Risedale pupils visit Germany for educational trip

Ten Risedale College pupils have taken part in a week-long educational trip to Germany.

The pupils travelled to the city of Aachen as part of their Year 11 GCSE German language course.

The group explored the cities of Aachen and Cologne visiting their cathedrals and other historical and cultural landmarks including El-DE Haus, the former headquarters of the Gestapo and now a museum.

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For many of the students this was their first trip abroad without their families.

The group, accompanied by three members of Risedale staff, travelled by minibus to Hull, over to Zeebrugge on the overnight ferry and stayed in a youth hostel in Aachen.

The students were encouraged to immerse themselves in German life, speaking the language wherever possible such as when ordering food and asking directions.

Mr Gückel, teacher of German at Risedale and trip organiser, said: “I feel so fortunate to have been able to organise this trip to Germany for our GCSE German students.

“This educational experience is something that could only truly be appreciated by taking our students out of the classroom environment, travelling abroad and fully immersing them in German life and culture.

“I really feel that from this opportunity our students have grown as young adults; gaining a sense of independence by exploring the cities and building confidence in their language skills by talking freely with their exchange partners and German locals in a natural environment.”

The students also spent time at a school in Geilenkirchen to practice their language skills.

Prior to the visit the Risedale group had been paired with ten English Language students from the school, Bischöflichen Gymnasium St Ursula, and had been in contact with them via email, introducing themselves in readiness for when they would meet in September.

Student Lauren Gillan said: “Geilenkirchen was a lovely school and when we arrived we immediately noticed how open it was, there were no gates and students were allowed to leave during breaks/free periods, also they didn’t have to wear a school uniform.”

“I was really excited to meet my partner Hailey as we had been talking a lot through email and text.

“It was fantastic to meet her and we soon discovered that we had a lot of similar interests.

“I’d love to visit Hailey again one day.”

Frank Hülden, teacher of English in Geilenkirchen, said “We really enjoyed having the Risedale students as our guests at our school.

“It was a great opportunity for both the English and German language students and I’m sure everyone benefitted from the experience.

“We hope this partnership will continue in the future as we’re planning to visit the UK in July next year where we’d love to incorporate a visit to Risedale College.

“We look forward to seeing you all again then.”

Mr Gückel added: “I can already see a difference in the classroom now we’ve been back at home in the UK for a few weeks.

“The students are really motivated and engaged in their studies of the German language and I’m sure it is because of this unique learning experience.

“I hope they will be inspired to travel more in the future and maybe even study abroad.”

Mr Gückel added: “This is the first international educational visit that Risedale has been able to arrange for a number of years, partly due to financial constraints but we were able to overcome this by applying for a grant from UK-German Connection who we really can’t thank enough for all their support.”

UK-German Connection is an organisation dedicated to increasing contacts and understanding between young people in the UK and Germany.

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