Cultural Immersion Course: Garmisch-Partenkirchen 2019

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In July 2019, 15  young people set off for a week of German culture and language lessons, on a Cultural Immersion Course to Bavaria. Staying in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, known to the locals as ‘GaPa’, the group took part in thematic workshops, visited a local German school and enjoyed various cultural activities and excursions.

Nature & mental health in the mountains

Nature and mental health was the focus of the thematic workshops during the week and it soon become clear that Garmisch-Partenkirchen, famous for its landscape and mountain hiking, was the perfect setting for this topic! During the week the group reflected on all aspects of the theme, discussing questions such as:

  • Is there a link between mental health and nature?
  • How can we make nature more accessible?
  • What role does nature play in our everyday lives?

Nature in practice

Alongside these thematic workshops, the group were able to head out into the mountains of Bavaria and experience the positive effects of nature first hand! Excursions included:

  • A hike in the mountains from Kreuzeck to Osterfelderkopf with German pupils
  • A visit to Zugspitze – Germany’s highest mountain
  • A visit to Partnach Gorge
  • A swim in the Eibsee lake

With Germany experiencing a heatwave and temperatures close to 35̊ degrees, the visit to the snow-topped Zugspitze and a swim in the clear, cool waters of the Eibsee were very much enjoyed by all!

The nature of the German language

As part of their Cultural immersion, the group also attended language lessons, themed around the local area. This gave the pupils a chance to learn new phrases and grammar that they could then practise immediately in a real life setting! The language lessons were led by a native speaker and included:

  • A lesson on Bavarian dialect and phrases, which the pupils enjoyed using throughout the week
  • Vocab preparation and language activities ahead of tours
  • A lesson on the expressionist art movement, founded in nearby Murnau
  • A language session on buying “bio” / sustainable shopping

As part of their sustainable shopping lesson, the group went to various supermarkets such as Aldi and Biomarkt, as well as to the local Wochenmarkt, and interviewed locals about their organic shopping habits.

Visiting a local German School

While in Germany, the group also visited Werdenfels-Gymnasium, a local school where they were given a tour, had the chance to meet German pupils, and even attended the end of year Schulfest!

They also joined in with the school’s project week, on ‘Sustainability’. The UK pupils were given a tour of the school’s environmentally friendly projects and had chance to collaborate with the German pupils on an upcycling task!

Continuing Cultural Connections

Since returning from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the participants have stayed in touch with one another. They are looking forward to continuing their German studies, now with their knowledge and language skills enhanced by the Cultural Immersion course!