Café Connect

UK-German Connection’s cultural exchange café, Café Connect, gives young people the chance to get to know UK and German peers through fun, interactive activities, and group discussions on current topics. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends, learn about the other culture, and practise (or even pick up) some German!

These friendly online meet-ups take place twice a month and are open to young people both with and without German language skills.

Find out more

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

15-year Anniversary Challenge: Capture Your Connection

Do you have a UK-German connection?

Share your story and celebrate your experience by submitting an entry to our 15-year Anniversary Challenge! Whether it’s a friendship, school partnership, youth group exchange or other connection, share it creatively and inspire others with your story!

Find out more

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Opportunities for Pupils

We have a variety of opportunities for pupils to visit Germany, either as individual applicants or with a group from their school.

Virtual Summer Courses

Although the German Pupil Courses and German Scholarships Programme (below) will not be taking place in 2021, the Virtual Summer Courses: ‘Deutschland online erleben’ gives German learners aged 15-17 the chance to put their German skills into practice and immerse themselves in the language with like-minded peers from many different European countries. It’s a unique opportunity to exchange on topics relevant to their lives, gain new perspectives and make friends, all under the guidance of specialist German teachers.

This is an international programme and participants will experience German language learning in mixed international groups.

You can find more information about the programme on our website for young people.

German Pupil Courses

The German Pupil Courses are two-week long language and culture courses, which take place in July and August in Germany. There are three course for 12 pupils and one group leader each. The pupils stay with German host families for two weeks and attend excursions and school visits while in the country. The programme is open for students in Year 10 and Year 12.

More information about the German Pupil Courses can be found on our website for young people.

German Scholarships Programmes

The German Scholarships Programme is a four-week long programme in Germany for students with a high level of German. The course is entirely funded by the German Foreign Office and eight students are selected each year.  The students spend two weeks living with host families and participate in an international programme, involving cultural and educational excursions and activities.

You can find more information about the German Scholarships Programme on our website for young people.

Youth Seminars

Throughout the year, UK German connection runs thematic seminars, often based on current topics and events. The seminars are attended by young people in education or as part of a youth group and are bilateral events, held in either the UK or Germany.

You can find more information on our website for young people.

Magical Christmas Trips

The Magical Christmas trips programme is an intercultural and educational Christmas trip to Germany for primary school children and a small number of accompanying secondary school students. The four day visit allows younger children to experience German culture during the festive period.

More information, along with past experiences, can be found on our Magical Christmas Trip page.

  • Open to applicants from:
  • All UK

Life beyond the border

A new partnership

One visit by representatives of Kreisjugendring Wunsiedel was all it took to convince the Learning and Leisure Department of North Lanarkshire Council that a new youth partnership was firmly in the making. The meeting not only resulted in the formation of the Wishaw/Shotts Youth Exchange Group but was followed up by a project visit to Germany. During pre-visit discussions with the German group about possible activities they could undertake together, one particular theme emerged: due to Wunsiedel’s location, its history as a former East/West German border town proved to be a fascinating backdrop for collaboration. The aim of their first venture was to promote European citizenship and investigate what life was like living on a border.

The thing that surprised me most about Germany was not the differences in culture, landscape and everyday life, but in fact the similarities. (UK participant)

Exploring life along the border

Prior to the trip, Wishaw/Shotts Youth Exchange Group met once a week to learn about German culture, devise activities for the visit and decide on a programme schedule which would allow them to work jointly with their German peers. During the visit to Germany, the groups visited iconic sites along the border to learn more about life before and after reunification. A highlight of the trip was a visit to Mödlareuth, a village which was split in two after WW2, with one half belonging to East Germany and the other to West Germany. For many of the Scottish visitors, the realities of the German separation were a new discovery:  One participant noted that her visit to the village Mödlareuth and the museum documenting the unique situation, gave her a deeper understanding of how Germany was greatly affected by the consequences of the war, and not just Britain.

I became more confident in introducing myself to new people. I think that this skill will help me in life in things such as interviews, jobs etc. (UK participant)

A European understanding

Throughout the trip, both youth groups spent as much time as possible engaging in joint activities to ensure that the young people considerably improved their communication and interpersonal skills. Alongside engaging in discussions surrounding European culture and history, the groups worked together to prepare a presentation illustrating their findings and reflected on how these could relate to their own experiences. For example, due to Scotland’s geography, the Wishaw/Schotts Exchange group were able to provide their own perspective to living on a border and the notion of being a European Citizen.

For the majority of these young people travelling to, and meeting young people from, another country would have been well beyond their means. (UK Youth Group leader).

Theatrical Perspectives

New theatrical experiences

The two youth theatres became partners in 2010 after Kingston-upon-Thames, UK, became twinned with Oldenburg in Germany. Young people from the Rose Youth Theatre travelled to Oldenburg to spend a week with their counterparts to work on a mixed-language production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The aim was to allow both groups to experience different teaching approaches from their partner youth theatre and to explore the themes of the play with reference to their different UK-German backgrounds.

Exploring new perspectives

The young people took part in workshops led by both British and German group leaders, giving them the opportunity to learn a variety of new techniques, such as verbatim theatre and Frantic Assembly. Pupils brought in their own stories relating to the topics dealt with in the workshops, such as bullying, shipwreck, isolation and gender. This enabled them to explore the play from the dual perspectives of their UK- German backgrounds. Having shared these perspectives unique to their cultural situation, they used the differences to create something that the two groups never could have created alone. After two days’ of workshops, selected pieces were chosen to be integrated into the final of production of Twelfth Night. The performance took place to a local audience of 80 people.

Confidence is key

As well as experiencing new cultures and forming friendships, the young people benefitted from learning new theatre techniques and improving their confidence in speaking another language. “I was able to develop my linguistic, communication and creative skills, as well as [learn] the importance of improvisation and using themes, context and culture in influential theatre.” (UK participant)

It was a very interesting, motivating and engaging experience which proved to be beneficial both educationally and in terms of self-confidence. (UK participant)

An opportunity for professional development

Both groups are keen to make the exchange an annual event.

We are organising a return exchange for the German students to come and experience Kingston, and how we work here at the Rose Youth Theatre. (UK group leader).

Additionally, the theatres are looking into planning an exchange for the teaching and creative staff, to give them an opportunity for professional development such as learning about teaching techniques and running a youth theatre successfully.