In December, 17 students from Year 10 travelled to Bensheim in Germany to take part in the annual exchange with Liebfrauenschule (LFS). Bensheim is comparable in size to Amersham, and is located to the south of Frankfurt. Amersham has a rich history with Bensheim, having been twinned with the town since 1977. The exchange itself between DCGS and LFS has been going for 20 years as part of this special bond.

The night we arrived, we met with our exchanges at Frankfurt Airport (after a severely delayed flight) and made the trip to their house in order to settle in. I speak for all of us when I say it was slightly awkward at first, but the exchange families were so welcoming and kind to us that it made life in a foreign country much easier. The following day, we were given a tour of their school and then the town, which was enlightening to say the least. We made our way to the town hall, where we had the privilege of meeting the mayor of Bensheim. He greeted us and explained the link between Bensheim and Amersham, as well as giving us a Bensheim bag. Following this, we travelled to the school’s sports hall to be taught how to play handball by the Bensheim handball team, who had recently been promoted to the first division.

The first day was excellent, and the next no less enjoyable. A personal highlight of mine was visiting Frankfurt and going to the top of Main Tower, where we had an awesome view of the city. We even saw the headmaster’s plane as it was preparing to land at the airport, as he joined us for the weekend. We were given free time in the centre of Frankfurt, where there was a traditional Christmas market (a recurring theme throughout the trip). In this free time, we were also tasked with a scavenger hunt style quiz, with prizes for the winners. Another competition we had was in Heidelberg - making the most entertaining video (while also being educational of course). My group won the challenge, with our attempts to pronounce German shop names and state their definitions. Our prizes were presented to us at the party held at LFS at the end of our stay in Germany.

This month, our German exchanges made the return trip as they travelled to England. Their first day was a little different to ours; they went to Windsor Castle. There was a little extra excitement about this, because they went only a week after the royal wedding. The second day was very similar to our first day in Bensheim, the difference being they had the opportunity to go to the Harry Potter studios in the evening!

Following this were three days going to London, with the weekend in between. The Houses of Parliament, the Globe Theatre and the National Gallery are a few of the many attractions they visited. Dispersed between these visits were activities we organised ourselves; some of us went bowling, some to the cinema, but the majority of us went to Thorpe Park on the Sunday - a highlight for most.

On the final day together, we all went to the historic city of Cambridge. We enjoyed a trip punting down the river, waving at the all passers-by. It was a quiet and relaxing beginning to the day, perhaps contrasting the rest of the day. During our free time, we frantically searched for the places on our quiz in order to win the competition - another scavenger hunt, except this time with photos.

Our visit to Cambridge concluded another amazing and successful exchange between DCGS and LFS. Thank you to all of the teachers involved from both schools for making the trip possible.