their German partners. Many left the room buzzing with excitement, itching to get in contact with their new-found German partner. The excitement for the exchange was reciprocated by the German students via messaging their English partners, and everyone was looking forward to meeting their German friend, who hopefully they would remain in contact with for the rest of their life.
The German students arrived on a typically British day with clouds and drizzling rain to get them into mood of the country they were staying in. As soon as the coach arrived at Wyvern, there was a rush of excitement as everyone waited nervously for their exchange partner to step off the coach. When the exchange students stepped of the coach, their English partner greeted them with a hug or a handshake after months of excitement. First pictures were taken with the German students; their first memory of their time in England. Wyvern students then left school in excited conversation with their German partner all the way back to their home. The first evening was fantastic; an opportunity for the English students to really get to know their German student in person before they went off on their first trip the next day. But this was only the start of their trip to England.

The next day, the German students embarked on a trip to London very early in the morning, so there were many tired, but excited, German students. Whether they have been to England before or not, London is an absolute must to visit, it being the capital of England. Their day consisted of a whistle-stop tour of London; visiting the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, going on a river boat across the city, finishing the day with shopping at Camden market. Many of the German students very much enjoyed their day in, London sight-seeing the most historic parts of the city. What a way to spend your first day!
The next day was a real opportunity for both sets of students to have a great time together in an activity-packed day at Marwell Activity Park. The activities included water sports like canoeing, kayaking and raft-building as well as some classic outdoor activities such as climbing, completing an obstacle course, archery and much more. It is fair to say that every student, German or English, absolutely loved their day at Marwell, with activities that were not only pushing people out of their comfort zones, but doing so in a way that lots of fun was had.
Two and a half days were already over in the German Exchange, and it was the weekend already. For Saturday and Sunday, there were absolutely no restrictions on what Wyvern students could do with their German partners and that made it even more fun. Many Wyvern students took their German students to either Bournemouth or Southsea, where the students could enjoy the fresh sea air; something many German students have never experienced before, making it an even more memorable trip. Others did fun activities with their German students: rock climbing, zip-lining, bowling and many more. If their exchange was into football, Wyvern students took their partners to the final game of the season for Southampton FC, which is fantastic for them to experience football in another country. What a fun-filled weekend!
The next day on Monday began with a visit to Wyvern for the German students. For the first two periods, Wyvern students took their partner to a lesson before their student had a tour of the school. Many German students felt engaged and involved in the lessons, and complimented the amazing facilities of the school. For the afternoon, the German students had some free time in Salisbury to go into the cathedral and go shopping in the designer stores. This was great for them, as there are many stores exclusive to England, making it a great opportunity to buy something exclusive to a different country- giving them bragging rights!
For the final day of the German Exchange, the students visited Portsmouth and got to the opportunity to visit another South Coast city. The students went shopping, visited Southsea beach, played in the amusement arcades and climbed the Spinnaker Tower. Portsmouth is very different to Southampton and Bournemouth, so it was a great experience for the German students.
Before we know it, it was the last day of the exchange. The German students had to get up early to pack their clothes and leave England for possibly the last time. The walk to school was filled with conversation about the fantastic memories both students created in the exchange, but also the sadness about them leaving England. The goodbye was very emotional, and as the coach pulled away from the school, many students were upset that the German students were leaving, but also fond of the experience they had together. This is not the last time we will see them again, however, as the second leg of the German exchange where we travel to Germany is only 3 weeks away. Nevertheless, the first leg of the German Exchange was an experience to remember.

– Charlie, Year 9


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