College – Issue 39

EXCHANGE A German exchange to treasure

Robbie McKeown, Toby Oliver, Ben Davis, John Wong and Charlie Chubb wrapped up their Year 12 College experience by going on a 7-week exchange trip to Germany – possibly the last by New Zealand students for some time.

It set the boys up for a much more confident final year of German studies, their listening and understanding of the language enhanced by their immersion in their host families and schools in North West Germany. For Robbie it was in Krefeld, near Dusseldorf; for Toby it was Herscheid, and for Ben it was Neuss. All of them began school the day after arrival. “It was a big shock to see the size of the school,” says Toby. “Huge, multiple seven-storey buildings with at least a couple of thousand students, from primary age to senior high school.” Robbie said the schools in Germany still use black boards, overhead projectors and pencil and paper. “They’re very different to what we’re used to. They don’t have wifi and they cram about 30 people in a class half the size of ours. But all this makes it more interesting. It was so exciting to become a part of this new culture. It was a challenge that we all took on and enjoyed.” Cell phone use at school was banned. People found using a phone would have it confiscated immediately. “The thing that most impressed me was that because there was no

cellphone use, at lunchtimes the students would play cards or sit and talk, and I thought it was nice,” said Ben. There were no school uniforms, and students were encouraged to leave the grounds and buy lunch locally, said Robbie. “The food in Germany is so cheap – 4 Euros for a large pizza. Everyone would go by train or bike to and from school. It was the main form of transport as you cannot get your licence until you’re 18.” Ben found himself facing different segments of Chemistry and

Mathematics “things I’d never done” and found it intriguing that the order we study components of both subjects in New Zealand are not followed in Germany. Mid-way through their exchange the boys celebrated Christmas, with visits to magical Christmas markets, and a five day visit by all the exchange students to Berlin. Toby said that city had a very different tone to the rest of Germany. “It has a contemporary, new feel, modern and exciting and we had the most awesome tour guide who

Christ’s College Canterbury


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