A Christmas trip to Giessen

Waffles and Wurst at the Christmas markets!

For Ramshaw Primary School in Durham, 2018 has been a year of German culture. The primary school children have been learning German on a weekly basis, with a view to broadening their horizons and developing language skills. All of this prepared them very well for a Magical Christmas Trip to their partners at the Korczak Grundschule in Giessen!

On a trip that lasted four days, fifteen pupils from Ramshaw Primary School travelled to Giessen, accompanied by their teachers and five mentor students from nearby Greenfield College. Prior to the trip, the children sent letters to the children in Germany and created crafts and gifts to exchange on their visit. Both schools sent each other ten objects, and named this ‘England/Germany in a box.’ The children loved thinking of objects that best encapsulated their country!

“My Penpal was so much like me – I was amazed that we got on so well” – Katie, Year 6 pupil

While in Giessen, the pupils enjoyed trips to the local museum, a tour of the Kirchturm and of course the German Christmas markets! The primary children were initially cautious about trying new food, but with the support of the mentors, they embraced new tastes and delicacies. The waffles and Bratwurst were particularly popular!

During their stay, the group also visited their partner school, where they were met with a warm and friendly welcome from the German staff and pupils.  Both sets of pupils participated in joint activities, such as making biscuits and decorations, PE activities and reading to each other. Firm friendships were established and the Ramshaw pupils enjoyed the chance to practice the phrases they had learnt in school beforehand.

“I liked the school – it was bright and colourful with lots of artwork and posters.” – Grace, Year 6 pupil

“It was my first time flying on a plane and it was fantastic” – Luke, Year 6 pupil

Many of the children had never flown before but were supported throughout the trip by the accompanying mentor students. The mentors also assisted with any language difficulties and were themselves provided with an opportunity to practice their German language and leadership skills.

“I loved mentoring the children and this will help towards my future career of hopefully becoming a teacher.” Greenfield College pupil

On arriving back in Ramshaw, the primary school children created PowerPoint presentations to share with the local community, many of whom had been tracking the excitement of the visit through social media! Following their magical trip, all the children are keen to continuing learning German and one child is already aspiring to live in Germany in the future!

“I could continue to learn German, I could come and live here and work here when I’m older and maybe be a translator!” Ramshaw Primary School pupil

“Our hopes and expectations for our visit were exceeded many times over. The warmth and welcome from our new German friends was deeply appreciated by both staff and pupils alike. The sights and the sounds of the Weihnachtsmarkt had our children open-mouthed in wonder. It is no exaggeration to say that in some cases, it has had a fundamental effect on the future ambitions of our children.” Mr Brown, Ramshaw Primary School Headteacher