School exchange visit to Palma de Mallorca
LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY AT PHORMS: EXCHANGE PROGRAMME WITH SPAIN
Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world after Chinese, English and Hindi. To help ensure that Phorms students not only develop their bilingualism but also learn other languages intensively, an exchange took place for the first time this year with a school in the Spanish capital Madrid. In March, 19 ninth-year students from Phorms were able to attend nine days of lessons in Spanish and German at the IES Cardenal Cisneros School in the centre of Madrid. Of course, there was also an exciting range of leisure activities. In addition to many of the city’s museums, students were able to visit the beautiful historic city of Toledo, for example. On 22 May, the time came for 18 Spanish exchange students to visit the German capital, where they took part in lessons at Phorms Campus Berlin Süd and Berlin Mitte until 30 May. The social calendar included a bike ride through Potsdam and a boat trip, as well as numerous museum visits and sporting activities.
Did you get along well with your exchange partner Juan?
Yes, we got along very well. We also had more or less the same interests and he was definitely a lot of fun to be around. We are both football fans, so we talked a lot about that. Our favourite teams are Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona.
Were there any moments when you noticed something typically German or typically Spanish?
Yes, there were moments like that. When we were in Palma, Majorca, I noticed that Spaniards are much more open when they talk to each other, and they certainly talk a lot. When they visited us, they were all relatively shy.
And what was life like with your host family?
It was very nice. I had my own room, and in the morning we always had breakfast together. The family’s home was quite close to the centre of Palma, and it was a very nice, big building. The family was very kind and open. After school, the parents usually picked us up by car and we spent more time together at home.
What were the biggest differences you noticed?
Spanish people are very open; they like to talk and they talk a lot. And family life is definitely very different. People get out of bed a little later than in Germany and are somehow a bit more laid back about the time and being punctual. People there stay awake two or three hours longer than in Germany. We never got home until around 9.30 p.m., and then it was time for dinner. We went to bed at around 11 p.m. And people see punctuality in a very different light in Spain. While it is important to be on time at school, at home it doesn’t matter if you are late.
And what happens at home in Germany?
Well, I go to bed at about 9.30 and we have dinner at 7 p.m. – we do, however, get up earlier.
Did you attend any lessons at school?
Yes, we visited the school for one day, but the classes were in Spanish, so I didn’t follow much of what was happening because my Spanish isn’t good enough yet. But I did notice that teaching is different there. Back home the classes are fairly small; the class there had 27 students. The students are quite unsettled and don’t listen properly to the teachers, and the teachers shout a lot more often.
Did you try any typical Spanish or Majorcan food?
Yes, almost every day, actually. Omelettes made from potatoes and eggs, which they call tortilla – that is typical Spanish food.
CANADIAN EXCHANGE AT PHORMS CAMPUS BERLIN MITTE AND SÜD
On 21 June 2014, 24 year 7 students at the Phorms Schools in Berlin received a very special visit when 15 Canadian students from the Avon Maitland Schools arrived from the land of the maple leaf to experience everyday life in Berlin for three weeks. During the half-term holidays from 12 to 18 October 2014, it will then be the turn of Phorms students to fly to the southern region of Ontario to visit their exchange partners. One or two students will get to know Canadian culture at each school. Fun and new discoveries are also on the calendar, with exchange students due to visit Toronto, Canada’s largest city, as well as the breathtaking Niagara Falls up close. The programme for Canadian students was equally varied. In addition to visiting many sights of Berlin, the group spent a week in the Spreewald.
To make sure the return visit is a memorable experience, the students involved write regular emails and are looking forward to their next meeting. In the future, the plan is for this exchange to take place every year, always for year 8 students.