Stratford’s visit to Achim

After the sunny beaches of Malaga in March, we were greeted with a Winter Wonderland in Achim, near Bremen in Germany. Christmas lights were up, carols were playing and Christmas markets were in full swing – the only thing missing was a sprinkling of snow. Our host school had planned a varied, busy (and festive!) schedule for us, with time in school and on excursions.
The theme of this trip was volunteering opportunities and charity work. On Thursday the host pupils delivered some very interesting talks about volunteer work for young people in Germany – in Germany there is a government led organisation to help young people find a volunteer placement from 6 months to 18 months. This is a common step between A-Levels and university for many German young people. Our pupils will research what is available here in the Midlands and present that at our next meeting in Poland in March. On Friday we braved the cold and went into the town centre where we had a table at the Christmas market; each of the partner schools had produced items to sell to raise money for charity. Miss Starkey’s year 10 and 11 textiles classes had produced mobile phone holders with a British twist. We were very proud to be selling their products – the Dr Who holders went down especially well! Overall, 350€ was raised; the pupils decided this money would go to a local children’s cancer charity.
As well as spending time in school planning our next trip, the school had planned several visits for the visiting pupils – we were taken on a tour of the Mercedes-Benz factory and experienced weather from around the world at the “Klimahaus” (Climate House) museum in Bremerhaven. Our trip was rounded off with a trip to the local bowling alley – competition was fierce and national pride shone through as each country wanted to win! We witnessed some very energetic bowling styles, especially from the teachers taking part!
The next stop is Poland in March 2014, where we will be presenting the results of our research and learning about the skills that employers are looking for.