Last week, some of Year 8’s German pen pals from Theodor Heuss School in Bielefeld came to England.
They travelled by ferry, and arrived in England on Monday 17th. The following day, they came to meet the pupils at Rydon. Many of the Years 8’s were involved in helping guide them in activities or spend time getting to know them.
Firstly, their Rydon pen pals greeted them in the hall, where they worked together to answer the quizzes that had been prepared by the pupils for them to complete. Also, all of the pupils were given squash and either cupcakes or cookies to eat while asking their pen friends questions using a wide range of German.
Mrs Husbands’ response to this communication was, ‘It was wonderful to see all the pupils using every means at their disposal to communicate in German. Pupils were using their exercise books, asking friends and staff for help and even having in depth conversations with the help of Google translator!’
After meeting their friends for the first time, they were taken to the various places around the school where break time is usually spent. Both the German and English pupils had lots of fun taking part in the average English break time activities. Then the German pupils were escorted to the hall where they met new students, their tour guides, who showed them around the school and took part in different slightly more difficult quizzes, watched films and were allowed to explore what can be done on a computer, as they do not have many in their school. Mellissa, a pupil from Germany, stated that she ‘had a lot of fun’ doing this; and one of Rydon’s pupils said that they found it an ‘interesting, entertaining part of the day’.
At 12.30pm, the students met back in the hall where their pen pals were waiting and enjoyed a nice lunch and just socializing. After lunch the visitors enjoyed a game of football and basketball organized by our sports captains.
On day two of the visit they went in groups of four to a range of lessons. Some went to Science, Mathematics, or even French. Then, when lunchtime came, Mrs. Steggles and a few Rydon helpers made the visitors Paninis to enjoy with crisps and a muffin or flapjack. Not many of the foreign pupils had ever had a flapjack and some were unwilling to try, but one of the German teachers told them, ‘you don’t know what you are missing’.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye to our friends, so all the pen pals met them in the hall to look at the pictures from their visit and say their farewells to their newly made friends. When asked how they thought the experience went, a Rydon pupil said that it was both ‘interesting and fun because it was something new’ and another said that they wished they’d come back for another longer visit.
Overall it was a very good visit, that students from both schools thoroughly enjoyed. Hopefully, some of the pupils will stay in touch with their friends from Germany and the Year 8 Rydon pupils’ German language skills will have improved.
Report and pictures contributed by Rydon Community College.