This week, Sir John Nelthorpe School celebrates 30 years of friendship with its partner school in Germany, the 'Gymnasium Leoninum', which is situated in Handrup, in the Emsland district in Lower Saxony. 19 German students are spending time with their year 9 and 10 SJN student host families and will experience a taste of life in North Lincolnshire, as well as exploring further afield to places including York and our city of culture, Hull. Students gain a great deal from exchanges such as this, with opportunities to become fully immersed in typical family life and therefore the culture that defines us. SJN students have already been to stay with their German host families in September last year, so it is wonderful to see these friendships strengthening further this week. Apart from the many cultural differences that the students experience, there is also an ideal opportunity for students to strengthen their command of a foreign language.
SJN student, Jacqueline Reid said "I find that being in a relaxed situation with a German speaking friend is really great for helping my confidence and understanding of speaking German. The lessons in school are really good but you just can't beat having your own conversations like this." Jacqueline's German guest, Anna added "It's good to speak English and to learn the English culture". SJN student, Tom Shoulder said, "Its quite scary thinking about sharing your home with someone from another country, and going to live with a family you don't really know, but the schools make everything work well and its actually really good fun. The German families are lovely and my family are really enjoying this experience this week too".
Head teacher, Mr. Biglands commented, "We are immensely proud of our link with colleagues in Gymnasium Leoninum; a partnership that celebrates its 30th year of the exchange programme this year. It is particularly reassuring to know that, despite the current anxieties and political and social divisions regarding our withdrawal from the EU, that actually, there is much to be gained from such friendships with our neighbouring European partners. The students really enjoy this opportunity and I am particularly grateful to the families who participate as hosts and who also find the experience enriching and a positive experience. With Modern Foreign Languages undergoing quite challenging times in schools over recent years, I am very pleased that SJN is still able to offer a high standard of foreign language study at both GCSE and A Level. The global market place will always benefit from a workforce that is able to bridge divides through language. I feel it is our duty to encourage as many young people as possible to take a foreign language as part of their study choices; who knows where it will lead?.."
Visiting German teachers, Herr Schlicher and Frau Tomaszewski, who have accompanied the students this week said, "Exchange programmes such as ours expose students to people from different cultural, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds and in doing so provide the opportunity for students to develop a greater understanding of diversity. They allow students to interact with and learn from people who are different from themselves and to participate in new and unique experiences beyond their communities. And therefore, we look forward to the next 30 years!"
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