Between 16-23 March, as part of their GCSE and A Level German studies, 18 Bedford Modern School students in Years 10-13 welcomed exchange partners from Clavius Gymnasium, a science and technology specialist college in Bamberg.
Bamberg is a town in upper Franconia, Germany, with a rich history dating back to the ninth century. Bedford and Bamberg developed contact in the early 1970s which culminated in a formal town twinning, signed in 1977.
During the Clavius Gymnasium students’ visit to England they attended lessons at BMS and spent time with their host families enjoying local activities or day trips to London. They also had a walking tour of Bedford and spent days in both Bletchley Park and Cambridge.
Friday 17 March was a particularly significant day for them, as students from both schools attended a tree-planting ceremony on Bedford Embankment in celebration of the 45-year anniversary of the twinning of their towns. The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, was also present, alongside members of the Bedford Bamberg Association who funded the tree and its commemorative plaque.
International exchanges are unique opportunities which allow students to develop their language skills and expand their cultural horizons. One student from Clavius Gymnasium wrote in summary of their experience: “I had a great time here and enjoyed all of the trips. The week went by way too quickly – I’d absolutely recommend taking part in the exchange to others.”
BMS students visited Bamberg earlier in the academic year, from 14-21 October 2022. They similarly attended lessons, spent time with their host families and enjoyed a wealth of opportunities in the local area including excursions to Nuremberg, Coburg and Staffelberg, as well as a tour of Bamberg itself.
Adam Robinson, Head of German at BMS, added: “It has meant so much to the students involved to take part in the exchange and meet young people from another country. It has been heart-warming to see great friendships emerge and to see the students communicate with each other and improve their language skills.
“On a personal note, the two combined weeks of the exchange have been my most rewarding and enjoyable since becoming a German teacher. I look forward to seeing the exchange continue to flourish in future years and seeing eager young linguists throw themselves into such a fantastic opportunity.”