Promoting UK-German activities

Are your UK-German activities facing a lack of interest from pupils? Many young people are hesitant about spending a week in a foreign country, perhaps with a family they have never met. To help show them that school partnership activities and exchanges are an incredibly worthwhile experience, we’ve put together some ideas of ways in which you can boost their enthusiasm.

  • Certificates

    Give pupils certificates for taking part in UK-German activities. These could even contribute to a school award system already in place in your school. Pupils are more likely to want to take part in school partnership activities if they are given recognition for their efforts or see that it can be put on their CV or UCAS form.

  • Introduce 'School Exchange Ambassadors'

    Nominate enthusiastic pupils to become School Exchange Ambassadors and promote your school partnership activities to all year groups. Read about a whole host of ideas of activities that School Exchange Ambassadors could undertake.

    The best way to encourage students to take part in an exchange is to make them feel involved with the partner school before they’ve left the classroom. (Claudia, Youth Ambassador)

  • Blogs/videos

    Get students to write a blog or create a video of their experiences for other year groups. Make sure this is publicised throughout the school so that other pupils can read about their experiences and have a taster of the excitement!

    A group Skype call or parcel box exchange would be less daunting to students and opens them up to how enjoyable the experience can be. They are also lower maintenance than big scale visits and exchanges. (Becky, Youth Ambassador)

  • T-shirts/hoodies

    Having specially made t-shirts or hoodies for a school visit or project is a nice fun way to ensure a group feeling and give the pupils a lasting memento of their visit to Germany. Let students get creative and take ownership of the t-shirt design!

  • A 'German Day' before the exchange visit

    Have a ‘German Day’ at school to introduce all pupils to German culture. Get pupils involved in planning activities, food-tasting, music and competitions!

  • Open the activities up to the whole school

    Don’t restrict school partnership activities to pupils studying German! Allow students from all subject areas to take part. German language skills are not always necessary.

    Open up activities with partner schools in Germany to more than just German students.
    (Peter, Youth Ambassador)

  • Introduce smaller activities with your partner school

    One way to encourage students to take part in activities with your partner school is to start off small! Our Youth Ambassadors were unanimous in that young people should be eased into activities rather than embarking on visits straight away. Why not start off with a pen-pal exchange or a video project to allow pupils to get to know one another before embarking on a visit?

  • Involve younger pupils

    A great way to promote school partnership activities is to involve younger pupils to make them aware of future opportunities. Just because your UK-German activities are only open to KS4 pupils, it doesn’t mean that KS3 pupils can’t get involved!

    We’ve collated some of the best ideas for involving younger pupils in your school partnership activities. All suggestions are from young people themselves!

    • Assign a visiting German exchange student to a Year 7 pupil or form.
    • Ask younger pupils to give visiting German pupils a tour of the school.
    • Ask younger pupils to produce a video about the school and local area to send to your German partner school.
    • Integrate visiting pupils into lessons and extra-curricular activities. For example, KS3 pupils could teach them the basics of cricket during a PE lesson.
    • Ask younger pupils to create a treasure hunt or quiz for the visiting pupils from Germany.